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We seem to have access to boxes and we try to reuse them in some way or another. Here is a groovy camera backpack we made out of a box and other materials we already had at home. The only thing we bought was the belt for $1.19.

This is a great project for kids with an adult's help, not supervision, but help.

NOTE: There are a couple of places where a box cutter is used and those steps should ONLY be performed by an adult, NEVER by a child.

Now that that is out of the way, this is an easy project to make. The longest part is the drying time in between the coats of paints.
 
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Step 1: Gather The Things You Will Need

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So here is what you will need to make this box camera backpack. I like to use things I already have so I tend to improvise instead of going out and buying more things. In my household I have an endless supply of things that can be upcycled, recycled and reused so I created this camera backpack using what I already had on hand. The only thing that was purchased was the belt, which was purchased at the dollar store, for a $1.19. What a deal, right?

Tools:
  1. Box cutter (this is only to be used by an adult, NEVER the child if a child is making this.)
  2. Scissors
  3. Packing tape dispenser (not necessary to complete project but it makes it easier to tape)

Supplies:
  1. Box ( this one is 10.5 in x 7 in but use any size you want)
  2. Paint (any type or color is fine)
  3. Drop cloth to catch stray paint
  4. Belt (I got mine from the dollar store)
  5. Plastic bowls and lids for paint
  6. Glue
  7. Paint brush or paint sponge
  8. A 10in x 6 in piece of cardboard to cover up the holes in the back if you are using a box like the one in the diagram
  9. A clear plastic drinking cup
  10. Pipe cleaners (only if you want to add a little pizzazz to your camera backpack) ;-)
  11. Clear drawer liner or any solid plastic to use to cover the flash and the viewfinder
  12. A cardboard cylinder from either a toilet paper or paper towel roll
  13. Packing tape
  14. Velcro

Step 2: Determine Which Box You Have

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If you have a box that already has the "V" cut out, then skip to step five. If you have a traditional box, then cut the box.

Step 3: Cut the Box Along the Edges

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If you have a box with four flaps (the traditional box), cut along ONLY TWO of the long edges. If you cut along all four edges, the box will be flat and that is soooo not the look we are going for.

Step 4: Check Point - Make Sure Only Two Edges Are Cut.

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Look at the box and make sure that you have cut the box all the way to the bottom and that only TWO LONG edges have been cut.

Step 5: Close the Bottom and Reinforce the Box with Packing Tape

The camera box will only be useful if it does not fall apart so now is the time to use your packing tape!
  1. If you have the traditional box, tape together the bottom and side flaps that were NOT cut away. This creates the bottom of your backpack; the other flap is the top of the backpack.
  2. If you have a box with a "V" opening, the bottom of the box is already together; HOWEVER, you will want to reinforce it.
  3. Secure  and reinforce all sides, and edges. Pay special attention to the sides where the belt will be fed through the box. Give those areas several layers of tape.

Step 6: Measure for the Belt

  • Lay the box on its side and measure about a half of an inch down, using the belt as a marker. Then make a slit just a little taller than the belt's height.
  • Wrap one end of the belt in the slit you just made and wrap the other end around the box to estimate where the next slit should go.

Step 7: Push the Belt All the Way Through!

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Push the belt all the way through to see if everything has been measured correctly.

Step 8: Now You Can Paint

Paint - Put the drop cloth down before you begin painting.
  • Box
    • Be creative and paint the box any way you would like. You can use a sponge brush or a paint brush. Get good paint coverage so only the colors show up.
    • You may need two coats.
  • Clear plastic cup
    • Paint the interior of the clear cup as that will be your lens.
    • A clear cup may have to be painted twice if the paint is not thick enough.

Step 9: Let the Paint Dry and Clean Up

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Put your box and cup aside to dry. If you happen to have a fan or heater, this will help the process.

Also, rinse out your brushes and cover your paint containers. If you have to apply a second coat, you neither want your paint brushes nor your paint to dry up.

Tip: I only had one large brush and had to rinse my brush each time I changed paint colors BUT if you have a brush for each color and know you will be using the brush again for a second coat, just wrap the brush in plastic wrap and the brush will stay pliable until you use it again.

Step 10: Make the Flash and the Shutter

While the paint is drying, this is a perfect time to make the shutter and the flash.

Shutter
  1. Cut the round cardboard tube so that you have about an inch.
  2. Even out the top
  3. Wrap the clear drawer liner around the tube.
  4. Cut off just enough so that it overlaps just a tiny bit.
  5. Tape the clear drawer liner to the tube.
  6. You are done with your flash bulb.

Flash
  1. Cut off a one inch by one inch square of the clear drawer liner
  2. Done, this is your flash. Easy, right?

Step 11: Cut the Slits for the Belt

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Re-cut the slits for the belt. You will be cutting through paint and reinforced tape so cut from the inside of the box to preserve your wonderful paint job. :-)

Step 12: Now Glue Everything On the Box

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  1. Place the shutter, flash and lens on the box
  2. Glue them using Elmer's glue
  3. Let dry

Tip - If you are really in a hurry AND want to make the items stick faster and stronger, follow the Elmer's Glue with Crazy Glue or a similar product.

Step 13: Secure the Flap with Velcro

Since you will probably want to open the backpack many times, place Velcro in strategic places so that you can secure your backpack without damaging it when you open and close it.
Tip:
  • When placing the Velcro on your backpack, take off the backing on both sides but do not separate.
  • Place both pieces, still adhered to each other, on one side of the flap but do not separate
  • Press both Velcro pieces to the bottom part of the backpack
  • Your flap will be shut.
  • Allow the Velcro to set for a few minutes before attempting to open the flap.
  • The advantage is that you did not have to fiddle with trying to match up both pieces, they are perfectly lined up because you never took them apart. :-)

Step 14: Ta Da! You Are Done!

You are done! Now the camera backpack can be worn with pride whether it was made for you or your little one! You are now totally too cool for school!
Very cute!
Solskinner (author)  Penolopy Bulnick3 years ago
Thanks, it was a lot of fun to make too.
mikeasaurus3 years ago
By adding a film roller and light-proofing the right portions of the box this can easily be made into a functioning pinhole camera/backpack. I like the idea.
Solskinner (author)  mikeasaurus3 years ago
OOoooohh, now you have me thinking about that. I will have to look into that. Thanks!