If you've got a smartphone (and we bet you do), magnifying glass, shoebox, and some everyday spare parts, you can construct a miniature digital projector that would make the Lumiere Brothers proud. This could make an excellent project for the kids, illustrating the properties of light and the science behind movie projection. It's also an opportunity to show off your Instagram collection or favorite Vimeo flick you keep telling everyone about...
All you'll need are:
Magnifying glass (get it for $1 at Dollar Tree), or a large aperture lens
X-acto knife or similar
Electrical or black duct tape
Optional: Matte black spray paint or black paper
It's all very simple: cut out a hole on one end of the shoebox, secure a magnifying glass on the outside, place or create a stand for the smartphone to sit within the box, boost the display to full brightness, find the perfect distance for size/focal clarity, then turn on the auto-slideshow and enjoy a job well done.
Here's a $3 box projector for those with an extra $2 to splurge on the project
If the modest screen size and limited brightness isn't enough to satisfying your inner cinephile hopes, there are more sophisticated DIY projectors that can project images and video well into the 120" range!
But at a certain point it probably makes more sense when factoring in time and money to just purchase an entry level digital projector like this extremely portable $242 Optoma PK201 Pico Pocket Projector so you can just sit back and enjoy the photo slideshow or video.