How to Build a Mini Projector at Home

By Chris Moore

If you have a small video player or other media player, you can easily turn it into a miniature projector. A video projector takes the light from a video image and projects it through lenses to create a magnified image. You'll need a small fresnel lens, which is much like multiple lenses stuck together --- you can find these at most office supply or dollar stores. After you have the lens and video source, you connect them together in a frame that will focus the video image light through the lens.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand-held media player
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Electrical or duct tape
  • Glue
  • Fresnel lens

Step 1

Take a miniature media player with a video screen. An iPod, Zune or other device that can store photos and videos with a sharp picture will work best. A hand-held TV set will work, too, but you will give up picture quality.

Step 2

Construct a small, four-sided cardboard frame that looks like a square tube or a box with open ends at opposite sides. It should be the same height and width as the media player's screen and about three inches long. Tape this frame to the player's screen, putting as much tape around the edges as possible.

Step 3

Build a second box frame that is barely larger than the first frame connected to the media player. This frame needs to fit snugly on the end of the first frame but can slide back and forth across it.

Step 4

Cut out one more piece of cardboard that is the same height and width as the end of the second frame and then hollow it out to make a cardboard rim.

Step 5

Cut a plastic fresnel lens down until it's small enough to fit within the cardboard rim. Cut the lens all the way around and make sure its original center remains the center of the finished piece. Glue the lens inside the rim.

Step 6

Tape the cardboard rim and fresnel lens to the open end of the box frame on the media player. Make sure that you surround this piece with tape on all ends.

Step 7

Prop up your projector on a table or other flat surface - you can tape one last cardboard piece to the back of the player and tape the other end to the table. Make sure the projector is facing a blank white wall and then turn the player on. To focus the projected image, move the larger box frame back and forth.

Tips & Warnings

  • The fresnel lens might invert the video image, meaning it will be projected upside down. In this case, place the media player upside down to reverse the image.