I recently bought a digital camcorder that came without a case. For a while, I used the packaging material it came in, which was shaped like an envelope and held up reasonably well in my purse. I wanted to make a case, though, that would be pretty, provide everyday protection, and also be water resistant so I could use it on a boat. I also wanted to keep the cost low. Finding one that fit all these requirements was impossible, so of course I made my own using materials I had lying around, and I'm very pleased with how it turns out.
The concept is to have a clear baggie that can be taped through, with a duct tape and padding shell. These instructions show how to customize this for the camera.
These instructions are specific to my Samsung camcorder, but they can be adapted to different cameras. Post your photos if you make one too!
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- Duct tape, in contrasting colors if you like
- Clear packing tape
- Pouch made from packing material, or similar stuff you can make into a pouch
- A plastic sheet cover
- A Ziploc or other brand bag with as high-quality a closure as you can get. Not the kind with the zipper, though
- Sticky-back Velcro
- A D-ring
- Cord or lanyard
- Camera (for measuring)
- Ruler, preferably metal
Step 2: Make the Inner Pouch
First, place the camera inside the transparency so it is in a corner with two sides sealed. My camera has a lens that pops out (it has an optical zoom), so I had to add extra space in the case to allow the lens to pop out. In any case, it's a good idea to overestimate how wide it will need to be by a little. Draw lines where you plan to cut with a Sharpie and the ruler, then cut the pouch out.
Next, place the Ziploc back inside the pouch to see how wide you will need to cut that. The zipper will be the way your pouch seals. Again, mark lines and cut it out.
Finally, using packing tape, tape the zip closure to the inside of your transparency pouch. Take your time with this step. It took me a few tries to get the packing tape in the right spot and to get it to stick in the right area of the top of the sheet protector pouch.
Once you have achieved this, tape up the remaining side of the pouch. You now have a water-resistant, transparent pouch through which you can take video.
Be sure to test it before going to the next step to make sure it works well with your camera, you have no yucky tape spots over the lens, etc. The last photo on this page shows my camera in its pouch with the lens fully extended.
Step 3: Add the Padded Pouch
Place the camera inside the padded pouch. Draw a rectangle on the front a bit larger than the lens will need. Do the same on the back for the LCD screen, or make it large enough to see the controls as well. I found seeing the LCD screen was adequate, as I could feel the buttons through the case.
Trace the rectangles you made onto the inside of the pouch. I moved my front rectangle over a little to center it better.
The last photo in this step shows a mistake I made. I thought my pouch was too big, so I cut a bit off the side. It turned out I needed that bit to compensate for the extra width needed when the lens was extended, so I had to make up for it in the next steps.
Step 4: Duct Tape, Part One
Insert the inner pouch into the padded pouch. Tape over the body of the case. Where the opening is on the side, add a bit of extra tape to overlap and stick to itself. It should not look neat at this point.
When you finish duct-taping the body, unstick the side pieces from each other and re-open the side of the case. Using your knife and the cutting board, cut a flap using the rectangle as a guide. Cut only the top and sides, leaving the bottom of the flap intact. Do this for both sides of the case.
Step 5: Add Velcro & D-ring
Cut small pieces of Velcro to hold the flap open. Stick on the top of the flap and where the flap meets the outside of the case, on both sides.
Tape the side cleanly. I used extra tape to compensate for the part of the pouch I mistakenly cut off. Add tape to the bottom.
Insert the baggie case into the outer case.
I thought hard about a solution for wearing the camera around my neck. Eventually I decided to cannibalize a belt I bought from the thrift store for one of its D-rings. I taped this in really well, using various layers and directions of tape, and going under the top of the back window with some of the tape.
The neck thing it hangs from is a giveaway from a trade show - another good way to upcycle junk lying around.
Step 6: More Duct Tape & Finishing Touches
Add Velcro to the top flap, making sure you are using the right type (soft or hard) so that both the top and window flaps can attach to the same piece of Velcro.
Create a flap to hold down Velcro that holds the back flap closed. I also used the duct tape to secure the D-ring further.
Add narrow strips of tape (clear or duct, your choice; I used clear) around the edges of the windows to seal up that opening.
Attach a neck cord to the D-ring.
The resulting video has a slight haze from the plastic, but nothing too bad. Here is a short sample from my camera. It's nothing special, but it shows that most of the audio and video quality are retained in the case.
I'm very happy with my case, and I hope you are too, if you try it!