Seal and Snap ;) : Pinhole Camera

Introduction: Seal and Snap ;) : Pinhole Camera

A camera which has no lenses, but consists essentially of a darkened box, with a small hole in one side, so that an inverted image of outside objects is projected on the opposite side where it is recorded on photographic film. We built this out of shoebox, tape and soda can metal. This is what happened. Physics.

Step 1: Setting Up the Box

Paint the box black, make sure at least the inside of the box is COMPLETELY covered in a good coat of paint. Cut a square out of the side of the shoe box. Cut a square piece of the pop can that will cover the square cut out of the box. Poke a very small hole in the tin can. Tape the piece of pop can with the hole on the inside of the shoe box, covering the whole square (leaving only the poked hole for light to come through). Cover the pinhole with a piece of black duct tape or electrical tape to seal it and let no light through.

Step 2: Setting Up in the Dark Room

Now, go into the dark room and open the photo paper. Place a piece against the back side of the box, opposite from the pinhole. Seal it with duct tape to make sure there is no way for light to get in.

Step 3: Taking the Picture

Go outside into the light and set up your photo subject and aim camera pinhole at it. Open the flap and clear the duct tape completely from the opening in the box. Leave open for 1-2 minutes (with sun lit exposure) (THE BOX MUST REMAIN COMPLETELY STILL IN ORDER FOR THE PICTURE TO FORM). After the time, cover up the hole and seal it closed with the duct tape.

Step 4: Developing the Photo

Go into the dark room and set the box aside. Mix the Vitamin C powder, Instant coffee, washing soda and water together in a large flat bowl/ container (so the photo can lay flat in the bottom and be submersed without any required force.). Place bowl in sink. Put the fixer in a similar shaped bowl and place next to the sink.

Step 5: Developing the Photo Pt 2

Place exposed photo paper in the developer bath. Leave it under the surface for five minutes but flip sides every minute. When five minutes are up, run water into the container. Remove photograph and put into the container with the fiver. Leave in there for a couple minutes to ensure all silver has turned black. Rinse the photograph for four minutes after the fixer bath. Blot dry with a paper towel or towel and set to finish drying.


We had everything set up perfectly with the box and the developer, We even made a dark room in our school out of a supply closet. But we didn't have a fixer which we didn't realize until after the we developed the photo. But our photo didn't turn out or even appear for that matter and that is due to a mistake we made along the way. We are not sure where it happened because after we developed in there wasn't even anything on the paper that was visible. I imagine we may have exposed our photo for too long or the photo paper on accident before we started. It was also a very bright, sunny day which may have had an effect on our picture.


The film inside a pinhole camera records the image that comes in through the pinhole. The camera records an in-focus image of the scene that you point the camera at. The pinhole in a pinhole camera acts as the lens. The pinhole forces every point emitting light in the scene to form a small point on the film, so the image is clear and inverted.

Because the hole is so small, from each point of the object, only one ray of light may pass through and then move on to the film. Thus there is a one-to-one correspondence between points on the film and points on the object.

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    7 years ago

    lol, this thing has a name "camera obscura"


    7 years ago

    Ah, bummer that the photo didn't turn out!

    I hope you'll give it another try, and share the phot if it turns out next time! :)