Get Your Own 35mm Film Spool




I came across this old camera that uses 35mm film but lacks an important piece on which the film is attached when loading it into the camera. I needed a 35mm spool and I was having trouble finding one or any in the local camera shops. So I decided to get my own spool by sacrificing a roll of film I bought not long ago to solve this problem. Here is what I did...

Step 1: Gather the Following Tools and Items...

You will need:

>1 roll of 35mm film (in a metal container)
>Scissors, pen, knife or a hard and flat metallic item
>Strong hands
>(optional) coffee

I only had to use scissors, but it took a while to do the job.

Step 2: Remove Film From Roll

You will need to remove the film from the roll, which means that it will be exposed and ruined unless you do it in a dark bag/darkroom or in the night. To do this simply pull the film 'til it stops. Use the scissors to cut the film from the roll because it may have a tape that sticks the film to the spool.

Step 3: Break Open the Roll Canister

Use the scissors or any other metallic object to break the roll canister apart. This is done by inserting the tool into the roll through the slit and forcing it apart. Work your way so as to open it as much as possible to remove the spool easily.

Step 4: Remove the Spool

If you were successful, you should see the spool with the tape and part of the cut film on it.
Remove the spool from the canister and cut out the tape and the film.
As you do this, look closely at the spool to check for any possible damage.

Step 5: Conclude + Epilogue

And there you go! Use the spool for other photography projects that involve 35mm and to replace equipment from older cameras (you might need to modify the spool in that case).
Remember to use tape to attach film onto the spool whenever you use it.

Good luck!!

And please REUSE or RECYCLE!!  You will end up with heaps of film and metal bits in the end which can be used for other projects and recycled. Do your planet a favour.
I didn't want to throw away the metal container so I reuse it as a bookmark! (I use the film for this purpose as well) I only had to flatten it and smoothen the sharp bits to use it.

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    10 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Ok, thanks guys for telling me what a waste of an instructable this is.
    Why didn't I think of going to those developing stores?? This deserves a very huge facepalm

    Anyway, I had fun making this instructable, it was cool to break apart something.

    3 replies

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Because now that most people only make digital fotos, there are really not that many stores that develop their own film. All stores I have contacted so far, all send there film to a distant location ('ontwikkelcantrale'), where which develops their film for them. And they are impossible to contact and/ or located very far away.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Hey man it wasnt a waste you learned how to do something, and that my friend you cant put a price on.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Hey it is not a useless i'ble.

    You got the conversation going.

    These inner spools are great for all kinds of stuff.

    Also some metal film canisters like ILFORD are reusable. You sort of squeeze the metal sides, and gently pop off the metal ring.

    bde weerd

    8 years ago on Step 5

    you could also just have waited till you processed the film and then use the leftover container right?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    The disposable cameras are useful for a number of things, there are guys out there that modify the flash built into some disposables to use as fill flashes for other cameras. Some are reloadable (but you need the original spool--future instructable perhaps?). Also a source of cheap AA batteries. One word of caution..the flash disposable cameras also have a flash capacitor...the cameras can BITE (actually zap you if you put your fingers in the wrong place when taking the camera apart).

     The easier way would be to get a disposable camera, these spools are left in the camera, and at a typical CVS it's free 


    9 years ago on Step 5

    not to be a jerk... but you could save the film, by going to walmart and asking for empty ones they will give you bags full for free.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    These spools are very handy for all sorts of projects and uses.

    For instance, storing wire, string, or adhesive tape.

    Usually easiest to use a bottle opener to pop off the black metal ring as if you were removing a bottle cap.

    Like HarveyH44 I get them free at photo developing labs.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Could have just ask at film developing stores, they just throw them away.  I got a bunch of disposable flash cameras once, and still haven't used half, all free for the asking.

    Haven't used a film camera in years, not even sure if I remember how (fully manual Nikon).  Truly spoiled on digital, I like printing my own at home.  Most of the pictures I took with the Nikon were getting scanned into the computer anyway.  Best part, you can see on the LCD if you got a good shot, before the photo opportunity has past.