How to Build the Ultimate Smartphone Projector

Smartphones are like little entertainment centers for our pockets and purses that we can amuse ourselves with at any given time.

Their only downfall is their small size. However, you will be happy to know that there is not only one way, but there are multiple ways to create amazing DIY projectors for your smartphone that allow you to show everyone your favorite movies and more!

Get Your DIY Game Face Out

Making the ultimate projector for your smartphone will be an exciting project for you and your kids – or even you and some friends. Before grabbing materials and getting to work, you should look into the different types of DIY smartphone projectors that have been already designed. You may find one design you prefer over another. You may find a projector plan that you can even improve on yourself. In this article, you will see what research and multiple comparisons have dubbed The Ultimate Smartphone Projector.

The Ultimate Smartphone Projector

This DIY smartphone design is truly innovative! It makes other homemade smartphone projectors look like grade-school projects. Not only do you get a larger projected picture than other designs with this build, but you also get an easy right-side up picture that doesn’t leave you fussing with your phone to make its display compatible with projecting right-side up images.

See how to build the Ultimate Smartphone Projector here: 

What You Will Need: a box with an end large enough to support your phone laying in the middle with room left over, a box cutter or craft knife, thick card material, paper or construction paper, 4 drinking straws, superglue, duct tape or other strong tape, 4 thin dowels (thing enough to fit inside of a regular sized drinking straw and about 48 inches long), a small mirror, and a magnifying glass lens.

Follow these steps:

  • Take your box, and sit it on its end. If needed, cut the box to adjust its height to about 4 to 5 inches high. Cut a hole in one of the longer sides. This will be your lens, the spot your phone will project its images out of, so make sure it is not too small and that it is fixed in the center of the side of the box.
  • Glue the straws into the four corners of the box, making sure they are fully attached to the corners and standing up over the edges. Cut holes in the bottom of the box corners to match the straws. You can reinforce the straws with duct tape if you want to. However, make sure that no glue or tape obstructs the holes.
  • Place your thin dowels into the straws. These dowels are extremely important to the entire structure of the projector – they are the legs to balance it and the way the projected image gets focused, by moving the projector box up and down.
  • Glue the small mirror into place in a 45 degree angle right at the lens. (Remember that the lens is the hole cut into the side of the box.)
  • Cut the thick plastic card to fit perfectly on top of the 4 dowel ends at the top of the structure. Cut a rectangle directly in the middle of the thick card for your phone to project through – it cannot be the same size or the phone will fall through, so make your rectangle slightly smaller than your phone.
  • Use superglue to attach the thick card to the ends of the dowels.
  • Next, take your paper and fold the pieces to resemble accordions, making each fold no larger than an inch. Dark printer paper or construction paper would be great for this part of the structure. Use your tape to attach the ends of the folded papers together and wrap them around the entire height of your projector. Make sure the accordion folds are placed vertically, or up and down, so you can secure them in place on the box at the bottom and the card at the top. The pages need to be able to move up and down to allow for the box at the bottom to adjust for focusing.
  • Congratulations! You have your own homemade smartphone projector!

But How Does it Work?

While the building of this projector was quite in-depth for a DIY project, using it is an absolute breeze! You just place your phone with whatever you are projecting face down on the thick card at the top of the project. Point the lens of the projector to the projection target. Look at the image projected on the wall  (or whatever you’re projecting onto). If it is out of focus, you can slide the box on the bottom up and down to adjust the focus of the projection. 

The image from the phone reaches the mirror in the box at the bottom. The mirror turns the image around and reflects it through the lens hole. And, voila! You have an instant movie night!

Caring for Your Projector

Since this is a homemade projector, it may suffer structure issues or need repairs at times. Giving it regular TLC will help it last longer. One tip for holding up the bottom box if it keeps falling during movie nights is to put small binder clips underneath the box at each corner. One thing is for sure, though. You will have many fun nights with your little DIY projector!