How Do Pinhole Projectors Work?

Have you ever wondered how can an assembled stiff piece of paper be called a projector; a pinhole projector? How does it work? Does it really work as a projector? Well, to understand that you need to what exactly the pinhole projector is.

The pinhole projector is the oldest and cheapest projector still made. The pinhole projector was invented to watch solar esclip, it is still used for the same purpose(even though their esclip glasses have been introduced).

How Do the Pinhole Projectors Work?

The pinhole projectors are two stiff pieces of paper. One with a tiny hole and the other one usually does not have any hole.

The hole is usually made in one piece of paper using a pin or any sharp object of the same size.

One piece of paper is kept on the ground or an object and the other one with a hole is placed a little above the ground to let the sunshine pass through it.

The sunshine passes through the tiny hole and you begin seeing a partially obscured sun.

The paper with the hole plays the role of a projector and the paper on the ground acts as a screen.

The light that emits from the piece of paper that is acting as a projector forms an image on the other paper placed to act as a screen.

The pinhole is the simplest form of a projector. It does not even have a lamp or a complex structure. All it has is a hole that lets the light pass through in a straight line and forms an image on the other paper acting as a screen.

How to Make and Use a DIY Pinhole Projector?

A pinhole projector is the simplest form of a projector. All it has is whole to pass the light through in a straight line.

However, to turn the two stiff papers into a projector, you have to do everything right. To make a DIY projector, you need two pieces of stiff paper and a pin.

Once you have all the needed accessories, make sure both papers are of the same size.

Take one piece of paper and somewhere in the middle make a hole using the pinhole. The pinhole projector is done.

Now that the pinhole projector is ready you have to use it the right way. Stand with the back facing the sun hold up the paper with a pinhole in your hand and place the other one on the ground.

Allow the sunlight to pass through the pinhole. As we all know the light travels in the same direction, the light will pass through traveling in a straight line would cast a spell on the paper placed on the ground.


The pinhole projector is the simplest form of projector it works by allowing the light to pass through the hole. The light travels in a straight line, it ends up forming an image on the paper placed on the ground acting as a projector screen.


  • Will Nob has extensive experience with Laser Projectors. His job was to assemble laptops and projectors for a famous company in the United States. Several of his articles and research papers have been published.

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