How to Project Image onto the Canvas Without Projector?

It is quite convenient to project an image using a projector, however, not every artist has the luxury to afford one.

Especially when drawing on large canvases, the painter wants to paint every detail which is possible through image enlargement with a projector.

Fortunately, an artist can easily enlarge a picture for viewing or creation without spending big bucks on an art projector.

How to Project Image onto the Canvas Without Projector?

Projectors can be a huge investment for many budding artists. Luckily, it is possible to project reference photos on the canvas without a projector.

Tracing seems easier without the need for an overly expensive investment with the following manual and digital methods.


It is an illuminated box with a light source inside and a glass pane on top. It can be a bit too small for tracing images on canvas, print a copy of the desired drawing for tracing.

Put the enlarged reference printout on the glass pane, turn on the light source inside the lightbox, and start tracing the outlines.

Replicate the drawing on canvas and paint it according to the reference photo. The image is successfully transferred onto another surface allowing the painter to redraw multiple times and refine his skills.

DIY Projector

Yes, you read it right! If you can not afford a projector right now, make a projector yourself. DIY projector can be easily crafted with simple items readily available in most houses. Learn Project Mobile Screen on the Wall Without a Projector?

All it requires is a phone, magnifying glass, cardboard, mirror, matte black paper, a pair of scissors, and tape or glue.


Create your own DIY projector using a phone or flashlight as key accessories. There is a window in the cardboard, usually cut on the larger side.

Put the reference printout in the window, use a flashlight or the phone torch, place it at the back of the image, a fairly magnified or enlarged image will be projected on the canvas or wall.


Though gridding is entirely manual and a time-consuming process, small grids make it easy to copy reference pictures onto the canvas.

Take a canvas of a similar ratio as the reference photo and draw grids of one-inch squares.

Once the grids are completed, fill up each square of the canvas grid in accordance with the reference picture.

Transfer Paper

Nearly all painters have used transfer papers to copy and trace drawings. It is the easiest method to copy a picture, print out the desired picture equivalent to the size of the canvas.

Tape the transfer paper with the graphite side facing downwards and trace the drawing.

  • Charcoal – Create a DIY transfer paper using charcoal and use it exactly like the aforementioned method to get the job done.
  • Window – Use daylight or sunlight to trace images onto the canvas, get a cheaper, thinner canvas paper letting more sunlight pass, and make tracing easier.


Though the desired tracing results can only be achieved with real projectors, these aforementioned methods can somewhat help you with your training and drawings.

Read also: Cinemark Vs AMC


  • Will Nob

    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. Nob Will

Leave a Comment