Introduction: Custom Fabric Camera Reskin

This is a set of instructions on how to make a custom camera skin from fabric. Lots of old cameras will have replacement skins available online for exampe this site sells lots of different coloured leather and vinyl skins. However if you want a something specific to cover your camera in this may be hard to come by. Here i have shown how i re-skinned my Olympus trip 35 with paisley fabric.

Step 1: ​What You Need:

  • Fabric of your choice (Mine was polyester but i suspect other fabrics will also work with this technique)
  • Super glue medium viscosity (I used Soudal which also has and activator but i didn't find this useful)
  • A couple of sheets of sticky back vinyl (avalible here I used black but white is probably a better idea as it will show through the fabric less)
  • A sharp set of scissors or fabric shears
  • .A camera to re-skin.
  • Some tinfoil
  • Something flat like a baking tray
  • Lighter fluid
  • Q tips

Step 2: Gluing the Fabric to the Vinyl

The first step is to glue the fabric to the vinyl. In order to get the fabric to be evenly glued the glue must be evenly coated on the vinyl and the fabric must be pressed down evenly onto the vinyl. Wrap the baking tray in tinfoil (this will stop any glue sticking to the tray and causing the fabric to stick poorly). Once the tray is wrapped in foil wrap your chosen material around the tray so the side that will be glued to the vinyl (the non patterned side) is facing outwards. Then coat the smooth side of the vinyl with super glue. I recommend putting it down in lines then spreading it with a bit of tinfoil until there is a even coat of glue over the vinyl. Try to avoid using too much glue as this will cause it to come through the material and leave stains. Now place the fabric wrapped tray onto the vinyl and press down firmly for a minute. The fabric should now be glued to the vinyl so the tray can be removed leaving the fabric and vinyl stuck together. Leave the fabric and vinyl for a ten minutes for any excess glue to dry.

Inspect the fabric glued on the vinyl to check if there are any areas that are not stuck down. Ideally there won't be any of these but if there are only a few small ones then they can be avoided in a later stage.

Step 3: Removing the Skin From the Camera

Unfortunately I have no photos of this stage. With most old cameras this is a simple task as the old skin can be just peeled off. for the next step it is highly preferable for you to have the old skin in tact once removed from the camera . This was the case with my camera. However excess glue (black gunky stuff) from the old skin should be cleaned off from the body of the camera, the best way to do this is with lighter fluid and Q tips. some more detailed instructions of how to remove camera leather/skins can be found on the internet.

Step 4: Making the New Skin

Using the old skin from the camera as a template draw on the peel away side of the vinyl to get the shapes of what will be your new skin. the sticky side of the old skin should be facing upwards when you draw around it in order to get the shapes correct. When drawing these templates avoid drawing over any part of the vinyl that did not glue well to the material.

Now once all the templates have been drawn onto the vinyl cut them out carefully using scissors or shears. With my camera there is a small hole that has to be cut in the skin (as seen in the picture) for this i just cut very carefully and checked the side of the hole with where it would fit on the camera to get the size quite right, I suspect using a leather punch would have done a quicker and neater job.

Once all the pieces of skin are cut out I suggest going over the edges of the fabric with a marker of the same colour as the fabric as this helps remove any signs of white threads that might come loose when you cut the fabric out.

Step 5: Putting the Skin on the Camer

Check all of your cut out pieces of vinyl fit on the camera as they should (if there are any inconsistencies then trimming the vinyl will be necessary). Then peel off the back of the sticky vinyl and carefully place the skin onto the camera. As the glue will cause the vinyl and fabric to be stiffer that usual if the skin has to go around corner then place a small amount of the superglue evenly on the camera at and around the corners and press the skin down hard and as evenly as possible for a couple of minutes in order to make the skin sticks down well. Repeat this process with all the other parts of skin and you camera is completely re-skinned with a new fabric skin.

Glue Challenge 2016

Participated in the
Glue Challenge 2016