Skip to main content

Got an old cardboard box? Make your own VR goggles for under $10

Google Cardboard Image used with permission by copyright holder

You know Google Cardboard? The super cheap virtual reality headset made from a sheet of foldable cardboard and a pair of lenses? Ever since it was first announced back in 2014, dozens of companies have developed their own take on the idea, and nowadays you can get your hands on a fully functional cardboard VR headset for about 20 bucks — sometimes even less.

That’s pretty damn cheap by most people’s standards, but what you might not realize is that you can build a DIY  version for even cheaper. Google open-sourced the design specifications for the headset shortly after they announced it, so you can easily build your own with a few basic hand tools, a spare sheet of cardboard, and some cheap lenses from Amazon.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

You can access all of Google’s technical specifications and design schematics here — but truth be told, Google’s directions are so comprehensive that they’re almost confusing. So, in an effort to keep things simple and easy-to-follow, Instrucables user mnatanagara put together a much more approachable build guide. We like these plans better than Google’s, since they doesn’t require you to make a bunch of measurements and draw out all the parts. Instead, you just print a template on regular printer paper, glue it to your cardboard, cut everything, and fold it together. Here’s everything you’ll need to get started:


  • Utility knife/razor
  • Scissors
  • Metal edged ruler
  • A large, solid cutting surface


  • Printed templates (download them here)
  • Glue (both stick-style and Elmers)
  • A 2’x3′ sheet of corrugated cardboard.
    • Pro Tip: you might want some extra for your first build, just in case you make a mistake. Also, thinner shoebox-like cardboard is best, but you can make do with the thicker “moving box” variety if that’s all you’ve got. Just don’t expect all the pieces to fold nicely if you use the thicker stuff.
  • A pair of , either 25mm in diameter (GC 1.0) or 37mm (GC 2.0)
  • velcro patches (preferably somewhat weak)
  • A small piece of dense foam (roughly 0.25″ x 0.25″ x 1.0″)
  • velcro patches (The cheaper the better. Expensive stuff is too grippy, and you only need a weak hold)

Once you’ve got everything together, you can find the full build instructions here. Happy building!

Drew Prindle
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Drew Prindle is an award-winning writer, editor, and storyteller who currently serves as Senior Features Editor for Digital…
Don’t buy the Meta Quest Pro for gaming. It’s a metaverse headset first
Meta Quest Pro enables 3D modeling in mixed reality.

Last week’s Meta Connect started off promising on the gaming front. Viewers got release dates for Iron Man VR, an upcoming Quest game that was previously a PS VR exclusive, as well as Among Us VR. Meta, which owns Facebook, also announced that it was acquiring three major VR game studios -- Armature Studio, Camouflaj Team, and Twisted Pixel -- although we don’t know what they’re working on just yet.

Unfortunately, that’s where the Meta Connect's gaming section mostly ended. Besides tiny glimpses and a look into fitness, video games were not the show's focus. Instead, CEO Mark Zuckerberg wanted to focus on what seemed to be his company’s real vision of VR's future, which involves a lot of legs and a lot of work with the Quest Pro, a mixed reality headset that'll cost a whopping $1,500.

Read more
Meet the game-changing pitching robot that can perfectly mimic any human throw
baseball hitter swings and misses

Who’s your favorite baseball pitcher? Shane McClanahan? Sandy Alcantara? Justin Verlander? Whoever you said, two of the top sports-tech companies in the U.S. -- Rapsodo and Trajekt Sports -- have teamed up to build a robot version of them, and the results are reportedly uncannily accurate.

Okay, so we’re not talking about walking-talking-pitching standalone robots, as great a sci-fi-tinged MLB ad as that would be. However, Rapsodo and Trajekt have combined their considerable powers to throw a slew of different technologies at the problem of building a machine that's able to accurately simulate the pitching style of whichever player you want to practice batting against -- and they may just have pulled it off, too.

Read more
The best portable power stations
EcoFlow DELTA 2 on table at campsite for quick charging.

Affordable and efficient portable power is a necessity these days, keeping our electronic devices operational while on the go. But there are literally dozens of options to choose from, making it abundantly difficult to decide which mobile charging solution is best for you. We've sorted through countless portable power options and came up with six of the best portable power stations to keep your smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets functioning while living off the grid.
The best overall: Jackery Explorer 1000

Jackery has been a mainstay in the portable power market for several years, and today, the company continues to set the standard. With three AC outlets, two USB-A, and two USB-C plugs, you'll have plenty of options for keeping your gadgets charged.

Read more