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How To Make a Pinhole Camera

It's impossible to deny that 2017 is the age of nostalgia. Whether it is through the revival of old 90’s trends in fashion or the reboots of our favourite retro movies, the truth between them all is that old definitely is gold. A great way to relive some of that age old charm is through photographs and anyone with an Instagram account can vouch for the timeless quality of a good retro filter. But how about instead of applying a digital filter we create our own DIY pinhole camera perfect for taking the most artsy looking black and white pictures around the block. Today, 29 June is celebrated as Camera Day and we have just the project to get you started.

Pinhole cameras or ‘camera obscura’ were inventions of the 19th century and were one of the first ways we captured images. It is a simple camera in the shape of a closed box or chamber. In one of its sides is a small hole which, via the propagation of light, creates an image of the outside space on the opposite side of the box. It is incredibly easy to make one out of things lying around at home and it is a great way to spend a rainy day in.  

Step 1: What you will need

You will need a box, photo paper, thin piece of metal like a can or brass shim, tape, knife, needle, and sand paper.

 Step 2: Make pinhole

The pinhole is like the lens of the camera. Poke a tiny hole in the brass shim with a needle and sand it smooth. Trim the shim so there is a little space around the hole.

How To Make a Pinhole Camera

Step 3: Make camera box

You can use a shoe box or any other box that must be light proof. When the lid is on and the shutter is closed the inside is completely dark. The only light comes through the pinhole. Make sure there are no holes or openings in the box. Seal it and paint it flat black. Cut a small square opening in the box for the pinhole to go in.

How To Make a Pinhole Camera

Step 4: Put in pinhole and make shutter

Use electrical tape to tape the pinhole behind the square opening. Center the pinhole in the square. Then make the shutter, using some more tape, which is just a flap that covers the pinhole from the outside.

How To Make a Pinhole Camera

Step 5: Load the photo paper

This must be done in complete darkness.Tape a piece of photo paper to the inside of the box across from the hole. Put lid on and make sure the shutter is closed. Now you can go out in the light.

How To Make a Pinhole Camera

Step 6: Taking a picture

Point the camera at what you want to shoot. It works best when it is bright and sunny. Depending on lighting and clouds hold shutter open for 30 seconds to 4 minutes then close. Everything has to stay perfectly still. Now your photo is ready for developing.

Step 7: Developing

Film or photo paper from the pinhole camera can be taken into a photography store and developed just like any other type of film.

In today’s digital world, pictures have lost the magical appeal our previous generations experienced thanks to the abundance of images that our lives are saturated with. The photos taken by a pinhole camera themselves have an unusual feel and capture the world in a different way than you are used to. Make your own pinhole camera, take some photographs with it and find out for yourselves.

Put a kettle to boil, brew a nice pot of whole leaf tea and get cracking on this simple DIY to celebrate World Camera Day today.

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