Introduction: Pocket Tripod

Picture of Pocket Tripod

A useful tripod that's easy to make and fits in your pocket. It uses stiff wire wrapped in electrical tape as legs, and taped to a bolt. I have like 4 now so i'll give one to my friend that wanted one.

Step 1: Get Supplies

Picture of Get Supplies

you need 4 things:

3 Stiff pieces of wire, 10+ inches long (old coat hangers, copper house wiring)

a 1/4" bolt that fits camera mounts, they're pretty common

electrical tape


Step 2: Wrap Legs

Picture of Wrap Legs

start wrapping around one end of the wire with electrical tape about 10 times around, then move up to the other end, leaving 2" uncovered.

wrap the others the same way.

Step 3: Bend "U"s in Legs

Picture of Bend "U"s in Legs

use the pliers to bend "U"s on the un-covered ends of the legs.

Step 4: Wrap Tape Around Bolt

Picture of Wrap Tape Around Bolt


Step 5: Add a Leg

Picture of Add a Leg

Place the "U" of one leg against the bolt as shown. Wrap the tape around 2 or 3 times tightly.

Step 6: Add More Legs

Picture of Add More Legs

add the other two legs (or more) in the same way. Now wrap 10-20 times around everything super tightly.

Step 7: Done :D

Picture of Done :D

wasnt that easy? now just screw your tripod on, DONT OVERSCREW, you can screw on a nut or wingnut to snug up your camera, or 2 nuts screwed together to stop your camera from going down too far.

you can use it as a normal tripod, a great macro tripod for getting low and it will wrap around anything; signs, branches, chairs (camping chairs...)

give some to your photographer friends too (my friend wanted one)


chinmaya1011 (author)2013-04-01

I wonder how thick the stiff wire is... I don't think the wire I have will be able to take the weight of my camera

Sean Et Cetera (author)2007-05-01

What about using duct tape instead of electrical tape? Wouldn't that hold up better or at least improve the grip of the legs when they are wrapping aroudn something?

theRIAA (author)Sean Et Cetera2007-12-12


spork969 (author)theRIAA2008-03-10

it would not improve the grip, but it might be more durable

theRIAA (author)spork9692008-03-10

only on the legs, but you have to use electrical tape to hold the legs together. You will never get the duct tape tight enough.

shakna (author)theRIAA2010-08-26

I've actually made a tripod using only duct tape, no etape, and it's worked fine for me for a while... You just need to be patient while applying the duct tape so you get it straight, it can be plenty tight enough.

xhephaestusx (author)shakna2011-02-22

the point is etape stretches, allowing for a very tight grip, whereas ductape can't stretch well b/c of its internal fabric - what duct-tape DOES have is a stronger adhesive

@theRIAA: very nice, i've been looking at those "gorillapods" and my girlfriend actually has one - this is that and for cheap! i'm getting up as soon as i press post to make one! i can hardly believe i never thought of this, i'm personally a strong proponent of stiff wire and tape

vikarious (author)2007-02-19

I've made mine like this :

timshapiro (author)vikarious2010-11-15

Uh... hey, Vikarious... why the heck don't you post your "how to" project in making your redesign of the tripod? I think yours looks amazing.

confuscated (author)vikarious2010-09-24

I'm curious to know: what type of wire did you use for the legs? Those don't look like wire coat hangers to me and appear to be covered with a coating?

scoatw (author)2010-03-28

I wonder if one could solder the coat hanger to the bolt ?

theRIAA (author)scoatw2010-03-30

With a propane torch possibly, but it might not hold.

stephenniall (author)2010-01-04

I use this method quite alot I was looking at gorilla pods But the slr one is about 20£ in my county so i needed to make my own and came across something like this

arikyeo (author)2009-05-22

For those of you who live in Singapore, I got it from my usual hardware store(in Singapore, that is). It's called Chong Brother Hardware Supply. There's one in CCK and 1 in Teck Whye. The CCK one (CCK is Choa Chu Kang, Google it) cos' it has more things in it... but... it's more dusty...

_soapy_ (author)2006-12-06

What size & thread is the bolt? They aren't common outside the US as far as I know, because it is an old imperial size and pitch. Neat idea, regardless.

arikyeo (author)_soapy_2009-05-22

where do u live?

Myself (author)_soapy_2006-12-06

1/4"-20, which means quarter inch, twenty threads per inch. The most common thread in the US, if not the rest of the world. It's on cameras no matter where you go, so nyah nyah! ;)

_soapy_ (author)Myself2006-12-11

Thanks. I'll be able to either track one down, or get one made. I have no objection to special cases, as long as they are consistent and available.

theRIAA (author)_soapy_2006-12-11

get one made? lol, im sure you can buy a pack online for like $10 total

spork969 (author)theRIAA2008-08-24

The 1/4"-20 is obsolete nowadays and only used for tripods. (To the most of my knowledge.) I would love to be corrected however.
My source: "The de facto standard threading for the screw that attaches the camera to the tripod is Whitworth 1/4"-20 for small cameras or Whitworth 3/8"-16 for larger cameras. (This otherwise obsolete thread system is similar to the Unified Thread Standard still used in the USA, but with a different thread angle.)" -

theRIAA (author)spork9692008-08-24

i see what you mean, but it the bolt worked fine for me. "different thread angle" meaning heftier or skinnier threads, but the same 20 TPI, so not much difference, i think... 1/4"-20 are still standard bolts.

spork969 (author)theRIAA2008-08-25

Well I tried using a "standard" bolt, and it won't go in. However, when using a real tripod, it works fine. So I'm thinking the "different thread angle" means a different number of threads per inch. I'll take a picture in a few next to a ruler and find out.

spork969 (author)spork9692008-08-25

Ok. I feel stupid. Turns out it does fit perfectly and I'm just an idiot. Great instructable and idea.

theRIAA (author)spork9692008-08-25

np :P

dafastlife (author)2008-06-06

my first use of the website thanx works great!

Lance Mt. (author)dafastlife2009-04-10

Bit late but welcome

Lance Mt. (author)Lance Mt.2009-04-30

Sorry i ment i'm a bit late My bad.. Just read

Lance Mt. (author)2009-04-10

I love it, seriously. Cheap, easy and looks heap durable

scoatw (author)2009-01-14

Another vote for a Great idea. I was thinking of purchasing a gorilla pod until I saw this. I just made one. Total cost $4. I stopped off at the Dry Cleaners and picked up some wire hangers. I added a wingnut with a 1/4" fender washer to snug up against the camera. I also added some little rubber thingys that I took off of a bungee cord I had and made little feet for it. Thanks for the idea.

shilohjim (author)2008-04-24

I was thinking about making something like this and you beat me to it. Cheap and simple,I like it.

unjust (author)2007-05-02

great idea. i'd make the following changes: -use romex type solid core insulated wires. (free scrap!) -bend the non-bolt end into a tight loop. -cover with heat shrink, with the free end tucked back in before shrinking for a clean end look (depends on how good you are with bending the loop pretty. -use 2 heavy duty zip ties and cover in a few wraps of self adherent silicione tape --no adhesive to squish out, no stretch, not going to come apart in a hot car -use a wing head bolt. -maybe mount the wires to a bushing around the bolt. -2 thin nuts or 1 nut with locktite to hold the bushing on and prevent over penetration into camera guts. think i'm gonna have to make me one of these.

ezrabones (author)unjust2008-04-04

What are romex type solid core insulated wires, and where can I get them?

unjust (author)ezrabones2008-04-04

typical new construction household electrical wire. small bits you can probably scrounge from housing construction dumpsters.

unjust (author)unjust2007-05-02

i should add that e tape is great stuff -for it's designed purpose- which is insulating wires, however it is not heat stable over ~140F and does not do well under shear or abrasive forces. while more $$ self adhering silicone tape is comperable for this purpose, and won't get glue on everything. some zip/wire ties do come with a strength rating, while e tape does not, and while laminated tape is pretty damn strong, it's not going to be as stable.

sam_rocks321 (author)2007-11-05

This is a very nice tripod it holds my Cannon dslr and it almost holds my xlh1. very pprotable and easy good instructable

Bicyclette (author)2007-07-07

Do you think this would hold an SLR?

theRIAA (author)Bicyclette2007-07-07

if you used copper house wiring, than yes, it would hold an SLR, if you use something else and it wobbles, then just add more legs (4-6). post how it turns out. i'm curious

Whatnot (author)2007-06-16

That bolt might be common in the US but in areas where they use ISO metric bolts (ie much of the EU), you have a hard time finding these lying around. In fact the quickest way of finding one is.. a cheap tripod :)

oldbogus (author)2007-03-28

I think you mean "nuts" in this sentence: you can screw on a bolt to snug up your camera, or 2 bolts screwed together as a stop. I gotta make one (or two) of these!

evy-wevy (author)2007-03-11

awww man? i just bought a gorillapod!

buchd (author)2007-03-09

Wow, this is a great idea! I've been looking at a gorillapod, but this actually looks like it's going to be a much better "pocket" version, which is what I'm looking for. Thanks!

McBLG97 (author)2007-01-09

If you're worried about the wires holding, you might try drilling holes through a large washer, threading the coat hanger through them and then pinching that inbetween another washer, a lock washer and bolt. I made mine that way as a four legged beast.

mdhaworth (author)2006-12-31

We used insulated solid copper wire which worked great. I made it for my dad who is really into photography and ultra light weight backpacking and he LOVED it. We spent about $100 on other gifts and this $1 item he loved far more than any of them. Thanks for sharing this awesome idea!

lemonie (author)2006-12-26

Picture (above) does not show this being used as a tripod, but the wrap-around ability looks useful. I also agree with the wing-nut idea if you can fit it in there.

Lemon (author)2006-12-19

Guys, there is an easier and (much) stronger way to secure the wire to the bolts. It's called welding _.

Love these little 5 minute instructables, I've made 10 already. And yes, wrapping the wires in heatshrink tubing gives a nice professional finish, but of course electrical tape works just fine.

joeny1980 (author)Lemon2006-12-19

Great write-up, and good idea. This is just like the gorillapod... which I want one of. I would like something like this to look as good as possible though. Even better than eletrical tape OR heatshrink tubes.... use "Plastidip" available at most hardware stores. Its the stuff you use to coat the grips of tools (i.e. handles of your pliers). I would dip the whole thing right up to the threads (might be a challenge finding something deep enought to dip it in). And how about some little feet. Maybe poke the wire thru some small rubber balls from a gumball machine. When its completely dipped it will have a finished look, so you could use anything.

JimF (author)2006-12-17

Just what I needed for the holidays. I also found wrapping short U's around the bottom to make feet to be useful, as well as a nut on the bolt to secure the camera without have to worry I would strip the housing. It also prevents the camera from spinning when I push the camera button.

Marcos (author)2006-12-07

Nice quick and dirty, " I need one now and this is what I've got" project. I like those. How about a De-Luxe version? - Use insulated wire, so you don't have to wrap with electrical tape, which gets gooey over time. I like the copper house electrical idea, easy to scavenge enough for this project. - How about making a loop in the end of each wire, or even using 1 long piece with a loop bent in the center, + 1 short piece for the 3rd leg? - a nut and a washer or two to hold the legs onto the bolt. No way those puppies are coming off now! Saves on non-renewable electrical tape too. - for (picnic?) table-top version, some sort of foot on the end of the wire. A little bead, or even a bent loop on each end.

theRIAA (author)Marcos2006-12-07

"- a nut and a washer or two to hold the legs onto the bolt. No way those puppies are coming off now! Saves on non-renewable electrical tape too." ive bent about 20 thickass washers trying that, it just wont work

jesusali (author)theRIAA2006-12-10

If you could drill three holes (120° apart) through a washer and then run the wires through the holes and bend them back around the washer before bolting the washer down. or if you are worried about strength on the screw mount, what about using two short zip ties (at least an inch apart) to initially stick the wires to the bolt and then bend the wires back down over the zip ties before taping up the whole thing.

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