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How to Build a Wood Pinhole Camera

2012-12-24   Views:3

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Pinhole cameras, the oldest and most basic kind of camera, make use of the physical properties of light to capture an image without a lens. Though not difficult to make, loading film or photographic paper into a pinhole camera in the dark takes pract

How to Build a Wood Pinhole Camera

Pinhole cameras, the oldest and most basic kind of camera, make use of the physical properties of light to capture an image without a lens. Though not difficult to make, loading film or photographic paper into a pinhole camera in the dark takes practice and using one may involve a bit of trial and error.

Skill level:Easy

Things you need

Wooden cigar boxBlack poster paint or acrylic paintBlack electrical tape1 inch wide paint brushBlack construction paperScissorsTwo sheets of shirt cardboardSmall, round awlNumber 10 sewing needle

Instructions

1 Choose a wooden cigar box made with tongue and groove joints and an overlapping lid.

2 Paint the box black, both inside and out.

3 Seal all the joints, inside the box, with black electrical tape. This ensures that no light will leak into the closed box.

4 Cut a strip of black construction paper about an inch wide and long enough to wrap around all four sides of the box.

5 Tape the cut strip of paper along the inside of the opening of the bottom of the box so that about a 1/2 inch projects above the edge. This "flange" prevents any stray light from entering the box along the seam between the lid and the body of the box.

1 Using the awl, make a round hole, about 1/4 inch across in the centre of the bottom of the box.

2 Sandwich a 2 inch square of black construction paper between two pieces of shirt cardboard. Pierce with the needle.

3 Lift the cardboard and paper sandwich up and continue twisting the needle into the pinhole up to the midway point of the needle. The cardboard and the twisting motion help ensure a smooth pinhole.

4 Tape the paper square over the awl hole in the bottom of the box so that the pinhole is centred over the larger awl hole.

5 Make a shutter of a piece of black construction paper, hinged with tape above the pinhole. Hold the shutter closed with more tape before and after exposing the film.

Tips and warnings

Quality wooden cigar boxes can often be found in junk shops or tobacconists shops. Tobacconists sometimes sell empty wooden boxes for a few dollars.

Kodak recommends that a pinhole of about 1/75 of an inch in diameter (midway along a number 10 sewing needle) will produce a focused image when the distance between the pinhole and the back of the camera is 3 to 6 inches.

To take a picture, film or photographic paper is taped to the back of the camera, opposite the pinhole with the emulsion facing the pinhole. The emulsion side of film is the side that roll film curves toward. The emulsion side of photographic paper is the shiny side.

Loading film into the pinhole camera needs to be done in total darkness. Photographic paper can be loaded into the camera in the light of a red photographic safelight. Kodak suggests that a flashlight covered with several layers of red cellophane, placed 6 or 7 feet away, can be used instead of a safelight.

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