Vintage Camera Light




Introduction: Vintage Camera Light

I love vintage cameras, especially the kind you see in the movies used by journalist with the massive flash bulbs. I picked this one up on ebay and it's called a Brownie Hawkeye if you want to make one the same but I'm sure you could use most vintage camera's and get an amazing effect every time.

What you'll need

  • Vintage Camera
  • light fitting
  • wire
  • plug
  • wire cap (for earth wire if your light fitting is plastic)
  • glue gun
  • Dremel with a drill piece for cutting plastic
  • Protective gear (minimum requirements - goggles and mask)

Check out my blog for more fun tutorials!

Nicole @ Crafta La Vista

Step 1: Dismantle the Flash

Start by separating the flash from the camera and taking it apart, removing any metal pieces from the plastic so it's easier to cut. My flash was easily separated in two by removing a screw but if yours isn't and you want to hide the cable for the light then you will need to cut it in half.

Step 2: Suit Up

The next part involves drilling plastic so make sure you have on goggles and a mask so you don't inhale any harmful fumes. Also it's very messy so clear anything that you don't want covered in plastic shavings out the way

Step 3: Drill Holes for the Light Fitting

You'll then need to cut holes in the flash casing so that the light fitting can be inserted. I used my boyfriends dremel - I'm not sure what the drill piece is called but above is a picture of it.I cut a larger hole in the silver casing until the metal piece of the light fitting could fit through

Then I cut a hole in the bottom of the back part of the flash casing and enlarged the hole on the front at the top as much as I could without touching the edges

Step 4: Adjust the Light Fitting...Carefully!

I also had to trim down the light fitting as the middle rim made it too large for the flash casing.

Step 5: Insert Your Light Fitting


This part is very dangerous, if you wire the light incorrectly, then you could electrocute yourself so please Google how to do this before you start.

I took my piece of wire and striped it back as required. I then hooked it up to the light fitting and put a wire cap on the earth wire. Note: you only need to connect the earth wire to the fitting if it is metal. My fitting is plastic so I just capped it off - do NOT leave any loose wires hanging without capping them.

I then put the light fitting through the front of the flash casing from the inside and then put the silver lamp shade on the front, making sure that the light fitting is far enough out of the shade that you can still put a bulb in and out of the fitting. Once it's all in place, glue the lamp shade to the flash casing. The holes made for the light fitting are only large enough to allow the fitting to squeeze through so that it stays in place and doesn't wobble around.

I then put the other end of the wire through the hole I made in the bottom of the back part of the casing and then wired up the plug. This is an important step to do before adding the plug, otherwise you won't be able to close up the front and back of the flash casing.
I added some glue to the front edge of the casing and then placed the back piece back on so that everything is intact again.

Step 6: Attach the Flash to the Camera

Taking one of the original screws, I screwed the flash back into the camera so it was all in one piece again.

All that is left to do is put a bulb in the lamp and switch it on!

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    5 Discussions


    5 years ago

    As an antique/vintage treasures dealer, I usually try not to do as anything to good condition treasures that cannot undone. Because I hope to move home in a few years, I have sold most of my camera collection, but am keeping a few of my favorites.
    Nearly all cameras have a tripod adapter on the bottom. You can take it to the old fashioned hardware store and get bolt that fit, bolt a thin piece wood thick enough to recess the head and glue that to he bookend base. That way you will have functional and beautiful bookend.
    Because of severe problems, I have not been able to use my computer for 3 years. I had cataract surgery recently and when my glasses arrive, I will be able to write my own Ibles. If you have other questions, E-mail me at Mary Alice


    5 years ago

    I also love vintage cameras. I use vintage csmeras without flash attachments for book ends. I use the ugly steel library book ends, make a suitable fabric sleeve for the back, and bolt the camera to the base .


    Reply 5 years ago

    That sounds great. Do you have a tutorial for them on here?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This Brownie flash, as it was called in Europe was my first camera, I was 12 at the time and it was in 1960.

    Took hundred of photos with it… That's how my amateur photographic hobby started !…

    Although the flash wouldn't work to day because of lack of flash bulbs, the camera still fuction perfectly well. You only need to find 6X6 film rolls which might prove difficult in some places but it will function and give good pictures. After all many reporters used the same type of cameras before Leica was launched in the late 20s (or early 30s ?) and we marvel at their pictures.

    Thanks for posting !