Introduction: Double Sided Pinhole Camera

This is my carpenter version of the popular pinhole camera that many artists are re-creating. My end result worked fabulously, but, as I prefer function to form, is not the most artistic looking camera. In order to build this camera you will need to be very comfortable with the table saw. If you have no background in carpentry, these instructions may include some unfamiliar terms.

This camera features TWO pinholes, separated by a partition, so you can either capture two photos at the same time or take one at a time and waste less time running to your dark room. A velcroed duvetyne cover will be how you load and unload your photo paper. The whole box is assembled using only dado joints. My box was built to have a normal lens while also being mobile. This method will work with any lens length, please try out your own measurements.


1/4" Plywood

1/8" Plywood

Wood glue


Hot glue + glue gun


Duvetyne or another thick fabric

More clamps

Gaff tape

1 thumbtack

Black paint


LOTS LOTS LOTS of clamps

An aluminum can

And also


Machines used to create this product

Laser cutter

Table saw

Step 1: Laser Cutting

You will cut multiple pieces on the laser cutter, some are small so keep track of them! There are the two walls with the holes in them (1/4 ply), one long rectangular side (1/8), two equally sized pieces to create a "wall" with a gap in the middle (1/8), a top and a bottom (1/4, identical pieces), one partition that will both separate the individual camera obscurae and hold photo paper for both camera obscurae (1/8), and several small pieces that will create the shutter, the shutter frame, and the frame for the photo paper (1/8 for all). These smalls pieces are easy to lose and easy to break so keep them in a safe place!

Step 2: Table Saw

The joints of my box consist solely of dado joints. My goal was to see how light tight a dado joint is and, luckily, they are very light tight! Doing dado cuts on the table saw can be a little tricky and dangerous, so if this is your first time using a table saw, you probably should not do this. Either way, be careful.

First, set your saw blade depth to 1/8" deep. These cuts all vary from one another, whether in the width of the cut or how far in the cut is from the edge of the material, but, since all of the pieces being dadoed are 1/4", the one variable that remains constant is that your blade depth will be the same for ALL of these cuts. The width of a typical saw blade is about 1/16" of an inch, so if the material you are placing in your dado is 1/8" then you will run the material through the saw at least twice. After that you will either need to sand for some wiggle room or you can try getting just a hair off with a third pass through the saw.

Top and bottom pieces will have three different dado cuts (totaling at five dado cuts per piece). For the slot of the long walls, they will be dadoed at 1/2" in from the edge of the piece (these cuts will be 1/8" wide), but the slot for the hole walls will be dadoed at 1'4" (and will be 1/4" wide). Both of these cuts will be on the top and bottom piece, totaling at 4 cuts. Additionally, both the top and the bottom piece need a slot for the partition in the center. This dado slot will be in the center of your material and will be 1/8" wide.

As for the hole walls themselves, they will have two dado cuts, both 1'4" in from the edge of the material, for the walls that run the width of the box. Both of these dados will be 1/8" wide. These measurements are crucial as the slightest bit of difference may result in a box that cannot be assembled.

Step 3: Assembling Individual Pieces

Before you assemble the box as a whole, attach the lens to the hole walls. To create your lens, take a small piece of your aluminum can and press the very tip of your thumbtack into the piece of aluminum. Using gaff tape, tape this piece onto the inside of the wall.

Now it is time to attach the shutters onto the hole walls and construct the partition's frames. In the first image for this section, you can see the two pieces that will hold the shutter. Glue these together and clamp until dry. Once dry, you will glue and clamp them to fit around, but not covering, the hole in the hole wall. The wider frame should face the outside so that the shutter will be held in between the two pieces.

As for the frames of the partition, again the wider frame will face outside and the smaller (this time L shaped piece) will be glued to the partition itself. Once these two pieces are together, glue and clamp them to the partition. Then take the 1" piece and glue it at the top of the frame on the side where you will slide in the photo paper. This will create a slot for loading and unloading the photo paper.

After all of these are assembled, you should have two small rectangles that will slide in and out of the ledge you just created and will serve as your shutter.

Step 4: Assembling the Box

First, dry fit the box together (assemble without glue). If any of your dado cuts are a little too small, take some sand paper to smooth them out. Then assemble using glue. Before you place the lid on the box, paint the inside black. Once you are done painting and have placed the lid on, clamp it together with every single clamp you have.

Step 5: The Magic Behind the Curtain

Last step! Curtain time! Cut your duve to a reasonable size and hot glue your Velcro parallel to the openings of your slot. Now glue the velcro to your duve and glue the duve underneath the lip of the lid.

Step 6: Use Your Camera!

Voila! You have a camera! My camera fit perfectly onto my motorcycle! Take yours all over and take pictures!