How to Make a Pinhole Camera Oatmeal Box

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. At no cost to you, I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Pinhole cameras are a great way to get your kids, or yourself, into photography. They’re inexpensive and easy to make at home. You can use anything that will give you an opening of less than 1 millimeter. To make your camera, you’ll need :

-cardboard box

-tape

-glue

-black construction paper

-white paper

-aluminum foil

-2 drinking straws

1. Cut an opening on the top of the cardboard box about 4 inches wide with the top open to the length of your desired lens.

2. Close one end of each drinking straw, then tape one closed end over one side of the cut in the box so it’s angled toward the other cut in the box. This will be your shutter release when you “shoot” pictures by putting pressure on this straw when you take pictures with your pinhole camera in place in front of it. The other open end of each.

How to make a pinhole camera

1. Cut an opening on the top of the cardboard box about 4 inches wide with the top open to the length of your desired lens.

2. Close one end of each drinking straw, then tape one closed end over one side of the cut in the box so it’s angled toward the other cut in the box. This will be your shutter release when you “shoot” pictures by putting pressure on this straw when you take pictures with your pinhole camera in place in front of it. The other open end of each straw should be taped into a hole that’s been punched into a piece of black construction paper, which will serve as your shutter for this camera. You can use aluminum foil to cover any holes that are not being used for a better picture quality.

3. Add white paper to either side of your camera and glue it down with glue or tape to help add light-protection and make sure there is no light leaking from behind your camera while taking pictures.

4. Finally, put it all together by folding up one half of the box around your aluminum foil-covered shutter and taping it shut with tape or glue to ensure light doesn’t leak through while you’re taking pictures.

What you need

-cardboard box

-tape

-glue

-black construction paper

-white paper

-aluminum foil

-2 drinking straws

How to take pictures with your camera

1. Cut the black construction paper to make a mask for your camera. The mask should be large enough to cover the entire opening of your camera.

2. Tape your mask onto one side of the box so that it covers the entire opening but is not overlapping on the other side. This will give you a dark space to take pictures through without letting light through on the other side of the camera.

3. Create an “exposure” by putting aluminum foil over your camera lens and place it in front of your box so that you can take pictures though this hole in the aluminum foil. Be sure to leave some room around this hole so you can still see what you’re taking a picture of, and light won’t leak out of the sides of your pinhole camera.

4. Close one end of each drinking straw, then tape one closed end over one side of the cut in the box so it’s angled toward the other cut in the box, making sure that it lines up with your exposure hole inside aluminum foil for your shutter release when you “shoot” pictures by putting pressure on this straw when you take pictures with your pinhole camera in place in front of it

5. Use white paper as a shutter release if using drinking straws

6. If there are any holes or gaps between where light shines through once you have taken a picture, seal these off with black construction paper or tape

7. Stack two pieces of white paper on top

Place your camera in front of something interesting

In order to take a picture with your pinhole camera, you’ll need to place it in front of something interesting. Once in place, it will create an inverted and reversed image on paper behind the pinhole.

You can use any object that gives you nice contrast and size, like a piece of fruit or a toy.

So once you have your box and your straws set up correctly, make sure you place the camera in front of something interesting to take pictures of (your child’s favorite toy is a great candidate). Then make sure to put some white paper on the other side of the box so you can see what is being captured through the pinhole when you take pictures. You can then cut out and frame your set images for display or for scrapbooking.

Take a picture

When you’re ready to take a picture, place the camera inside the box with the shutter release over the cut in the opposite end of the box. Put your paper on top of this end with an opening for light to enter. And, voila! You now have your own pinhole camera.

3. Cover one end of one drinking straw with aluminum foil and tape it in place

4. Tape the other open end of this straw to one side of your cut in the box so that it’s angled toward the other cut in the box. This will be your lens when you’re taking pictures with your pinhole camera. The other open end should be taped to this side as well. You can then tape or glue black construction paper around this straw to cover any gaps that might allow light into the lens area of your camera, which could distort your image

5. Place a small square of white paper behind where you’ll be shooting images so you can see how they’ll look on film once they’ve been developed

6. Take pictures by covering up the hole on one side of the box and uncovering it on the other side while pressing down on either side’s drinking straw shutter release

Develop the film

Developing film is one of the most difficult parts of photography. The process requires you to be very patient because it takes so long.

1. Pour some developer into a developing tank or dish and stir until it’s dissolved.

2. Pour some fixer into another developing tank or dish and stir until it’s dissolved.

3. Fill your empty coffee can with water to act as your wash basin for the photos that will need to be washed before drying, then put the lid at the bottom of the can over your film reel to hold it in place while you fill it with water (to imitate a darkroom).

4. Put on gloves and pour enough soda ash solution into the coffee can to cover your reel, then swish it around so that all of the film is coated evenly with soda ash solution (this helps remove any remaining light sensitive chemicals).

5. Empty out any residual soda ash solution from the coffee can after all of your film has been coated with it, then place your reel under running water for about 10 seconds before putting it back in the coffee can to soak for 1-2 minutes, swirling occasionally.

6. Empty out any residual water from the coffee can before pouring fresh water over each photo for about 40 seconds at a time, swirling occasionally between each rinse cycle so that both sides are rinsed equally well…

Conclusion

Making a pinhole camera is a fun way to learn about photography. All you need is an oatmeal box, a paper plate, aluminum foil, and old film. The best part is that you’ll be able to take the pictures you take with your camera!



Meet Our Sponsors

Knee Support for Running

Medical Supplies Wholesale Pharmacy Store

Lumultra: Brain Pills That Can Make You Smarter

Regeneva