Dollarstore lens find = Big screen Cardboard

Very easy build for a big screen phone Google Cardboard

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This has to be the easiest Cardboard custom build ever and I just wanted to share the "lens" find...
Remember those goofy "Zoomer" glasses advertised on tv... yes, the big black-rimmed binocular glasses. They've made their way to the Dollarama store here in Canada (well, at $3 ) and the outer lenses with frame are great for a Cardboard build! Flip the lenses around to use the configuration I did above. The lenses have a 27mm ( 1") diameter and 65mm focal point which allow you to make full use of a big-screen phone ( Note3 ).

See details below re: second design.

Lenses on ebay! Search for: Great Magnifier Binoculars Portable Glasses

First photo's are of a classic Cardboard build.

Second group of photos are of a new design I tried.

During travels I decided to take full advantage of my phone case folding over to hold phone in place. This version easily folds flat. The phone case flap happened to fold in for stability otherwise I'd add a top lid or something to keep it square when in use. See pics!


SVG of panels. Separate layers for thick and thin panel pieces.

svg+xml - 215.30 kB - 06/27/2016 at 22:14



3D rendered animation.

MPEG-4 Video - 1.26 MB - 06/27/2016 at 22:13



2nd prototype

JPEG Image - 781.27 kB - 06/27/2016 at 22:02



2nd prototype

JPEG Image - 592.33 kB - 06/27/2016 at 22:01


  • 1 × Lens+frame Outer part from cheesy binocular glasses as seen on tv... available in dollar store or on ebay ( search for: Great Magnifier Binoculars Portable Glasses Telescope )

  • 1
    Step 1

    Get a lot of cardboard... then just go for it. Leave the complicated cuts( i.e. lens holes) until you've made all of your mistakes on the easy ones!

  • 2
    Step 2

    Design 1:

    Don't make the viewing tube too big... you want the phone to be a bit bigger than the hole.

    Easy to adjust lens distance to phone - lenses are mounted on separate piece of just the right height and folded to width for stability.

  • 3
    Step 3

    Design 2:

    Requires a phone case that straddles the back cardboard edge.

    You can't adjust the distance of the lenses to the screen afterwards!

    Trickier to make robust. I was lucky my phone case squeezes in. Otherwise you might need to put a lid on it to keep it solidly square.

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victoman1234 wrote 08/20/2016 at 02:10 point

Have you considered using the little knobs on the glasses' frame to make a variable focus? I'm trying to design my version so that I can slide the phone/screen close or far from the lenses.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Justin Jones wrote 08/23/2016 at 07:06 point

Just leave the section holding the lenses loose but snug.. you can push it in and out to adjust the lens to phone distance.

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victoman1234 wrote 08/20/2016 at 02:02 point

Can you upload drawings for the more classic cardboard headset please?

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victoman1234 wrote 08/20/2016 at 02:04 point

I have the intention of making a 3D printable model for myself and might share it if people are interested!

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Justin Jones wrote 08/23/2016 at 07:32 point

It's easier to cut out as you go - no template. Start with a 3"x8" piece and mount the eyepiece in it - CENTERED both ways.  Fold back the excess each side ( don't cut it off... this provides stability ). Now get a 4.5" x 20" piece to wrap around it ( study the photos) and overlap and tape excess, carve out nose and forehead parts. I then made a separate piece to tape to the back to hold the phone.  Add an inside piece ( or use the overlap section if it worked out ) to move the magnets against with an outside cutout for guiding the magnet. I had used double thick cardboard so just cut one layer for the magnet guide.  Plan on doing the build twice - so don't get too picky on the first try ;)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Justin Jones wrote 01/13/2015 at 21:21 point

Yes, plastic. They're similar in quality ( or better) as any of the lenses I've gotten with the 3 different Google Cardboard kits I've been giving away to friends.

Hmm.. now you've got me wondering about achromatic glass lens sources... old cameras. I'm envisioning someone with a real steam-punk build at some point that might even make Cardboard stylish.

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Adam Fabio wrote 01/13/2015 at 07:02 point

How is the quality of the lenses? I'm guessing they're plastic - but if they're not complete crap, this could be a perfect cheap source for cardboard builds!

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