Make Your Own 3D Glasses

Making your own 3D glasses is so easy to do that you can whip them up just before a movie, right at the moment you discover the ones that came with your 3D DVD are missing! Before you get started, make sure that whatever you want to view uses old school red-and-blue 3D technology. More modern approaches to 3D technology are more difficult to make on your own, or more expensive than just ordering the glasses online.

 Making Red-Blue 3D Glasses

Create or reuse a pair of glasses frames. The sturdiest option is a pair of cheap glasses or sunglasses from a drugstore or dollar store, with the plastic lenses popped out. At that point, you're not saving much money compared to ready-made 3D glasses, so many people prefer to use poster board, cardstock, or ordinary paper folded in half.
A sturdy poster board such as oak tag will last longer than other paper options.
Cutting and folding the glasses frame is pretty intuitive, but you can print, cut out, and trace this template onto heavier stock if you prefer.


Cut out clear plastic to use as lenses

ust about any type of clear plastic should work. Whichever you choose, cut it out to be slightly larger than the eye holes in the glasses frames, so you have room to tape them together. Here are a few commonly available options:
Cellophane. This is the thin, flexible plastic sometimes used as "windows" on food packaging, or to wrap CD cases.
Transparency sheet for overhead projectors. You can buy these at office supply stores.
A hard CD "jewel case" itself. This should only be cut by a competent adult, due to the risk of shattering. Score the plastic repeatedly and lightly with a utility knife until there is a deep groove, then bend lightly to snap it apart.
Acetate sheets (also called acetate film) are available at art supply stores or theatrical/stage lighting stores. These already come in red and cyan, so you can skip the coloring step.


Color one lens red and one lens blue

Use permanent markers to color one side of each lens. These glasses work best when you use cyan instead of blue, but blue is a more common marker color and works pretty well.
If the color looks patchy or inconsistent, smudge it together with your finger.
The room should look darker when you look through the lens. If it's still pretty light, color the other side of the lens as well.


Tape the lenses over the eye holes

Red goes over the LEFT eye, and blue goes over the RIGHT. Tape the lens to the frame, and take care not to tape over the lenses themselves, or you'll get a fuzzy image.
Adjust your monitor's hue and tint. Try on the glasses and look at your 3D image. If you are viewing a TV or computer screen and you don't see the 3D effect, adjust the monitor's hue and tint settings until the blue on the screen becomes invisible through your right lens. It should be obvious when this happens, since the image will suddenly "pop" into 3D.


Use these glasses

Anaglyph glasses are the oldest form of 3D image technology. The same image is drawn once in red and once in cyan (blue–green), slightly offset. When viewed through glasses with the same colored lenses, each eye can only detect the image of the opposite color. Because your two eyes are detecting what looks like the same image from slightly different perspectives, you interpret it as a real 3D object.

  • Some 3D DVDs (but not BluRay) and games that advertise "anaglyph" or "stereoscopic" modes will work with these glasses. Search online for "anaglyph" videos and images to find more 3D content.
  • Most 3D TVs and movie theaters use different technology. If a 3D screen or image contains any colors besides red and cyan, these glasses will not help you.

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