Celebrate Literacy Month with our newest edition to the DIY FILTERS. Put those old books to some good use as a filter for your analog cameras.
September is National Literacy Month and what better way to celebrate than destroying—ahem, reusing—some old books and turning them into a DIY FILTER. Follow us with these few easy steps and your photos will be looking book smart in no time.
What you’ll need:
- Some old books. Really, all you need is just one sweet page from a book. So, if you don’t have a book, borrow one from a friend. No one’s going to notice just one little missing page, right?
- Oil. Light vegetable or canola oil works great, but any cooking oil should probably work. Sneak some from the kitchen. No one’s going to notice just a little bit of missing oil, right?
- Scissors. Don’t cut yourself…we do not recommend this. Just cut up the books. They don’t mind. They’re all digital these days anyway. But, don’t cut the digital ones. They might gang up and start a robot uprising.
- Tape. It doesn’t really stick that well to oily paper, but it helps a little.
Step ONE: This is the big step. Find that perfect page from a book, comic, newspaper, etc. Paperback books with thin pages work well. Remember, when you make this filter, you’ll be able to see through both sides of the page. So, find that page that is just perfect; maybe a page with an illustration on one side and text on the other. Find what works for you, but remember people hate spoilers!
Step TWO: Cut out that page and oil it all up. You can either neatly brush on some oil or do it like I did and just let it sit in a shallow pool of oil for a half hour. That will really let all the oil set in. The oil should make the page sort of transparent if you hold something right up to it.
Step THREE: Get most of that oil off the paper. I used my fingers as sort of a squeegee and ringed as much oil as I could off. Then I hung the paper and let it dry overnight.
Step FOUR: Make sure the paper is really dry and you get as much oil off of it as possible…we don’t want it messing up our sweet cameras! I also put my pages between 2 pieces of paper towel for an hour for that extra dryness.
Step FIVE: Find your favorite LOMO-like film camera. 120 film cameras work well for this, but you could also do this with 35. Then, cut the page to make a filter to fit inside the camera.
Step SIX: Tape the filter into the camera. Remember, the page is still a little oily at this point so tape isn’t going to stick too well to it, but try anyway. Also, remember to flip the page upside down in the camera, that way it will read the correct way on the film.
Step SEVEN: Load your film up and shoot away.
Some notes: I wouldn’t leave the filter in the camera for a long time. You wouldnt want any of that oil setting in the camera. So, just load the filter, shoot, and then take off the filter.
Also, make sure the camera you use lets the film press right up to the filter. I tried this technique on a camera where the filter was just a bit in front of the film and the whole roll came out blurry. See below:
Don’t forget, if you try this technique out, post all your pictures here on Lomography and tag them with DIYFILTER…that way we can READ ALL ABOUT IT!