Introduction: Simple Macro Lens for IPad/iPhone/iPod

Picture of Simple Macro Lens for IPad/iPhone/iPod

this is a really simple lens you can put together to get nice macro shots for any mobile or tablet camera. i have seen this a few times before but i have seen ways that could damage the device or just take to much time.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

the materials you will need are:

Laser pointer
clothes line peg (plastic)

lens cloth

engraver/drill with small drill bit (size of lens)
any circular cutting tool

For this I used an old engraver I had in my room

Step 2: Getting the Lens

Picture of Getting the Lens

all we need from the laser pointer is the lens. so pull it apart and carefully pry out the lens. It should only be something like 5-8 mm wide. Before we move onto the next step try putting the lens over the camera and holding something just above the lens until the picture is focused, this is hard because even the slightest movement can move it. I noticed as i held it above the lens it would move every 3 quarters of a second or so, I realized this was just my heart beat which slightly moved my fingers.

Something else I noticed was that because this lens was from a laser pointer the focus point was really small. This is because the lens was made to focus the red light into a tiny beam and not for photography.

Step 3: Creating

Picture of Creating

Basically all we are making here is something to hold the lens, I have seen people use gaffer tape to hold the lens down but I thought that would leave sticky residue on the back and what if i wanted to use it on the front? I have also seen people create a whole device which holds the lens in place, and can be lowered or lifted for perfect focus. I really liked this idea however I didn't want to go through all this trouble of building a whole mounted device so i came up with this idea.

first of all pull apart the peg so that there are to pieces. Then use your drill/engraver or circular cutting tool to cut a hole in the end of the peg where it clamps down at (the peg should have a flat surface there for where it clamps, if there is no flat surface it will be more difficult but doable). After the hole has been cut out push the lens (either side doesn't matter) into the hole so it is flush with the base of the peg. after the lens has been securely slotted in shave off the top of the peg a little bit so that there is more room to get really close to the lens.

Step 4: Finished!

Picture of Finished!

Sweet, the lens clamp/holder is done you can now clamp it over the device with the lens over the camera. go and take some awesome macro shots/videos. If you want wrap the cloth around the peg and inside it so the lens doesn't get damaged or scratched. Then to hold it together tie string around it that can loosen and tighten.

In the comments ask any questions, if you make one of your own post a picture of it and I will send you a patch :)

Also please don't forget to vote for me in the portable work station contest and the laser contest if you think I should win :) THANKYOU


1024 Web Solutions (author)2014-07-21

MicroCenter as you line up to check out, under $3

Master97865 (author)2014-03-19

I love this idea but if I were you I'd put some self adhesive foam around the lens on the clip where it comes in contact with the device, that way it won't scratch the device and it will hold in place better too.

sandman77 (author)2014-02-23

does it work if I take lens from old CD/DVD player, cos those is easyer to find than laser pointers

flipbook (author)sandman772014-02-25

Yes CD/DVD lenses work too. I did that for my iPhone a few years ago.

altomic (author)2014-02-24

nice instructable.

you can also use the viewing plastic from a disposable camera to make a basic fish eye.

slicearoller (author)altomic2014-02-24

Oh cool, that's good to know

slicearoller (author)2014-02-24

I thought you can find these lens relatively cheap online these days.

Exocetid (author)2014-02-23

I love clever and this is clever. I was a bit disappointed to discover the source of the lens. I want cheap and easy. Do Dollar Stores carry laser pointers yet?

Still a good Instructable, kudos!

sockit (author)Exocetid2014-02-24

I have been helping my wife make one of these (the one with the adjustable shelf), and we found laser pointers at a store called Dollar Tree, and yes it was a dollar. So I suspect other "Dollar Stores" would carry them as well.

Phixius (author)Exocetid2014-02-24

I've bought them online for a dollar before. Two or three in places like Walmart, Target, Shopko, etc.

baba87 (author)Exocetid2014-02-23

They might but you can find them cheap in any stores. Just look in the pet toy area because they usually jack the price up. Look in the check out aisle, you can find them there for a few bucks at most stores like walmart or target..

RingoWild (author)2014-02-24

Great one! Thanks!

njc121983 (author)2014-02-22

I was curious, do you still have the engraver? I am in need of one. I can fix it up, but I just don't have the $$ to buy a new one. Email me at if we could work something out.

srwoodruff (author)njc1219832014-02-23

What @dulciquilt said. Got one a few weeks ago from Harbor Freight for $6. Otherwise, they're $12 on eBay.

dulciquilt (author)njc1219832014-02-23

if you have a Harbor Freight in your area, they have them for next to nothing.

rlmarket (author)2014-02-23

Nice method for being able to take lens on and off. An alternative source for a good lens about the right size is a door peephole, a basic one which sells at Home Depot for about $6. This Instructable How to take Macro Pictures with Blackberry Camera 9860 by fariedh shows how to get the lens out.

Yoshinok (author)2014-02-23

Nice work.

juan232 (author)2014-02-23

Outstanding simple idea. I love it.

richardgreco (author)2014-02-23

What does this lense do? Is it for the iPads camera? I was hoping you could explain. Thanks!

JohnnyMorales (author)2014-02-23

Excellent idea. This is the sort of Stuff I used to come to this site for all the time in the past.

dunkintheshed (author)2014-02-23

Brilliantly simple

mcgary911 (author)2014-02-23

Cool idea. I have a few cheapo laser pointers in the junk drawer with dead batteries. This looks like a good project for one of them.

If you don't have an engraver, you can use a dremel with a very small bit. For going through plastic a hot nail will even do the trick. It sounds like the trick is ensuring the lens is a snug fit. Using glue would be a minus because it would be very easy to get some on the lens, and then you're out of luck.

jbates1970 (author)2014-02-23

Awesome! Nice instructable...easy to do, handy little accessory and cool way to repurpose something without shelling out $$$$. It's 4 am and I can't sleep so this is what I am going to do right now. Good Job!

Mutazek (author)2014-02-22

Awesome!! I must try it!

hunter999 (author)2014-02-22

Awesome project! Good job! :-)

samjohn (author)2014-02-22

Cool idea!

About This Instructable




Bio: Still in school but I like making things with my hands whenever I have some spare time and an idea I will just sit down ... More »
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