Use Filters on your Holga Flash

2012-05-10 2

We all love a little colour in our flash. I was looking at buying some coloured gels. This got me thinking, I already have loads of filters sitting around, so why buy more? So, I came up with the idea of mounting a filter ring over my flash.

Tools and Materials

Materials Needed:

  • A Holga with built in flash (between £16 and £40 depending on specifics of the model)
  • White Direct to metal spray paint
  • An old floppy drive
  • Two Part Epoxy Resin (aroldyte)
  • Some leather scraps
  • Two 46mm step up rings (step up to your most used filter size)
  • Some scraps of clear plastic
  • Masking tape

Tools Needed:

  • Scalpel, X-acto, Stanley knife, Boxcutter
  • Coping saw.
  • Small files
  • Small flat head screwdriver
  • Medium cross head screwdriver

Step 1 – Dismantling the camera.

The Holga in its cheap toy nature, is also very easy to take apart, which makes it a great base model for us modders.

To remove the top of the Holga, we first need to remove the film advancing knob. Carefully slide a thin screwdriver under the knob, and rotate it slightly to allow you to get a firm hold, pull straight up to break the bond between to knob and the advancing spool. The glue is strong, but also cheap, so can be easily broken.

Once you have this removed you will see two small screws, these plus another screw on the opposite side need to be removed also.

Lift the entire top section straight up. You will need to make sure you do not loose the little black plastic switch from the flash.

Be sure to discharge your camera flash fully, so as not to shock your self on the flash circuit.

Step 2 – Hack away.

In order to give my holga a nice angular profile I decided to remove some of the plastic surround ready for my filter flash ring.

Once you have got the top section off, roughly mark an angled cut across the front of the camera. We are basically removing the entire front where the flash normally sits.

Using a coping or hack saw, carefully cut along the marked lines, I did try to hold the camera top in a vice, but instead resorted to holding the saw in a vice, and ran the camera top up and down it (watch those fingers!)

Once cut down, I trimmed off the rough edges with a knife, and sanding it down with some small files and sandpaper.

Once done, check that there is still room for your flash in the case.

Step 3 – Add on the filter ring.

Next, we glue the filter ring in place.

For this I used part of an old floppy drive motor, for the most part you just need to find something suitable for yours. Most of the time you could probably glue the filter ring in place directly.

Do this using the two part epoxy resin, they vary in how long they take to cure, I tend to use the 90 second stuff, which saves holding things in place for too long.

Step 4 – Paint Job.

Next, we want to mark off all the areas that you do not want to get painted.

Mainly the lens, and filter ring.

I do this using masking tape, normally the blue 24 hour stuff. (24 hours is how long it stays sticky for, then you can easily peel it off after that)

I then used white spray paint, as always you want to do lots of light coats. The first coat will not completely cover underneath, some should be showing through. If the paint starts to look glossy, wet or drips, you have put too much on.

Step 5 – Diffuser on the flash. Leather on the grips.

This step is kind of optional, but I think its well worth doing.

I used an old piece of plastic that I sanded using a fine grain sandpaper. I then cut it to shape and glued it inside the filter ring, make sure its clear of the threads on the filter ring.

As a finishing touch, I cut some leather to shape and glued this on the grips.


That’s it you’re done!

You can now use standard camera filters on your flash to your latest bits of art. Be sure to show me any that you have a go at yourself.

You may recognise this tutorial from over at Instructables, where I post all my projects, camera related or not.

written by gmjhowe on 2012-05-10 #gear #tutorials #camera #tutorial #colour #filter #tipster #flash #lomography #mod #holga #custom


  1. simonh82
    simonh82 ·

    Really good mod, you look like you've done a very thorough job. I like the idea of using scavenged bits of floppy drives for the filter mount.

  2. arurin
    arurin ·

    nice mod! i also love to mod my holga by drilling ;) yes..made a lot of holes on my holga!

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