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US CitySlicker Sixsixty- Read All About It: National Literacy Month DIY Filter

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.
Photo by sixsixty

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:

Photo by sixsixty

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!

written by sixsixty


  1. pollyarts


    Looks like a great idea for the Lomokino as well (to make spiffy title sequences).

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  2. gabysalas


    That's a great idea, would be good art project to illustrate your favorite novels with a double exposure of your text and an photo interpretation of it!

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  3. cruzron


    Wow! Need to do this with my favorite book!

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  4. webo29


    @pollyarts what a super idea!

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  5. ilkadj


    Awesome project! I'm gonna print out some 1's and 0's on paper and make an analogue matrix!

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  6. meyorlight


    Nice! I will try this out for sure.
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  7. webo29


    I think this could also work out beautifully with illustrations or colouring book pictures too. Maybe for part two @sixsixty :)

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  8. gabysalas


    @webo29, would be cool to have a mini book club where we read the same book and then each of us tries this technique with our own interpretation? What do think?

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  9. webo29


    @gabysalas ha! What do you plan on reading next? :)

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  10. gabysalas


    @webo29, you tell me, but not 50 Shades of Grey ;)

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  11. snoop


    great idea.

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  12. webo29


    @gabysalas - oh no, no, no no. Actually the next book on my list is Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. Do you know it?

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  13. plasticpopsicle


    Looking for something to read, everyone? May I delight you in checking out The Analogue Reader Series? http://www.lomograph(…)ogue-reader

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  14. sixsixty


    @pollyarts oh that would be a great idea for the lomokino! Or another idea is to print out your own analogue movie titles and credits!

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  15. sixsixty


    @ilkadj oh that's a great idea!!!! Analogue matrix for the win!

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  16. sixsixty


    @webo29 I was hoping to show illustrations too, but that's the one that got messed up and blurry. Next time for sure. I would like to try comics too.

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  17. captain_mary


    Wow, great tipster! Thank you (: I will try it soon (:

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  18. neanderthalis


    Cool idea!

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  19. happiness_hit_her


    great tipster for sure and well-written too, it made me laugh :)

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  20. sobetion


    Wowwwwwwwwwwww!! Great idea :D

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  21. 110isnotdead


    That just might be the awesom-est thing that I have ever seen. Wow :)

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  22. fartstorm


    Cool idea. I might try using a transparent sleeve before the tape. It adds thickness, but it would add a barrier.

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  23. quietedheart


    It's going on my to-do list!

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  24. elletra


    this is great!!!

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  25. taufik_rachman


    hai thanks for your tipster cek my album http://www.lomograph(…)-bw-masking

    about 2 years ago · report as spam
  26. lomoherz


    Thank you for this supergreat inspiration & tutorial: http://wp.me/p2ps0a-NP

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  27. shack_81


    Was that Flat Stanley you used?? I loved that book as a kid...neat idea...giving me ideas!

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  28. rhysbm



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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch & Русский.