How to Make a Projector from Your Phone

Beth Huston Profile image

Written By:

Updated December 5, 2022

Knowing how to make a projector from your phone is a fun DIY project that anybody can do. An affordable DIY smartphone projector can come in handy when on the go, especially where technology, such as an LED projector, is not readily available. All you need is a white wall, and your phone projector, and you have a cheap solution to your entertainment woes. While they may not be the best projectors or even the best mini projectors, they provide a movie projector when you need one.


  • The first step in making a cheap smartphone projector is gathering the supplies needed, such as black matte paper, a precision knife, a piece of cardboard, and similar items.
  • Once you have the supplies for your shoebox projector, you need to construct the homemade cell phone projector carefully.
  • You’ll need to pay close attention to light leakage since that can ruin your finished projector, so use black duct tape to seal out unwanted light sources fully.

How to Make a Smartphone Projector

If you’re able to connect your projector to your phone, you don’t need to make one. However, learning how to make a projector from your phone means having access to a DIY projector anytime you’d like one. Although, it has no ability to connect to anything else, including a smartboard. And, it won’t be of a better caliber like a pico projector.

Yet, this is a perfect project for anybody who wants to learn how to make a cheap smartphone projector. While you won’t get fantastic image quality, you’ll have the ability to create portable projectors using everyday objects. If you’re looking for a little more, then asking “What does a smart projector do?” will lead you down the right path.

Insider Tip

Using Apple devices solely will streamline your tech experience and allow you to transfer files, share presentations, and more quickly.

STEP 1 Prep Your Cardboard Box

You need to take off any labels, stickers, or other “extras” already on the box to prep your box. These are all reflective materials that will impede your projection abilities if they are not removed. You can also do your first coat of paint at this point if you’d like to.

STET 2 Use Your Utility Knife

Once you have everything set up, it’s time to use your utility knife to cut your box up a little bit. The lens needs to be able to move forward and back to account for the throw ratio. Because of this, you’ll be cutting one of the short sides away from the shoebox using your utility knife.

STEP 3 Place Your Magnifying Lens

Once you’ve built a good base for the magnifying lens, it’s time to place it. You should have two to make this DIY project work. Make sure you purchase a second magnifying glass for this reason. Carefully measure the lens and cut an adequately sized hole out of the piece of cardboard for it to pop your lenses into. Use your tape to secure them.

STEP 4 Put Black Paint on the Whole Box

Ensuring that you have a completely blacked-out shoebox projector is crucial. You’ll need to see to it that every part of the box is coated thoroughly, preferably with matte black paint. This type of paint will be less reflective and counteract outside light sources. You may want to do a few coats of color to be safe.

STEP 5 Enjoy All Content From the Phone

This simple step is all about testing out your new shoebox projector. When using your cell phone projector indoors, remember to turn off any ambient light sources. This includes covering windows, turning off lights, and even shutting screens off. If you have any light leaks, use your duct tape to patch up the places you missed on the first round.


Buying a cheap projector may seem like the best bang for your buck, but it can cost you big time regarding image quality.


Are portable projectors better than TVs in small spaces?

That depends on the type of projector. A cell phone projector today is far better than they were a few years ago due to technological advancement. However, the primary light source in the room will determine how well your projector will do.

Which lens is used in a homemade projector?

A convex lens is used in a homemade projector to magnify and project images onto your screen of choice. You’ll need two convex lenses, however, or it won’t work.

Why is my homemade projector image upside-down?

The main reason this happens is that you only used one convex lens when creating your shoebox projector. Only using one convex lens will result in an enlarged image that is upside down.

How do I make my projector screen bigger?

You can use a zoom ring to enlarge an image on your projector. Most systems have a zoom ring, so just check to see whether your projector does or not.

STAT: Google Maps was accessed by over 50% of mobile audiences in August 2021 for the United States. (source)

Beth Huston Profile image