La Sardina DIY: An Easy See-Through Trompe l’œil Cover


Whoopee! I just got a La Sardina DIY! This customizable camera comes with two types of covers - a set of white ones with a matte surface for you to draw on your designs directly, or a set of clear plastic ones for use with designs drawn on paper. While I decide upon what to draw on the blank canvas of the white version, I thought it would be fun to give my camera a see-through effect using the transparent covers.

Trompe l’œil is a two-dimensional painting technique that gives an optical illusion of three-dimensional reality, using photorealistic pictures to extend a vista that isn’t really there. Here's how you too can create a trompe l’œil effect of seeing-through your La Sardina DIY.


  • La Sardina DIY camera package (which includes a screwdriver)
  • a roll of 35mm film (optional)
  • a flatbed scanner
  • a printer
  • a pair of scissors or a craft knife


Step 1: Remove the viewfinder cover by unscrewing the two screws on the top using the screwdriver that came with the camera. This will help the camera to rest horizontally when placed on its back.

Step 2: If you’d like to have an image of a completely empty camera, skip to step 3. If you would like to have a roll of film in the image, then open the camera back and install a roll of film. For this example, I will be using a roll of Lomography Sunset Strip X-Pro film.

Thread the film lead into the spool with a few wounds, just enough to cover the visible area.

Step 3: Do not replace the camera’s back cover. Take the camera to the scanner.

Make sure the film is wound on fairly tightly and do not replace the back cover.

Step 4: Place the camera in the center of the scan bed, with the back of the camera touching the glass (i.e. the lens is pointing upwards).

Note: in this photo, I have already jumped a few steps and disassembled the camera’s front cover (step 10).

Step 5: Scan the camera at 100% scale and a minimum resolution of 300dpi.

Step 6: Print two copies of your scanned image at 100% scale. Do not fit to page size or margins.

Step 7: Place the transparent plastic template of the camera back over one of the prints. Draw around the outline and the inside edges of the cut-out for the film window. Take care that the print and the plastic cover are the right way around in relation to each other, and in relation to the camera back. (Note: the film window cut-out is not vertically centered on the cover. Also, see photo in step 9.)

Step 8: Repeat step 7 for the front cover template using the second print. Take care that the print and the plastic cover are the right way around in relation to each other, and to the front of the camera. (Note: the cut-out for the lens is not vertically centered on the cover. Also, see photo in step 9.)

Step 9: Cut out the two prints along the edges you have just drawn. Your finished cut-outs should look something like this:

Make sure the details you want to see are not cut-off around the edges – remember that any details close to the edges will eventually be hidden behind the frame.

Step 10: Follow the instructions on the La Sardina DIY microsite on how to disassemble the camera for customisation.

Step 11: Remove the white covers that came installed with the camera. Replace with the transparent covers, placing the paper cut-outs underneath. (Note: don’t forget to remove the protective plastic sheets from the surfaces of the transparent covers, if this is the first time you are using them.)

Step 12: Reassemble the camera. Replace the viewfinder cover.

Now you have a La Sardina with a see-through effect!

A La Sardina DIY with a trompe l’œil see-through effect, as seen from the front...
...and from the back.
You can make further versions using different types of films, if you wish.

Personalize your very own La Sardina camera with the La Sardina DIY. Drop by our online shop or from our worldwide gallery stores to get yours!

written by digitaljunk on 2012-09-27 #gear #tutorials #design #film #tips #camera #tutorial #cover #tipster #decoration #x-ray #scan #transparent #customization #la-sardina-diy #dress-up #optical-illusion #trompe-l-oeil #see-through


  1. jawatembak
    jawatembak ·

    this is certainly the tools to break the ice when join lomowalk.. :)

  2. jaszee
    jaszee ·

    definitely awesome. even though i dont have a DIY Sardina, ima' do it on my other camera! :)

  3. geegraphy
    geegraphy ·

    So cool! :)

  4. brunamotta
    brunamotta ·

    LOVE IT! after this tip I wish I could buy this la sardina *-*

  5. mafiosa
    mafiosa ·

    Awesome idea!!!

  6. clownshoes
    clownshoes ·

    Great stuff!

  7. mensa
    mensa ·

    this is super clever! i just wish i had any la sardina to do this on... :)

  8. sarah-addison-dobard
    sarah-addison-dobard ·

    Great idea! I just realized I'm a total moron. I assembled my La Sardina DIY by taping the images I wanted to the white plastic, then putting the clear plastic over it, and screwing it in place. It took some modifications and lots of cursing, but I finally got the two pieces to screw on, but now my camera is bulging. I realize what a moron I am!

  9. 110isnotdead
    110isnotdead ·

    That's awesome, now all i need is the La Sardina. lol

  10. pearlgirl77
    pearlgirl77 ·

    just coool!

  11. roxanneross
    roxanneross ·

    the best idea for a la sardina diy customisation i have seen so far :)

  12. awesomesther
    awesomesther ·

    Agree with @roxannross - the best by far I've seen! -2 thumbs up!-

  13. trw
    trw ·

    So cool! Thanks for the tipster!

  14. ujeong
    ujeong ·

    genius idea! great tipster! :D

  15. djramsay
    djramsay ·


  16. digitaljunk
  17. digitaljunk
    digitaljunk ·

    @sarah-addison-dobard Hey, I looked at my Sardina DIY package (box, manual, etc) again after reading your comment. No, you’re not such a moron, I don’t think! Because it isn’t really explained how someone is supposed to use the transparent covers. (And the featured artist camera samples only show the customisation using the white covers!)

  18. sarah-addison-dobard
    sarah-addison-dobard ·

    @digitaljunk Well thanks, that makes me feel better! Amazing idea, by the way! The next time I decide to change my La Sardina design I'm definitely using this idea!

  19. deprofundis
    deprofundis ·

    It is my favourite idea for a la sardina diy! Congrats

  20. djramsay
    djramsay ·


  21. george97
    george97 ·

    no problem mate its a very good idea!

  22. flashstalker
    flashstalker ·


  23. johnccc
    johnccc ·

    Love it !

  24. yokekei
    yokekei ·

    this is awesome. I love it :)

  25. ajagee24701
    ajagee24701 ·

    That's Brilliant!!!

  26. disdis
    disdis ·

    sooo goood!

  27. djobrien687
    djobrien687 ·

    Such a cool idea, considering a La Sardina DIY

  28. robertofiuza
    robertofiuza ·

    Super cool!

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