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PIMhole Tutorial: Make Your Own DIY Pinhole Camera

If you've ever wanted to make your own pinhole camera but you don't know how, here are some steps that could help you! You can easily make a pinhole camera out of a juice box!

Some time ago I decided I felt like making a pinhole camera: it takes pictures with no need for a lens! You don’t need pretty much anything at all, actually! Now, these are the two tutorials I drew my inspiration from – Matchboxpinhole, a very popular and useful tutorial (you can find it online) and Juice box pinhole camera, a video which is way more fun and well done (you can find this one on youtube).

I’m talking about inspiration as the “model” I’ve built is somekind of a blend of both, that is to say: the juice box camera uses just a simple piece of adhesive tape as its lens cover. I made the camera following these directions step by step, but then I’ve added a cardboard strip to use as a lens cover for the pinhole, as in the matchbox camera. I know this might sound a bit vague if you’ve never seen the two tutorials before, but I felt compelled to mention them and explain my modifications, though in a not so clear way. But let’s move on!

What you need

  • juice box
  • scissors
  • utility knife
  • permanent marker
  • hair clip (or key)
  • adhesive tape
  • tin can
  • new film roll
  • old film roll (i.e. used but still having the last bit of film sticking out of the slit)
  • cardboard
  • needle

Once you’ve drunk the juice, lift the two upper winglets and cut the tips off; after this, wash very carefully what is going to be the body of your camera, filling it with water and emptying it several times.

Then proceed as follows:

1. Pull some of the film out of the new roll and measure it on the juice box, marking its edges with the pen. If you want photos in the common format, the resulting rectangle will have to be smaller than the actual height of the film; if on the other hand you want to have sprocket holes in your pictures, you should cut a rectangle bigger than the film, so that the latter will be impressed entirely.

2. Now, cut off with the utility knife the rectangle you have drawn, creating a window in the juice box (also take the chance to dry the interior of the box with a paper towel, as it’ll still be wet from the previous rinsing). Once the window has been cut, draw an X on the inside of the box, so as to approximately find its center. And cut a small window in that place. Now take the can and cut a small square off it with the knife.

3. Pierce a hole with the needle in the aforementioned square. Be very careful not to make too big a hole, as it needs to be really tiny! Now we can attach the pierced tin-can square to the smaller window in the juice box, using some adhesive tape. From now on, we’ll make an extensive use of adhesive tape, so make sure you have enough of it or you’ll risk ending up like me: last time I ran out of it half way through the construction! Also cover with tape the edges of the bigger window

4. Now take the new film roll and cut off the narrow, initial portion of the film. Simply using some adhesive tape, join the new film (just made even with your scissors) to the bit of film sticking out of the used roll. Draw some of the film out of the roll, enough to be able to place it at the centre of the bigger window, and so that the two rolls can rest to the sides of the box. Now you need to cut a piece of cardboard big enough to entirely cover the bigger window. In its turn and wrap this piece of cardboard with adhesive tape.

5. Attach the cardboard to the camera body so that it can perfectly shield the film from the light. Take extra care in sealing the spots where the rolls meet the box making sure that light cannot possibly filter in any way. Now take another rectangular piece of cardboard, big enough to cover the part of the box on which you have attached the lens (that is, the tin-can square). Wrap this piece of cardboard in adhesive tape as well. Cut in its centre a little window, of the same size as the smaller one previously cut in the juice box. Now cut a strip of cardboard almost as long as the height of the juice box and a few inches wide. This too has to be covered with tape.

6. Again with the adhesive tape, attach the piece of cardboard with the little window in its centre to the front of the camera. Make sure that the little window matches the spot where you attached the tin-can lens.
Seal everything hermetically once again, just leaving an open slit at the top, where the long and narrow strip of cardboard will be inserted. This will work as a shutter, opening and shutting the little window with the tiny hole, from which the film will receive the light. And there you go: your pinhole is ready!

Tip: The hair clip will work as an advance lever to wind the film on the receiving spool (the roll which was empty) once you’ve taken your shot! You should turn it 2 or 3 times at least between each shot. You can obviously use a paper clip or a key or anything else instead, you just need anything that might help you winding and rewinding the film.

And here’s the results in colour and black and white:

How to become a PIMholer? That’s easy as pie!
Send an email to prettyinmad [at] gmail.com or contact me on Facebook and send me the following material:

• A picture of your PIMhole camera
• Some pictures taken with your PIMhole camera
• A short introduction for me to include in the post I will dedicate to your results
• Your links (flickr, facebook, etc), if you feel like sharing them

Check out PIMholers, a project by Pretti in Mad. That’s all folks!

written by pretty_in_mad and translated by sidsel

17 comments

  1. rancliffhasenza

    rancliffhasenza

    Yeeah! :) are you familiar with the matchbox pinhole? http://www.lomograph(…)box-pinhole

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. pretty_in_mad

    pretty_in_mad

    yes! from the top of this article " Now, these are the two tutorials I drew my inspiration from – Matchboxpinhole, a very popular and useful tutorial (you can find it online) and Juice box pinhole camera, a video which is way more fun and well done (you can find this one on youtube)." so.......maybe do you wanna make your own PIMhole? I'm waiting for you!!!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  3. bala

    bala

    AMAZING! I'll try it soon
    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  4. pretty_in_mad

    pretty_in_mad

    really? you make me very happy :))))
    and please, if you wanna, send your pics here http://pimholers.blo(…)cipare.html
    ^_____^

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  5. phalanx

    phalanx

    Nice! I Need this labelmaker!!! :D

    I myself built some Pinholes recently:

    Matchbox-Pinhole
    http://www.lomograph(…)001-b-amp-w

    Giftbox-Pinhole
    http://www.lomograph(…)002-b-amp-w
    http://www.lomograph(…)e-003-color

    Mediumformat-Giantmatchbox-Pinhole
    http://www.lomograph(…)004-b-amp-w

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  6. graymalking

    graymalking

    Best and most detailed pinhole tutorial I've found :) When you say to turn the clip 2 or 3 times, do you mean 1 time = 360º rotation?
    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  7. jonatown

    jonatown

    why cant i browse and see the other photos of this article? sorry im new here
    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  8. rancliffhasenza

    rancliffhasenza

    @pretty_in_mad I'll build my own PIMhole for shure :)!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  9. kathleenmendoza

    kathleenmendoza

    I'm gonna try this! :)

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  10. stratski

    stratski

    Oooh, your pictures are so good! I had a matchbox pinhole, but the pictures were rubbish. (http://www.lomograph(…)353-lucipin)
    Yesterday I made a second version that hopefully will be better. If that one doesn't do the trick either, I'll definitely try this juicebox design.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  11. jonatown

    jonatown

    how long should the exposure be for a pinhole camera???
    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  12. jonatown

    jonatown

    how long should the exposure be for a pinhole camera???
    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  13. mafiosa

    mafiosa

    Cool. I am in the process of attempting this myself. I love the idea of using a hair clip for winding. I will have to use that. Thanks.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  14. goomba

    goomba

    Next weekend we'll have a new PIMholer. :-P
    Just gotta locate some stuff to make such a camera, then I'll do an attempt next weekend!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  15. carlota_nonnumquam

    carlota_nonnumquam

    Really cool, I'm gone make my own this month too, thanks for the tipster! :)

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  16. marcustegtmeier

    marcustegtmeier

    I would like to try this.

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  17. dykstran

    dykstran

    Wow!! Cool!!
    It is so creative and original! Very well done!!!

    about 1 year ago · report as spam

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The original version of this article is written in: Italiano. It is also available in: Deutsch & Nederlands.