How To Enlarge A Drawing Without A Projector

So you've just created a masterpiece and can't wait to flaunt its beauty to an audience.

The thing is, no matter how beautiful your piece of drawing, a small canvas doesn't reach the soul of your audience.

You also might need to magnify an image in order to trace it or create a copy of it by observation.

Hence comes the need to enlarge your works of art to bring every detail to life, which naturally makes you think that you need a projector to do so.

Much to the surprise of many, you don't actually have to break your bank to invest a hefty amount in a projector to enlarge your drawings or any other images.

So today, we are all about how to enlarge a drawing without a projector, saving your money while simultaneously magnifying it for the most captivating experience!

How To Enlarge A Drawing Without A Projector
How To Enlarge A Drawing Without A Projector

1. How To Project Image Onto Canvas Without Projector

Say you're an artist and just found the perfect reference picture to draw on your canvas. Though using a projector to enlarge the image on the canvas and then tracing it seems easier, it might be an overly expensive investment for those who already don't own one.

In order or to receive an enlarged image on your canvas, you can obviously opt for the manual methods of enlarging that require you to draw by hand. Though as efficient, it gets the job done.

Manual Methods:


This method of copying the whole image by hand. Though entirely manual, it is a great method to receive the most accurately drawn copy instead of drawing only via observation.

  • Start by taking a canvas size of the same ratio as your reference photo.
  • On your reference photo, draw a grid consisting of one-inch squares with a pencil and a ruler.
  • The same ratio of reference and canvas size is important as it will make your gridding easier. For example, say your reference image has a size of 9 x 12 inches, and your canvas has a size of 18 x 24 inches-double the size. Since you drew a grid on your reference photo with one-inch squares, you now need to draw a grid on your canvas with squares double the size, i.e., 2 inches each.
  • Once you have completed the grids, it's time to follow and fill up each square of your canvas grid by following the reference picture's grid.

Though it sounds scary, trust us when we tell you that dealing with each small square area makes it easier to copy the drawing part by part with higher accuracy.

Transfer Paper

Probably all of us are aware of what transfer papers are, and they are one of the easiest methods of copying a picture into your canvas.

Just choose your desired picture, print it out in a larger size to fit your canvas as you need, then start tracing the printed drawing. The tracing paper should be kept on top of the paper with the graphite side facing downwards. The picture should be placed on top of this transfer paper.

Feel free to tape the transfer paper down to resist slipping or sliding. Once you are done tracing, remove the transfer paper and you'll find the graphite layer left the outline of the image you just traced on the canvas.


Similar to your transfer method, charcoal can be used to create your own DIY transfer paper and used exactly like transfer paper to get the job done.


You can use daylight through a window like you would use a lightbox which we'll discuss in a while. If the window is large enough, you can use canvas paper by this method.

For a better visual of the drawing, use a cheaper canvas paper as they tend to be thinner and allow more sunlight to pass through, making tracing easier.

Digital Method:


A lightbox, as the name suggests, is a box-shaped device with light inside and a glass pane on top. Though too small for canvas tracing, you can trace images on paper using this device upon printing an enlarged copy of your drawing.

You put the reference printout on the glass pane, the fresh paper on top, turn on the lightbox light, and start tracing the shadow of the outlines you see.

DIY Projector

With just the simplest tools, you can create your own DIY projector either using your phone or a flashlight as the key tool. Stay tuned till the end to know exactly how. Both those methods can be used to conveniently and effectively project directly onto your canvas.

2. How To Project Image On Wall From Phone

There is no direct way of projecting from your phone into a wall without a projector. But you can of course use platforms like AllCast, Chromecast, etc. to share your phone screen on an external monitor or TV.

If you must project on a wall and that too, using your smartphone but without investing in a projector, the best way is the DIY way!

Yep, you guessed it. You can make your own projector by yourself right at home using just a few household items and your smartphone!

To get started, procure the following items:

  • Your phone
  • A magnifying glass
  • Mirror
  • Cardboard or shoebox of rectangular shape
  • Matte paint or paper, all black
  • Anti-cutter and a pair of scissors
  • Ruler
  • Tape/glue

The box you have picked must be larger than your phone but not excessively oversized as or else, your phone's light will spill out everywhere.

For those of you wondering why a mirror is needed, it's actually necessary to ensure that the image inversion is canceled out as the convex-shaped lens of the magnifying produced reversed images.

Setting Up The Box

  • With your scissors, cut out one of the shorter ends of your box.
  • The interior needs to be all black and matte to prevent reflection so that your projected images don't develop blurriness or glare. Hence, use the black paint or paper to cover up every spot.
  • When using paint, let the whole thing dry up after applying an even coating before proceeding.

Setting Up The Mirror & Magnifying Glass

  • Take a decent-quality magnifying glass and remove its handle
  • Trace out the magnifying glass lens on the cardboard piece you cut out in the very beginning-the shorter end piece. Focus on the lens's internal circumference in order to ensure secure fitting.
  • Once traced, remove that portion to create the lens slot.
  • Place the lens in the slot and attach it with tape or glue ad you see fit.
  • At a 45⁰ angle, et up the mirror on the opposite end of the box. It should be among the lens and your phone.

The Phone Gap

  • On the cardboard lid above the mirror, place the phone and mark its shape.
  • Remove the traced area a few millimeters smaller than the traced shape. This will prevent the phone from falling down inside.
  • Now place the lid back on top of the box, put your smartphone on the new slot, check for any adjustments and start projecting in a dark room on your wall.

For best results, the phone's brightness level should be increased to the max. Adjust the focus by moving the lens or phone forward or backward.

If you don't have any magnifying glass at home, you can also use the same method discussed above but instead of the magnifying glass, use a lightbulb filled with water. The contents of the bulb must be cleared out before filling it up.

You can also go for making DIY lenses from plastic bottles. Either way, though it all seems like an intimidating process, trust us when we tell you that it's a killer way to project images using your smartphone with barely any investment!

3. How To Project An Image On A Wall Without A Projector

We are now about to walk you through the flashlight DIY projector process which you can use to project on a wall without a real projector. The following are the tools you'd need:

  • Flashlight
  • Anti-cutter & a pair of scissors
  • Transparent sheets
  • Cardboard or Styrofoam box or frame
  • Glue or tape
  • Magnifying glass

You can make this DIY projector without the magnifying glass as well if your pictures are big enough. For the method without a magnifying glass, you'd need a fairly large box. On one of the larger sides, cut out a window as large as possible.

Print/draw your desired image on the transparent sheet and attach them to the window. Now using a flashlight or a phone equipped with a torch, turn it on at the back of the image and see the image projected on the wall or canvas already fairly magnified.

The other method requires you to be a little craftier but can provide better projections.

  • From your box, cut off two square-shaped pieces.
  • On the top of each of these pieces, create U-shapes matching your flashlight dimensions as these two pieces will be holding it.
  • Keeping the height as same as those two pieces of cardboard or Styrofoam, cut another square piece in a manner so that it can hold the transparent sheet slides and allow easy changing.
  • Now you need to cut a fourth piece to hold the lens of your magnifying glass.
  • Trace the lens shape on it, cut it out, and attach the lens to it.
  • Now attach all these pieces on a single straight platform so that they align in the following order- flashlight, transparent slide holder, magnifying glass.
  • In a dark room, position this projector facing a wall or white surface and turn the flashlight on. Make any adjustments necessary and ensure that the light passes through the slides and lens correctly.
  • In order to get the current image projections, used inverted images in the transparent slides.
  • Move the projector nearer or further as needed to further enlarge or reduce the projected image size. Putting it too far away will deter the quality of the projected image so that's a factor to remember.

Conclusion for Ways to Enlarge A Drawing Without A Projector

We all are more or less aware of how to enlarge a drawing with a projector, but how many of us know so without one?

Not everyone has a projector for their basic purposes but that doesn't have to prevent you from enjoying that convenience.

As we just saw, you can easily make enlargements for any purpose, whether it's for viewing or for creation; and that too, without having to spend big bucks on a bulky projector!

About Dror Wettenstein

Dror Wettenstein is a software engineer and entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in the industry. He is the founder of TechTreeRepeat, a company that enables technical writers to publish their work faster and share it with readers across the globe. Dror has a master’s degree in computer science from San Diego State University and a bachelor’s degree in physics from UC Irvine.

When he’s not working on software projects, Dror enjoys writing articles and essays on various topics. He also likes playing guitar and spending time with his wife and two young children.

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