Introduction: Overhead Camera Stand From Cardboard Tubes

About: I am a Maker and Artist who experiments with a variety of mediums and projects. I also try to repurpose and repair as much as I can. Check out my instagram page @mitzsea_makes.

I needed an overhead camera stand for my desk, so I made one.

If I can, I prefer to make items I may need in order to have the things I want as an artist and maker. I like to try to up-cycle as much as possible before making a purchase because I don’t have a budget where I can just buy what I need (I am certain many of you here know exactly what I mean).

This is my version of how to create one of these stands, and is meant to help inspire your creativity to either replicate what I made, or as a guideline to your own creation.


  • 5 Cardboard tubes (1 tube needs to have a larger circumference than the other 4 tubes.)
  • 4 Wood shims
  • 2 Sheets of card stock paper
  • 1 Sheet of regular paper
  • Glue (quick dry tacky glue, wood glue, or hot glue gun)
  • Tape (masking or packing)
  • 4 skewers (or something similar)
  • Scissors
  • Exacto knife
  • Hack saw (optional)
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Paint (colour of your choice)

Step 1: Collect Your Supplies

The Cardboard Tubes

  • The thicker the cardboard tube the better. You need stability and some weight bearing.
  • If you do not have heavy duty cardboard tubes you can layer together some of the thinner tubes by inserting one into another.
  • One tube needs to have a wider circumference than the other four tubes.
  • This wider tube is going to be used to connect the frame together and hold the camera.

The Shims

  • You will need four shims to make the feet of the frame.
  • Alternate the thick and thin sides of the shims to make a level foot.
  • Make certain that each shim is the same thickness as the other. This way you have two feet of the same height and your frame will be level.

The Paper

  • You will need at least two sheets of card stock paper for creating the connections to the feet.
  • One sheet of regular computer for creating the connections to the tube that holds the camera.

The Corner Braces

  • I used skewers, but you can use any stiff, unbendable item to create the corner braces.

The Rest of the Supplies

  • I like quick dry tacky glue to use for the bulk of connecting the pieces. Of course you use what you like the most.
  • The glue gun comes in handy to adhere the corner braces.
  • I needed a hacksaw to cut my heavy duty cardboard tubes, otherwise it is optional.
  • Some heavy duty scissors. Do not use the scissors for cutting paper or fabric if you want to keep the peace at home. 😉😂 You know what I mean.
  • Some masking or packing tape to tape up the joints.
  • I glue all of the joints together, but I want to be certain that all the connections are good.
  • Scotch tape comes in handy as a ‘clamp’.
  • Then some paint to finish off the project.

Step 2: Measurements and Cuts

The Cardboard Tubes

Smaller Circumference

  • 2 tubes: 53.3 cm long (21 in. long).
    These will be the legs.
  • 2 tubes: 22 cm long (9 in. long).
    These will become the cross beam (or top bar).
  • 1 tube: 10 cm long (4 in. long).
    This is the tube that the mini-tripod is inserted into.

Larger Circumference

  • 2 tubes: 9 cm long (3.5 in. long).
    These will be made into the elbow joints (corner connectors) that connect the legs to the cross beam.
  • 2 tubes: 5 cm long (2 in. long).
    These will be the connectors where the cross beam and the centre tube meet.
  • 1 tube: 15 cm long (6 in. long).
    This will be the centre tube that the camera slides into.

The Paper


  • 2 pieces: 21.6 cm by 12 cm (9 in. by 5 in.).
    This will be formed into tubes to insert inside the foot tubes.
  • 2 pieces: 12.5 cm by 9.5 cm (5 in. by 4 in.).
    These will be formed into tubes to insert inside the 5cm connectors.
  • 2 pieces: 4 cm by 4 cm (2 in. by 2 in.).
    These will become end caps for the inserts for the feet.
  • 1 piece: 11.5 cm by 9 cm (5 in. by 3.5 in.).
    This is the piece of paper that will become the template for creating the elbow joints.

Regular Paper

  • 2 pieces: 14 cm by 12.5 cm (5.5 in. by 4 in.).
    These will be formed into tubes to insert into the foot tubes.

Step 3: The Cardstock Tubes and the Paper Tubes

Cardstock Sheet (21.6 cm by 12 cm)

  1. Roll the two sheets into tubes.
  2. Roll the cardstock along the longest edge of the paper so the tubes are at their longest length.
  3. Test that they will fit inside the leg tubes.
  4. Once they fit snuggly inside the leg tubes, secure the cardstock so it does not unravel.
  5. Cover the tube with glue and reinsert the cardstock tube into the leg.
  6. Only insert the cardstock tube a portion of the way into the tube.
  7. There needs to be 6.4 cm of the cardstock tube sticking out of the end of the legs.
  8. Allow some time for the glue to dry.

Cardstock Sheet (12.5 cm by 9.5 cm)

  1. Do the same things with these sheets of cardstock as above.
  2. These cardstock tubes will be used as inserts for the 5 cm long cardboard tubes.
  3. Insert the card stock tube all the way through the 5 cm cardboard tube.
  4. Once inserted leave one end of the cardstock flush with the cardboard tube and the rest of the cardstock tube extending out.
  5. After testing that the fit is snug, secure the cardstock tube to prevent it from unraveling.
  6. Take out the cardstock tube and apply glue to the portion that will be inserted into the cardboard tube.
  7. Reinsert the cardstock tube and set aside to dry.

Plain Paper Sheet (14 cm by 12.5 cm)

  1. Roll the two sheet into tubes.
  2. Roll the paper along the longest edge so that the tube is at its longest length.
  3. Test that these tubes fit snugly into the legs that already have the cardstock inserts.
  4. Secure the paper tubes so that they do not unravel.
  5. Pull the paper tube out of the legs.
  6. Apply some glue around one end of the tubes.
  7. Place each tube onto the 4 cm by 4 cm cardstock squares.
  8. Cut flaps onto the cardstock squares to be able to glue them around the paper tube.
  9. This makes an end cap onto one end of the paper tube for more surface area to attach the legs to the feet.
  10. Apply glue onto the outside of the paper tube.
  11. Insert the paper tube into the end of the legs that have the cardstock inserts.
  12. Make certain that the end cap is facing out.
  13. Do not push the paper tube too far into the legs, leave just a little bit extending out.
  14. Set aside for some drying time.

Step 4: Making the Elbow Connectors

Make the Template

  1. Cut out a piece of cardstock that is 9 cm by 11.5 cm.
  2. On the 9 cm side of the template measure up to 5.6 cm and mark that point.
  3. The mark at 5.6 cm will be the point of the triangle.
  4. Draw two downward rays angling at about 30 degrees.
  5. Those lines should measure 2.5 cm long.
  6. Cut along the line you just made.
  7. That line will be the line transferred to the cardboard tube.
  8. Cut out a little ‘window’ for your marking pen tip to fit into.

Using the Template

  1. Get the cardboard tube with the larger circumference.
  2. Line the 11.5 cm edge of the template so that it is flush with the end of the cardboard tube.
  3. Wrap the template around the tube and secure with a piece of tape.
  4. Draw onto the tube 2 marks.
  5. First mark is along the top line of the triangle.
  6. The second mark is at the end of the template to mark out the 9 cm length.
  7. Remove the template and repeat for the second elbow.

Make the Elbows

  1. Cut along the triangular mark.
  2. Only cut deep enough to penetrate the first layer of the tube.
  3. Once cut, tuck in the flap along the bottom side of the triangle.
  4. Then tuck in a bit of the top side of the triangle.
  5. Slowly bend the tube in half, working the flaps inside the tube.
  6. Unfold the tube and apply glue to the internal flaps.
  7. Refold the elbow and secure it, in some fashion, to allow the glue to dry.

Step 5: Assembling the Feet and Legs

The Shims

  1. Find 4 shims that are of equal width on the widest end.
  2. Find the centre on 2 of the shims.
  3. Alternate the shims so that the thick sides are opposite each other.
  4. This makes a flat rectangle that will be the foot.

The Legs

  1. Cut the cardstock tube insert into strips.
  2. Make certain that the paper tube with the end cap has been inserted into the legs.

Attach the Legs to the Feet

  1. Apply glue to the end cap.
  2. Centre the leg on to the first shim.
  3. Apply glue to the cardstock flaps.
  4. Wrap the flaps around the first shim.
  5. Set aside to allow some drying time.
  6. Apply glue to the second shim.
  7. Take the leg with the first shim attached and place it onto the second shim.
  8. Make certain all edges are flush.
  9. Clamp or tape together and allow to dry completely.
  10. Once dry, tape up the joint between the tube and shims.

Step 6: Assembling the Cross Section

The Cross Section

  1. Take the 5cm cardboard tubes with the cardstock inserts and cut the cardstock into strips.
  2. Get the 15 cm cardboard tube and measure back 3 cm from one end. (The offset is to provide counter-balance for the weight of the camera.)
  3. This is the offset mark for placing the 5 cm cardboard connectors.
  4. Apply glue to the cardstock strips.
  5. Glue the connector onto the 15 cm tube set back 3 cm from the edge.
  6. Do this on both sides.
  7. Cut out two rectangle pieces of cardstock that can fit over top the now glued strips of cardstock.
  8. Glue the rectangle strips down, one on each side.
  9. This is just extra reenforcement for the joint.
  10. Set aside to dry for a bit.
  11. Tape up joint.

Step 7: Correcting My Mistake

I made a mistake when I cut my 2 cardboard tubes for the cross beam. I cut them too short so I had to add 2.5 cm. I show here how I fixed my error and give the steps to follow without the error.

What You Do

  1. Get the two 22 cm cardboard tubes.
  2. Apply glue to the walls of the 5cm connector that is attached to the cross section.
  3. Insert the 22 cm cardboard tube.
  4. Allow some time to dry.
  5. Do this on both sides.
  6. This completes the cross section.

My Correction

  1. Cut two pieces from extra cardboard tubes with the smaller circumference, measured at 2.5 cm long.
  2. Cut out 6 pieces of cardstock big enough to make an end cap for the cardboard tubes.
  3. Take the two 2.5 cm long tubes and glue end caps on both sides.
  4. Glue an end caps to one end of each of the 19.5 cm cardboard tubes.
  5. Apply glue to the end cap on one side of the 2.5 cm tube.
  6. Insert that piece into the 5 cm tube.
  7. Apply glue to the walls of the 5 cm tube.
  8. Apply glue to the end cap on the 19.5 cm tube.
  9. Insert the 19.5 cm tube into the 5 cm tube.
  10. Do this for both sides.
  11. Allow some drying time.
  12. This completes the cross section.

Step 8: Attaching the Legs to the Cross Beam

Attach the Elbows to the Legs

  1. Collect the elbows and legs.
  2. Insert one leg into the elbow to test the fit.
  3. Make certain you push the leg into the elbow as far as you can.
  4. Be certain to have elbow facing perpendicular to the foot of the leg.
  5. Use little line up marks if necessary.
  6. Once the dry fit is completed, add glue to the walls of the elbow.
  7. Tape up the joint to keep the joint tight while the glue dries.
  8. Do this with both legs.

Attaching the Legs to the Cross Beam

  1. Just like above, do a dry run.
  2. Make certain that the cross beam is level (horizontal).
  3. Make little levelling marks on each elbow.
  4. These little marks help to make certain that the elbow and cross beam are lined up properly.
  5. Once the dry fit is completed, add glue to the walls of the elbow.
  6. Tape up the joint to keep it tight while the glue dries.
  7. Do this with both ends of the cross beam.

Corner Braces

  1. Get your 4 skewers or similar item.
  2. Tape one end of a skewer to one end of the elbow.
  3. Slowly push or pull the leg until the frame on that side looks square.
  4. Tape down the other end of the skewer.
  5. Go to the other side and square up the corner in the same fashion.
  6. Attach all 4 braces with tape to hold their places.
  7. Hot glue the braces to the camera frame (I leave the tape on).

Step 9: Finishing Touches

I like to make the things I make look as nice as possible by finishing them off with a coat of paint or decorative paper. This frame isn’t fancy but it looks better with a coat of paint. I chose black, but you should do what ever you desire.

I also included pictures of my mini tripod and camera for a size reference. My camera and tripod weigh about 227 grams (8 ounces), which is why I offset the centre tube. It acts as a counter balance so the frame doesn’t tip over.

I also had plans to add another insert that contained more weight if it was needed. Turns out I didn’t need it for this case but, with the centre tube being 15 cm long there is an extra 5 cm to add weight to the back side of the frame.

I set up the frame so that I could easily remove the camera for other needs. The extra cardboard tube I insert the tripod into is for filling up the space of the centre tube. It also adds a little bit more weight on the back side of the camera for added balance.

I am really quite happy with how this project turned out. It really helps with the set-up of my workspace and I didn’t have to buy anything new!