This tutorial will show you how to make a high quality, durable camera filter ‘safe’ for larger camera filters – up to 85mm outside diameter. I continually look for commercial products that save weight & space in my camera bag, but sometimes I have to improvise. One of the things that I particularly wanted was a product that offered better protection for the more expensive filters. Most of the commercial filter ‘pouches’ available take up too much space, don’t do a very good job of keeping out dust, and offer limited protection. Using these containers I was able to reduce the weight & space requirements and not worry about expensive filters getting damaged.
This project takes about 24 hours to complete (waiting for primer & paint to dry) and is easy to do.
Step 1: Tools & Materials
Tools needed: Utility knife
(1) Container of mink oil (2 5/8 oz size) or saddle soap (3 1/8 oz size)
(1) 9” x 12” sticky back white foam sheet
Spray paint (your choice of primer & color)
Step 2: Choosing the Right Container
There were multiple containers that could be used for this project – shoe polish, saddle soap or mink oil. They all have the same dimensions and will reduce the amount of space needed for your filters - two filters per container. The first photo compares the size of the containers with the plastic filter cases that the filters came in. The height of the cans match the two filter cases in the middle (25mm / 1”) and the diameter of the containers internally is approximately 88mm (3 3/8”)
Removing the contents of a mink oil container or saddle soap container is easier and less messy than the shoe polish container. Between the saddle soap and the mink oil, I recommend the mink oil because the mink oil container does not have a puncture ‘vent’ hole near the center of the lid (see photo). While each will be suitable, I just preferred the mink oil container because the vent hole patch doesn’t show after painting. In addition, on the inside of the lid the vent hole has a very sharp metal point that must be flattened before inserting the foam protection padding. Since the outside surface of the container is so smooth, be sure to use primer before applying a regular coat of paint.
Step 3: Removing the Contents
Removing the contents is relatively simple. Using a long blade utility knife, run the blade around the outside of the material and then cut the paste/wax material into four quadrants. Use the blade of the utility knife to remove each section of wax and you should have very little material left to clean up. Use a paper towel and a cleaning solution (like glass cleaner) to clean out any remaining residue in the container.
Step 4: Cut Three Discs From the Sticky Back Foam Sheet
Using an X-acto knife, cut two 3½” (diameter) discs from the sticky back foam sheet. Remove the paper off the adhesive and attach one of the 3½” discs on the bottom of the container and the other 3½” disc on the top of the container. Cut another disc, but make the diameter 3 3/8” – leave the paper on the disc. This final disc is used as a spacer disc between filters.
Step 5: Attach Labels
I created filter labels for the outside and inside of the container. All that’s left is to insert the filters and pack away until needed. In addition to the filters, I also store a 58mm to 72mm step up adapter ring in one of the containers to use the filters on a 58mm lens.