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May 4, 2015

Easy DIY Projector for a Smartphone

By Christy Crawford
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

     

    Despite varying income gaps, most families have a smartphone, and that phone is loaded with family photos. Your personal smartphone may also be stacked with photos from the school year. For a very one-of-a-kind, low-tech, low-cost, end-of-year celebration, grab some popcorn, the tools below, and gather students or entire families together to make a shoebox projector for a personal picture show.

     

     

    Besides your smartphone, you'll need the following:

    • a shoebox

    • duct tape

    • an X-acto knife

    • a paper towel tube

    • black construction paper 

    • wallpaper samples, glue sticks, markers, and construction paper if you choose to decorate the outside of the projector

    • a small handful of clay

    • a cheap magnifying glass* — use a 1.5  to 2.5 inch lens or you'll need a bigger box

    *I found cheap magnifying glasses at dollar stores. However, before you use any lens or buy in bulk for a classroom, test your purchase! If you cannot clearly read letters or numbers under the magnifying glass, it's not worthy buying that lens to project photos.

    1. Trace a hole in the short side of your shoebox with the magnifying glass. Unscrew the magnifying glass handle for removal or just pop the glass out; most dollar store glasses pop out with a little pressure. Carefully trace around the edges of the glass. 

     

     

     

     

    2. Use the X-acto knife to neatly cut the circle you just traced. Keep it tight! You'll want to avoid light slipping out around the cracks. 

    3. Trace your paper towel tube on the opposite side of the shoebox. Cut that circle and insert tube.

    4. Need a hole for a phone power cord or speakers? Cut a small slit in the back by your paper towel tube.

    5. For thin pieces of tape that little fingers can more easily attach to the magnifying glass and shoebox, slice through the duct tape right on the roll.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    6. Attach your lens. Line it up with the magnifying glass hole and apply tape around the entire edge.  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    7. You will use the part of the paper towel tube sticking outside of the box as a handle to move the phone closer to or futher from the lens. The phone will rest against the part of the tube on the inside of the box.

    Is your box brightly colored?  Line it with black construction paper for a better effect.

     

     

     

    8. Before you put the phone in the shoebox, flip your smartphone screen. When light passes through a lens, it gets flipped. Flip the image to avoid looking at upside down pictures. Thanks to Photojojo.com for explaining the problem and finding a solution for iPhone and Android users! Photojojo suggests Apple users go to Settings> General> Accessibility and turn on Assistive Touch. Once activated, a small white circle will pop up that can be moved around the screen. Go to your photo. Turn the phone into landscape orientation. Now, click on the orb and continue to Device> Rotate Screen and click Left or Right.

    Android users can download the Ultimate Rotation Control app.  

    9. Test your device. Plop a little play dough right in front of the tube and rest the phone in the playdough cradle to make sure your phone stays upright. Find your focus by moving your new projector closer or further away to the wall and then by pushing the paper towel tube back and forth until you find just the right spot to focus your pictures or short video.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    10. Click the Settings icon on your phone. Turn the brightness of your screen all the way up.

    11. Use construction paper, markers, or wallpaper, to decorate your projector. Some of my very crafty students used the black duct tape to neatly edge their boxes.

             

    12. Hang a white sheet or white shower curtain on a wall in a very dark room and enjoy your smartphone photos!   

    Use the slideshow mode on your phone for viewing parties with your students!

     

    Despite varying income gaps, most families have a smartphone, and that phone is loaded with family photos. Your personal smartphone may also be stacked with photos from the school year. For a very one-of-a-kind, low-tech, low-cost, end-of-year celebration, grab some popcorn, the tools below, and gather students or entire families together to make a shoebox projector for a personal picture show.

     

     

    Besides your smartphone, you'll need the following:

    • a shoebox

    • duct tape

    • an X-acto knife

    • a paper towel tube

    • black construction paper 

    • wallpaper samples, glue sticks, markers, and construction paper if you choose to decorate the outside of the projector

    • a small handful of clay

    • a cheap magnifying glass* — use a 1.5  to 2.5 inch lens or you'll need a bigger box

    *I found cheap magnifying glasses at dollar stores. However, before you use any lens or buy in bulk for a classroom, test your purchase! If you cannot clearly read letters or numbers under the magnifying glass, it's not worthy buying that lens to project photos.

    1. Trace a hole in the short side of your shoebox with the magnifying glass. Unscrew the magnifying glass handle for removal or just pop the glass out; most dollar store glasses pop out with a little pressure. Carefully trace around the edges of the glass. 

     

     

     

     

    2. Use the X-acto knife to neatly cut the circle you just traced. Keep it tight! You'll want to avoid light slipping out around the cracks. 

    3. Trace your paper towel tube on the opposite side of the shoebox. Cut that circle and insert tube.

    4. Need a hole for a phone power cord or speakers? Cut a small slit in the back by your paper towel tube.

    5. For thin pieces of tape that little fingers can more easily attach to the magnifying glass and shoebox, slice through the duct tape right on the roll.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    6. Attach your lens. Line it up with the magnifying glass hole and apply tape around the entire edge.  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    7. You will use the part of the paper towel tube sticking outside of the box as a handle to move the phone closer to or futher from the lens. The phone will rest against the part of the tube on the inside of the box.

    Is your box brightly colored?  Line it with black construction paper for a better effect.

     

     

     

    8. Before you put the phone in the shoebox, flip your smartphone screen. When light passes through a lens, it gets flipped. Flip the image to avoid looking at upside down pictures. Thanks to Photojojo.com for explaining the problem and finding a solution for iPhone and Android users! Photojojo suggests Apple users go to Settings> General> Accessibility and turn on Assistive Touch. Once activated, a small white circle will pop up that can be moved around the screen. Go to your photo. Turn the phone into landscape orientation. Now, click on the orb and continue to Device> Rotate Screen and click Left or Right.

    Android users can download the Ultimate Rotation Control app.  

    9. Test your device. Plop a little play dough right in front of the tube and rest the phone in the playdough cradle to make sure your phone stays upright. Find your focus by moving your new projector closer or further away to the wall and then by pushing the paper towel tube back and forth until you find just the right spot to focus your pictures or short video.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    10. Click the Settings icon on your phone. Turn the brightness of your screen all the way up.

    11. Use construction paper, markers, or wallpaper, to decorate your projector. Some of my very crafty students used the black duct tape to neatly edge their boxes.

             

    12. Hang a white sheet or white shower curtain on a wall in a very dark room and enjoy your smartphone photos!   

    Use the slideshow mode on your phone for viewing parties with your students!

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