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Pinhole Projector


Have you ever wondered how telescopes and cameras work? They both use a special kind of lens called a pinhole lens. A pinhole lens is a very small hole that lets light through. When light passes through a pinhole lens, it creates an upside-down image of whatever is on the other side of the lens. You can make your own pinhole projector! 

To make a pinhole projector, you’ll need the following materials: 

  • A shoebox or other small cardboard box 
  • A piece of aluminum foil 
  • A sharp object, such as a pushpin 
  • A piece of white paper 
  • Scissors 
  • Tape


Homemade pinhole projector


  1. Cut two small holes in one end of the cardboard box next to each other. Space them about 5-6” apart. The holes should be about the size of a quarter.  
  2. Cover one hole with aluminum foil. Tape the foil in place. The hole with the foil will be your sun hole. The other hole will be your viewing hole. 
  3. Use the pushpin to make a small hole in the center of the aluminum foil. 
  4. Cut a piece of white paper to fit inside the box. Tape the paper to the back of the box, opposite the side with the aluminum foil. 
  5. Your pinhole projector is now complete! To use it, stand with your back to the Sun (which will position the pinhole towards the Sun) and look at the projected image on the white paper. 



  • Make sure that the pinhole is small. The smaller the pinhole, the sharper the image will be. 
  • You can use a piece of dark paper instead of white paper to make the image darker. 
  • You can also use your projector to project images of other bright objects, such as lamps. 



  • Never look directly at the sun, even during an eclipse. The sun’s rays can damage your eyes. 

Pinhole projectors are a fun and easy way to learn about optics!

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