Have you ever wondered, “Man, wouldn’t it be cool if I could see through my computer screen?” No? Then you clearly (heh) aren’t thinking like Evan and Katelyn, the husband and wife maker duo. As YouTube creators, they’re cranking out content to show the world that making stuff isn’t as impossible and frustrating as we think it is.

In one of their most recent episodes, they had their work cut out for themselves. They decided to tear apart an LCD TV with an aim to convert the LCD into a transparent display. Success for them (and potential us) would mean loads of fun! Let’s have a look at what they discover.

First, the basic premise behind an LCD TV is you’ve got liquid crystals (LCD) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) working together to produce light and color. They are configured into an array of rows and columns that make up the display. Various films are used to reduce glare and provide a colorful rich viewing experience. Now what Evan and Katelyn want to do is make use of the LCD and any electronic components that power it, to make an interactive viewing experience. Their hunch is that if they can strip away the antiglare/polarizing film from the back of the LCD panel it will be possible to see completely through the display, while at the same time be able to view graphics and video content.

1. Separating The LCD From Everything Else

The project starts as you would expect: with the couple trying to solve the mystery of the hidden fasteners. Releasing plastic clips and separating adhesive bonds without breaking the displays or electrical connections would be key. After I’m sure what seemed like ages of poking and prodding with conventional and unconventional tools, Evan finally meets with success!

DIY transparent screen

Thanks to a few guitar picks and pieces of plastic, the duo manage to remove the foam keeping the LCD connected to the rest of the TV. They slowly separate the LCD by removing all the tape and disconnecting the electronics.

DIY transparent screen

As a sanity check Evan and Katelyn decide to reconnect the electronics and power up the LCD display to see if it is still good to go. Voila! LCD color in all its glory came to life.

2. Removing The Screen Filter

DIY transparent screen

With the LCD safely separated, their next hurdle is to remove a film sheet adhered to the back of the LCD. The film acts as a filter that evenly disperses the light that normally would emanate from the LEDs. By getting rid of the LED component and removing the film backing, a clear view through the panel would become possible.

To do this, they set some wet paper towels onto the on top of the film sheet to soften the adhesive or neutralize the static cling. After about an hour Katelyn did the honors and began carefully remove the film. Not having waited long enough the filter did not fully release and began to rip. The patches without film, however, were nice and bright as hoped for! Spurred on by partial success, Evan and Katelyn decide to just rip the rest of the filter off.

3. Designing And Creating A New Television Base

DIY transparent screen

Since the two troublemakers effectively destroyed the original display housing, their next step was to construct a new home for unfiltered LCD. They decide to construct the new frame and base from wood keeping the build fairly simple. After a sweet build montage showcasing their woodworking setup and expertise, Evan and Katelyn completed the custom frame with an integrated base, the LCD’s new home!

DIY transparent screen

All there was left to do was fit the TV electronics to the base. Execersizing his skill as a craftsmen Evan managed to shave away some wood in just the right amount and shape. Then a few screws aptly placed to snuggly secured the electronics inside the wooden base below the LCD.

4. Let’s Try It Out!

DIY transparent screen

All this work would be for naught if the LCD didn’t actually work and thankfully, it does! With some extra lighting in the background, Katelyn can clearly see Evan on the other side of the screen. She uses this newfound power to Photoshop some wacky hairstyles and tattoos onto her partner, which is one of the few perks of having a transparent screen.

The biggest drawback of having a transparent LCD is you almost always need some form of lighting on one side to see what is on the screen. Conventional lighting and even natural sunlight allow you to see the screen clearly, as proven by Evan and Katelyn in their studio and yard respectively.

Evan and Katelyn’s YouTube channel shows how you don’t have to be the best or even the most knowledgeable person in the world to create stuff, just a healthy dose of gumption and curiosity. They have tons of practical and not-so-practical projects which are a hoot to watch, so be sure to check them out!

Author

Carlos wrestles gators, and by gators, we mean words. He also loves good design, good books, and good coffee.