How to Make a Pinhole Camera

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Introduction: How to Make a Pinhole Camera

Make your own camera out of materials around the house and take black and white photos with it.

Step 1: Gather Materials

You will need a box, photo paper, thin piece of metal like a can or brass shim, tape, xacto 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.

Step 3: Make Camera Box

You can use a shoe box, oat meal box or whatever. The box 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.

Step 4: Put in Pinhole and Make Shutter

Tape the pinhole behind the square opening. I use electrical tape. Center the pinhole in the square. Then make the shutter which is just a flap that covers the pinhole from the outside. It can be made from some more tape.

Step 5: Load the Photo Paper

This must be done in complete darkness. You can make a darkroom in a bathroom or closet and use it for developing and changing paper. 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.

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. Go back to the dark room and take paper out to develop.

Step 7: Developing

You will need developer, fixer, water, tongs, towels, and a safe light in you dark room. It must be pitch black when safe light is off. I found out you can use orange LED halloween lights as a safe light. It is cheaper and you get more light than a small red darkroom bulb. The paper from the box will be a negative to make the positive put another piece of photo paper under the developed negative face to face. The negative must be on top. Use a piece of glass to press them together and turn the lights on for a few seconds. Make sure your extra photo paper is safe and covered or it will all develop black. Now develop the positive. It goes in the developer then water then fixer then water then air dry.

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92 Comments

what kind of photo paper should I use?
I assume not just glossy photo printing paper from Tesco that you use to print on from a standard printer?

please help

I made it!!!!!! Woohoo!!!!!!!!!

As we speak, I am making mine right now!!!!!!!!

Does any photo paper work? How do I know that it hasn't previously been exposed to light?

Id like to do this experiment with some students. They would enjoy this.

So we made a pinhole camera, we were having trouble developing it. I'm not sure if its our darkroom or what. But the edges around the paper were black and the middle white , but the next day the middle was purple and cloudy

No, you need to use traditional black and white photographic printing paper.

i don't understand anything, pls send help.. immediately! ASAP! IM CLUELESS!

I use this paper from B&H photo for pinhole photography. It comes in glossy or pearl. Hope this helps!

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/752521-REG/Ilford_1168310PROMO_Multigrade_IV_Deluxe_MGD_44M.html/mode/edu

Hi! I'm super new to the world of older techniques like this. I've been trying but an having a hard time finding photo paper online. It's all shiny printer paper... Can someone give me a link to the right place? Thanks:)

1 reply

Also, What I think is the right stuff is a all MEGA expensive... Anything cheap but really functional?

This is a great article, but could someone please explain the use of the shutter in more depth? Thanks!

1 reply

You put a piece of tape over the pinhole, then you lift the tape to expose the image.
Exposure time is determined by how long you wait to put the tape back over the hole.