Picture of Make your own Claude Glass or Black Mirror
So earlier today I saw this post from PetaPixel. I am a long time reader of PetaPixel and both myself and Kiteman have been featured on there (no doubt many more).

I liked the idea of the Claude Glass, having a large collection of film cameras myself, I thought it would be the ultimate hipster way to take a picture. 

This is a very simple instructable, and as you can see I got some nice results.
  • If you read to the end, there is a bonus 'Quick & Easy' method too.
Wikipedia explains a little more about Claude Glass -

Claude glass (or black mirror) is a small mirror, slightly convex in shape, with its surface tinted a dark colour. Bound up like a pocket-book or in a carrying case, black mirrors were used by artists, travellers and connoisseurs of landscape and landscape painting. Black Mirrors have the effect of abstracting the subject reflected in it from its surroundings, reducing and simplifying the colour and tonal range of scenes and scenery to give them a painterly quality. 

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Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools

Picture of Gather Materials and Tools
  1. An old overhead projector lens 
  2. Black Spray Paint
  3. Masking Tape
  4. Methylated spirits 
  5. Portion of felt (optional)
  1. Stanley Knife (boxcutter)
  2. Lint free cloth
  3. Camera equipment (I was using a DLSR, I found a 50mm prime lens worked best, so recommend any long prime lenses)
  4. Spraybooth / Scrap of cardboard

Step 2: Clean and Mask

Picture of Clean and Mask
Next you want to mask off the front of the lens. This is the side that you will look into aka the convex side (the side that bulges towards you).

I also wrapped around the very edge of the lens also.

The reason we do this is that the spray paint will sneak underneath when painting (There was lots of specks on my masking tape after painting)

I then used a lint free cloth and a little Methylated spirits to clean the side of the lens we will be applying paint to. Try not to touch this side before you paint it.
OC722 years ago
If you can find an old Projection TV they have some great convex lenses on them too. Three of them in fact, one from each gun. I have one somewhere and will give this a try.
Also the Fresnel lens on the front of the screen is great for making a solar cooker (or can be used for burning really, really, really, ridiculously large ants).
This is really cool. I have a rectangular lens with a nice convex side. I think I will try it with that.
gmjhowe (author)  ArtisanEclectic2 years ago
Do post a picture if you do make one! I think a rectangular lens will make for a better Claude Glass. Some of the originals were rectangular.
Well, I guess I spoke too soon. I got home and looked for that lens and found it. Except it's not the lens I thought it was. That means the Rectangular lens is somewhere else and I will have to find it. I went thru all my BBCC (Big Boxes of Camera Cr@p) and didn't turn it up. Oh well when I run across it, Pictures will follow. In the meantime I am interested in seeing what kind of a case you come up with. I did find these tho. Covers I made for two Large Format Lenses I purchased off of Ebay.

They are made from Black felt, Thin cardboard, and Wet leather stretched over and tied until dry. I formed them directly on the lenses themselves wrapped it plastic. It's a risky move and not for the faint of heart but, Aside from a small bit of water damage on one of the lens rims, they came out very well. They are just a snug pressure fit.
LF Lens covers.jpg
gmjhowe (author)  ArtisanEclectic2 years ago
Very interesting. You can see I have an interest in film photography as well, not yet gotten into large format.

I am sure I will make one some day. How much did you pay for your lenses?
One of them came with a LF Camera I bought (a Calumet Cambo) I think I paid around 300 for it. And probably about 150 for the other one. I have only been able to shoot a couple of sheets with it so far but it really gets people's attention when you take it out. There was a lab here that still developed sheet film when I got the camera but they have since closed down.
mrblack9972 years ago
Hey, great Instructable, and a very nice mirror finish - thankyou for sharing :) I have one question - what type of paint would you recommend for the best mirror effect? Would you use enamel, acrylic or some lacquer paint?
gmjhowe (author)  mrblack9972 years ago
I used some 'Direct to Metal' spray paint. Which is what I use for most things. I think pretty much any paint would work.

Because you are applying it to the back of the lens, the reflective side is created no matter what.
cda_ro2 years ago
Hello, nice idea, but what about using a car mirror for that ?
Thrasym cda_ro2 years ago
You'd have to remove the silver on the back of any mirror, which, I don't think is easy. Unless there's a trick or a chemical that peels it off without scratching the glass. But after you did that, it should work fine, having that "larger than they appear" effect might be neat.
modern mirrors can be scraped clean of the silver with a window razor scraper
from a project im working on now
gret2 years ago
Can I suggest you try putting the lens on top of some sort of pipe (eg an empty toilet roll tube) when spraying - that way you won't get back-splatter off the hard surface and you wont need to mask the lens...
gmjhowe (author)  gret2 years ago
I am afraid that would not work. Its not paint bouncing up off the surface that causes this issue. Its more due to the 'cloud-like' nature of the spray, it naturally spreads further than you might want and settle on the underside.

It would only work if the tube was wide enough to cover up the entire bottom.
Beat me to it here, saw the giz post and planned to make one, box of lenses and such are in the old house though...
gmjhowe (author)  killerjackalope2 years ago
Heh, Honestly, I figured I was not the only one to see the post. Then it was a race for me to get it put up first.

Thankfully this is where working at home, for myself is helpful!

Hence I cranked this out in less than an hour, including a 30 minute walk to take some pictures.
Ah same thought until I realised that I hadn't anything to make it with to hand...

Swinging between working at home, building in the studio, shooting events and stupid pointless meetings is killing my project time...

Nice on the speed, I built my last thing and had to wait a whole day to use it because work got in the way...
Kiteman2 years ago
Nice - have you thought of mounting it directly to your camera? Possibly some sort of wire frame to clip it to the lens?
gmjhowe (author)  Kiteman2 years ago
Perhaps, but when using the 50mm prime the camera is about half a metre away from the lens!

I think I will make it a nice leather case. Rub some steampunk on it.
Kiteman gmjhowe2 years ago
(To save rubbing the paint off...)