Security Camera Lamp




About: Hi, my name is Britt Michelsen, I'm a Chemical Engineer especially interested in Computational Fluid Dynamics. To balance all the theoretical work I like to make stuff in my free time.

When I saw this lamp I knew I had seen it somewhere before (my brain is really good in remembering unimportant stuff). It took me quite a while to figure out where, until I remembered, that it was in the Britney and Madonna Video "Me Against The Music".

I wanted to make it, but my plan was to turn it into a statement piece. Today it is normal to be filmed everywhere and rarely people are wondering on how much it it is invading their privacy.

Step 1: Stuff You Need

  • cheap lamp (Mine is called Lagra from ikea), or an AC plug with a switch, a bulb holder and a reflector.
  • Security Camera dummy (e.g. on amazon or ebay)
  • Duct tape
  • optional: canvas, red acrylic paint, paintbrush
  • light bulb, please check out the second picture
  • Dremel (I've used a 1/2 x 1/2 inch Sanding Mandrel, a SpeedClic Plastic Cutting Wheel, a SpeedClic Metal Cutting Wheel and a drill bit), alternatively a metal saw, sanding paper, a drill and patience...
  • safety glasses
  • a screwdriver
  • pliers

Step 2: Paint the Canvas

I've mounted the lamp on a canvas, to make it more visible. If you don't want to, skip this step.

Instead of painting the letters, cutting them out of a vinyl sheet and sticking them onto the canvas might be a better idea in terms of easiness.

I've uploaded the vector image of the camera. Just scale it to the size you want it to be (you can open it with inkscape). If you want to paint the image, a cheap and easy way to trace the outlines is by using a pencil to paint the back and to trace the image with a ball pen as shown in the pictures.

Step 3: Take the Lamp Apart

First if you've bought a lamp you will have to take it apart. Make sure to unplug it!!! A very easy way to take it apart is by using a Dremel SpeedClic Plastic Cutting Wheel and cutting along the side (wear safety glasses!), as shown in the picture. If you don't have a Dremel, you can also use pliers.

Now carefully pull the wires out of the bulb holder, as shown in the second picture.

Step 4: Manipulate the Security Cam

I decided to use a security camera dummy, if you don't have the money, or difficulties to find it, you might be able to build it out of cans, if you do please show me some pictures.

First you will have to take the dummy apart. Remove the battery compartment with a Dremel Sanding Mandrel and secure it with duct tape.
Cut a notch as shown in the fifth picture to later secure the reflector (be very careful, not to cut through the plastic) and shorten the front of the reflector (please wear safety glasses), so that it will later fit into the camera.

Step 5: Assembly

First drill a hole into the button of the canvas and four more to later secure the camera. Now pull the wire through the holes, as shown in the first picture and reattach it to the bulb holder.

As you can see in the second picture, if you simply assemble the parts the light is going to shine through the case. That's why I secured the reflector with two layers of duct tape, if you have metal tape, even better.

Now the only thing left to do is to shorten the screws and congratulations you are done.

Finalist in the
What Can You Do with a Dremel Tool?

Participated in the
Duct Tape Tough Contest



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    14 Discussions


    2 years ago

    i love the 1984 reference


    3 years ago

    Man, that's cool. I've been looking to get some new lamps - maybe I'll build one or two of these! All your instructables are so thorough and innovative. It's clear you've been making things all your life.

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, I'm using your instructable to make a lamp using an old camera

    Mad inventor

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Great Idea! I don't think i'd like a lamp like this one for everyday domestic use, however, I think i'ts an awesome concept for an art piece. Thanks for inspiring me! :D

    one consideration: you should have mounted a shim diagonally across the corner for the third screw to mount to instead of hot gluing to the canvas. Maybe that's just overkill, though

    If you didn't paint your mural red... a red bulb would really state the evilness of the invasion of our privacy. Great Instructable!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    great instructable,
    you said: "my brain is really good in remembering unimportant stuff"
    well me too but sometimes it is just good that you remberd that


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice. Is heat a problem with the lamp being enclosed like that?

    If the dummy cam had the thread on the top like real cameras, it could be a cieling lamp too.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    thanks, I think it depends on the light bulb, I haven't had any problems so far (else one can probably just get rid of the glass).
    It's no problem to mount it to the ceiling, but it is not as bright and more like a spotlight, so it's not really suitable to light a whole room.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks a lot, it is very easy as well and a good eye catcher. Please show me some pictures, when you make it.