Introduction: Lens Tissue Dispenser, Easy to Use, Easy to Make

We've all been there: You're lining up that perfect shot, just about to get that picture you will brag about for ages when SLOP! Right in the middle of your lens is a water drop or other debris. By the time you dig through your camera bag, get a lens tissue and get your lens clean, the photo opportunity is long past. Another coulda/shoulda/woulda shot!

But no more!

After having far too many shots missed due to rain, mist and dust, I had to do something.

And so, here it is: The easy to use, Easy to access, and easy to make, Lens tissue dispenser

Step 1: Materials

What do you need? Only very basic materials:


Thread, sturdy but nothing special


Lens tissues

Material: I used an old boot, which suited my purposes very well, but any sturdy water proof material that will tolerate sewing is just fine.

Fastener: I used a buckle off of my boot, but any buckle, snap, or even Velcro pad would do just as well. This will be used to hold the dispenser to the strap of your camera or camera bag, so it should be reasonably easy to work, but doesn’t need to take much weight.


Waterproof sealer or glue would make an excellent precaution if you think you’ll be in some serious weather, in my case I didn’t use it, but it’s not a bad idea.

Thin piece of plastic, to line the inside of the dispenser. This will steady the sides, and make for less friction on the inside with makes it easier to remove a tissue without tearing any part of it. Any bit from a milk jug or packaging that will tolerate being folded a bit.

Step 2: Cutting

And now the point of no return! Cutting.

The main body of the dispenser should be the size of your lens tissue packet, with an extra ½ inch on narrower width, and an extra inch on the longer length. Since the tissue will be folded in half in the dispenser, this will allow for both sides of the dispenser, and side allowances will make for the seam and flap opening.

The fastener should be cut so that the length can reach across the piece you cut for the dispenser when it is folded in half. See pictures for a more visual approach. As always, when in doubt, cut a bit long, you can always trim it up later.

In the picture you can see I also cut the small strip that had held the buckle to the boot. This is a necessary piece but is just a small strip with a hole in it to hold the body of the buckle to the dispenser.

Step 3: Sewing! Its Not That Bad, Really!

Now for the Putting-it-together part!

Fold your lens tissues in half to check for size, You will want to make sure the “body Piece” is a bit larger than twice the size of the tissues folded. Lay the folded tissues on the underside of the body material, squared up on one of the shorter sides, and centered. Holding the tissue to the edge, fold it over so that the tissue is entirely covered, but about an inch remains on one end of the material. This remainder will be the flap that protects the lens tissue. I originally only left about half an inch, but a bit more would be useful especially in bad weather.

Keep the folded side of the tissues towards where your flap will be, this makes for easy dispensing.

At this point, if you want to add the internal peice of plastic, Cut it to the same size as you lens tissues before they were folded, then fold it in half around them. You'll want to add the plastic before stitching up the sides, otherwise its quite a difficult task.  

Now, sew up the sides, from the fold at the bottom, up towards what will be the cover flap. When you get near the top of the first side, fold the flap down towards the tissue, and stich it into your side seam. This will keep the flap down, and make sure that no stray raindrops ruin your lens tissues. Tie off the thread, glue end if desired.

Repeat on the other side.

After stitching is finished, if you want to further waterproof your dispenser, add the clear glue to all the seams along the raw edges of your material, and along the stitching.

Step 4: The Fastener

The Fastener:

Measure your strap or buckle so that it reaches across you dispenser. At this point you need to know which way you would like for your dispenser to sit. I liked mine with the Lens tissues dispensing out to the side, so I lined the buckle up so that it spanned the shorter way across. Either way will do fine though.

With a buckle, you’ll need to also secure the body of the buckle to the opposite side that you fix the strap. Make sure that you leave enough allowance for the buckle to fasten. For Velcro the process is somewhat easier because all you need to do is fix one pad to the opposite end from your fastener strap, and the other to the strap itself. Whichever means you choose, make sure that your lengths are right so that you can comfortably pass your camera strap through it, but not so loose that it flops around.

Being carefull not to sew through the tissues inside, stitch the Fastener strap, and the receiving end, to the side opposite the flap (AKA the backside)

Check for fit.

Step 5: Done!

And there you have it! Your Handy Dandy refillable lens tissue dispenser, ready and waiting for that moment when you really need it, you can easily clean you lens without losing the shot!

And if you used an old boot or otherwise recycled material, its virtually free too

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