How To Make A Shoe Box Camera: The Easy DIY Guide

Most of us have a shoebox somewhere in our closet. It may just have some old mementos that we never got around to throwing away. But what if you could turn that shoebox into something useful? You can turn it into a camera with these simple steps. Ditch the digital, and go back to the basics with this DIY project!

DIYs are all the rage these days, and I’m here to help with an easy one: how to make a shoe box camera. All you need is a shoebox and some basic items from your kitchen (such as aluminum foil, scissors, and glue). And this handy guide will walk you through it step by step.


What you need

For this project, you’ll need a shoebox, scissors, aluminum foil, tape, toothpicks, and glue.

If you want to go back to the basics, you need a shoebox! You can find these at any store. Just make sure that the shoe box is sturdy enough for your project.

And for this DIY endeavor, you’ll also need aluminum foil. This will be used to create your camera’s lens cap. But don’t worry if you don’t have any on hand. You can easily make one out of regular household items like tinfoil or cardboard paper towel tubes.

Next up are scissors and tape! These are pretty standard items that most people always have around the house. Finally, toothpicks are needed for this DIY project because they’re great for poking holes in the shoebox lid to put your camera’s lens through. And lastly there’s glue! I recommend “all-purpose craft glue.” Note: You can also use white glue or hot glue instead of all-purpose craft glue if you prefer!

Cut and glue the shoebox

First, cut the shoebox in half. Cut a section from one side and then glue it closed. This will create a space for your lens and keep the light out.

After you’ve created the space for your lens, cut an opening just below it to allow light into your camera. You can also cut two small openings on either side of the box for shutter buttons. Then use aluminum foil to cover them up so they don’t interfere with the photo.

Finally, decoupage your favorite photos onto the outside of the box and you’re done!

Add a lens

You can use a hole punch to make a hole in the back of your shoebox. It should be about the size of a quarter. Now you need to cut out a rectangle from some aluminum foil that is as wide as the shoebox and as tall as you want your camera to be. You can wrap this foil around the inside of the box to form a lens.

If you’re using an old shoebox, you can place it inside another shoebox so that both sides are open. This will help keep your camera together and long-lasting.

Add a screen

It’s time to start building your camera! To make the screen, cut a piece of foil bigger than the size of the shoebox. Fold it in half and place it on top of the shoebox horizontally. Glue it down all around the edges.

Next, find something that can be used as a mirror. You can use any reflective surface that’s bigger than your shoebox. Any shiny surface will work, including aluminum foil or a CD. Place the mirror next to the folded piece of aluminum foil with its shiny side facing up.

Now you’ll need some material to cover up the inside of your camera so no light can get in or out when you take pictures. Use some cardboard to cover up any holes in the sides of the shoe box where light could leak out, and cover up any other visible holes in your screen with black paper or felt pens.

Lastly, take your camera outside with your phone or tablet and snap some pictures! You just created your very own shoebox camera!

Add the shutter

The shutter is the most important part of your shoe box camera. You want something to block out light when you take a picture, and also allow light to enter when you depress the shutter button.

In this case, aluminum foil will do the trick. Cut a piece of aluminum foil so that it fits in the top of your shoebox. Make sure it’s big enough to cover the whole opening of your shoebox, but not so big that it won’t stay in place. Then use glue or tape to secure it in place at the top of your shoebox.

Set up your camera

– Cut a window in the shoebox and make sure you get a clear view of where you want to point your camera

– Cover the outside of the shoebox with aluminum foil, paying attention to any seams. You can use glue or tape to secure it if needed

– Poke a hole in the bottom of the shoebox and thread your string through it. Your string should be at least 2 feet long. Tie one end securely to an object on one side of your window, and leave the other end loose so you can adjust it when you’re ready for shooting


With the right materials and a little bit of know-how, you can make your own shoebox camera at home. The DIY shoebox camera is not only easy to make, but it’s also inexpensive. Don’t miss out on this project.