How to make a simple projector using your smartphone

Luke Martin | 14th September 2021

This article will explain how to make a simple projector at home, for free. This projector is a great way for artists to transfer simple outline drawings onto a wall or large canvas. From start to finish this simple project takes just 15-20 minutes, giving you a projector that can be used again and again.

Let’s get started.

Equipment required for your simple projector:

Step 1 – Transfer the image

Trace your design onto a cellophane sheet using a permanent black marker pen. You can trace from a drawing or directly from your laptop screen, tablet or lightbox.

Step 2 – Preparing your box for your simple projector

Pick up a cardboard box, roughly shoe boxed size is ideal. Hold your cellophane sheet over one end and mark the box for size. Leave a 1cm overlap to allow you to secure the cellophane later.

Step 3 – Cutting the end of your simple projector

Using a craft knife, carefully cut out the end of the box.

Step 4 – Preparing the image on the simple projector

Stick the cellophane sheet to the end of the box. Make sure to have it the correct way round or your image will be projected in reverse.

Step 5 – Using your phone in the simple projector

Turn on your phone torchlight and tape it inside your box, with the torchlight aimed out through the cellophane side.

Step 6 – Use your simple projector

Put your projector on a stable surface and aim it at your wall, paper, or canvas. To focus the image and adjust the size, move the projector closer or further away.

You can then easily trace your artwork onto the surface using the projections as a guide. The projector works best if you switch all of the lights off and make the room as dark as possible.

Projectors are useful if you need a way to transfer images to large surfaces. Whether you are a mural artist or you simply need a way to transfer an image onto your canvas, a projector is definitely worth considering. The good news is that projectors have come down in price significantly in recent years.

Here are three of the most popular projectors suitable for artists:

Artograph EZ Tracer  – $40.48

Mini Projector – $69.99

Kodak Ultra Mini Portable Projector – $169.99

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