How To Project A Movie Outside Without A Projector?

Watching movies with your buddies, armed with popcorn and drinks in the backyard, is the best way to spend your weekends or even a whole summer. And adding some hot barbeque makes things even better.

There are dedicated projectors out in the market made solely for these late-night backyard movie parties, but these projectors can cost a fortune. A high-end projector can cost around $1000!

Why spend so much when, with just your smartphone and something made from material gathered from your house, you can be the king of parties. Today, we will be showing you how to project a movie outside without an actual shop-bought projector! It may sound insane, but it’s totally doable.

Materials/Items Required To Make A Projector

We will now list the things you must need to make this project successful. Don’t stress! You probably won’t have to buy anything. Just look around your house for these materials. Don’t panic if anything is missing – overall, this project won’t stretch beyond the 10 dollar mark.

One word of caution, do ensure you have every item on this list. Even with one missing, your final product could end up being a disaster.

These are the things you need:

  • Smartphone/Tablet – this will be used for playing the movie.
  • A large white, plain sheet/table cloth
  • A magnifying glass or old camera lens

If you have neither of these, we suggest looking for ‘How To Make A Projector Without A Magnifying Glass’. This will involve using filament lightbulbs instead.)

  • A shoebox or other similar thick cardboard box

Whatever box you decide to use must be bigger and handle both your smartphone/tablet and the magnifying glass.

  • Lego for Phone Stand
  • Glue or glue gun
  • Crafting Knife or Scissors (not to be used by kids without supervision!)
  • Handsaw
  • Sandpaper
  • Pen or Pencil
  • Black paint
  • Sticky tape (don’t use electrical tape).

Step-By-Step Guide To Making A Homemade Projector

The process is very simple if you follow each step with patience and care. It also shouldn’t take long at all.

1. Take the magnifying glass and place it on a flat surface. Make sure that the magnifying glass is circular with a plastic border around it.

2. Cut off the handle of the magnifying glass with the handsaw. (If using a camera lens, you may not need to do this).

3. Smooth the area where the handle was using the sandpaper.

4. Place the magnifying glass on one of the smaller sides of your shoebox.

5. Trace a line around the magnifying glass above the box using a pen or pencil.

6. Once done, cut out the traced circle part using a pair of scissors or a crafting knife. Ensure the box’s hole is perfectly circular; otherwise, the magnifying glass will not fit in the hole.

7. Place the magnifying glass inside the hole you just cut out. Make sure it fits.

8. To ensure that the magnifying glass sticks, apply glue around the edges of the magnifying glass.

9. Once the glue has dried, paint the entire interior of the box black. This is to avoid your smartphone screen reflecting once you are projecting. You can also paint the outside.

10. Let the paint dry.

11. While the paint is drying, build a phone stand from Lego. The stand should be big enough to keep your phone stood up straight while it is in the projector.

If you do not own any lego, take any household item that will fit in the box, which has a flat surface. Test if your phone will stand upright while against it.     If the answer is ‘yes, it stands,’ then this will do the job.

Using The Projector

1. Take the projector outside.

2. Set up your large white sheet to project onto. (Remember, this projector will work best at night and in an area with fewer lights.)

3. Start the movie you want to watch on your smartphone.

4. Place the phone on the stand, and line it up inside the projector box with the magnifying glass. Ensure the rotation lock is on and that the phone is upside down when in the stand.

5. Once the picture is on the sheet/projection area, adjust the smartphone within the projector box to ensure the picture is clear and in focus.

6. If needed, improvise a tent-like structure around the projector and projection area to block out as much light as possible.

7. To get a bigger picture, move further back.

8. Hook your smartphone up to speakers to get better sound.

Final Word

Well, that was easy-peasy to do, and now you can enjoy movies outdoors without having an expensive bit of equipment.

Better yet, there’s always the risk of adverse weather suddenly happening or someone spilling something. If either occurs, you don’t have to worry about it killing an electrical item (we’re assuming your phone is waterproof).

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