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Plusnights film night tips - How to make a shoebox projector

Plusnights film night tips - How to make a shoebox projector

Plusnights film night tips - How to make a shoebox projector

Tip #1 - Make a DIY smartphone projector

Nothing feels more like the cinema than projecting your movie. But actual projectors can set you back a bit, so we’ve got a smart DIY fix. We’ll show you how to build a smartphone projector using just a shoebox, magnifying glass and a few other household items. Smart, eh?


To create the ultimate film night in, all you need is a smartphone, magnifying glass and a shoebox  - then you’ve got the makings of your very own projector. All you need now is a wall to point it at!

To make the projector you’ll need:

  • A shoebox
  • Magnifying glass that you’re ok with sawing the handle off of
  • Foam board
  • Smartphone

You’ll also need the following tools and materials:

  • Glue gun
  • PVA glue
  • Hacksaw
  • Craft knife
  • Ruler
  • Padded double sided tape / sticky pads
  1. Use a hacksaw to saw off handle of your magnifying glass
  2. Glue down flaps at both ends of shoebox with PVA.
  3. Pop the magnifying glass in centre of one end of the shoe box and trace around it. Use your craft knife to cut out a neat circle.
  4. Mount the magnifying glass on the shoebox with a glue gun, aligned with the cut out circle.
  5. Place the lid back on the shoebox and, using the circle of card you cut out earlier, trace around the section of the lid that covers the lens. Cut this out.
  6. Now for the phone stand. Cut the foam board to a width that fits perfectly inside the box. To create legs for the stand, cut out another bit of foam board and stick together at a perpendicular angle using the glue gun.
  7. Stick two strips of double sided tape or sticky pads to the back of the phone and attach it to the centre of your stand so that the screen is aligned with the projector lens.
  8. It’s almost film time! Turn your phone’s display up to maximum brightness and lock the screen so that when you play a video the display stays upside down (the lens will flip the image so that it’s the right way up on the wall)
  9. The final thing to do is to focus the image. You do this by sliding the stand back and forth in the shoebox until you find the position where the image is sharpest. And there you have it, just like the movies!

Check out our other Plusnet Nights tips

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