Make Your Own Pinhole Camera

Materials Needed:

-one cylindrical container with a tight fitting plastic lid

-one small aluminum pop can (for pinhole and lens cap)

-black paint (matte; not glossy)

-black duct tape

-pin (insect “tack” pin)

-weather stripping

-fine sandpaper (180 – 220)

-cutting tool for cans

-elastic band to wrap tightly around the can to keep the lens cap in place.


1 ) Cut a hole into the side of the cylindrical can about 1.5 cm in diameter.

2 ) Paint the inside of the container completely black. Be thorough.

3 ) Cover the plastic lid with black duct tape. Be thorough and make sure the lid still fits tightly onto the container once it is covered with the tape.

4 ) Cut strips of the adhesive weather stripping to fit inside the container to hold the photo paper in place. Paste onto the can.

5 ) Cut a 1.5” by 1.5” square of aluminum from the pop can. Make a very small hole in the center with the pin. Push only the pin head through until you can feel the end. Try not to push the entire pin head through.

6 ) Using a magnifying glass, check to see if the hole is even. Sand the edges around the pinhole until the hole is smooth and even on both sides. Eliminate any burrs on the edges.

7 ) Tape the small aluminum pinhole square to the can, centering it in the middle of the bigger hole in that can. Use black tape and make sure there is a good seal around the edges.

8 ) Cut a 2” by 2” square piece from the small pop can and round off the edges with sand paper so it is not so sharp. This is your lens cover. Apply weather stripping around the entire edge of this 2” by 2” piece on one side to make a good seal between it and the can when you cover the pinhole. Hold it in place with a tight elastic band around the can.

9 ) Your pinhole camera is ready to be used!

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