Peep Through These Easy Steps on How to Make a Pinhole Camera

How to Make a Pinhole Camera
Trying your hand at making your own camera? Refer this article which gives information about the parts of a pinhole camera and also teaches you how to make one for yourself.
HobbyZeal Staff
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018
A pinhole camera doesn't require any lenses and can be made in the comfort of our homes! Making a pinhole camera is interesting, easy, and can be the perfect project for middle school students. During the process, one gets to learn about the basic working principles of photography. Read on to find out how.

A pinhole camera is an extremely simple camera that can be made out of a shoe box, an oatmeal box, a canister, or any medium-sized box. Instead of lenses, it uses photographic film or photographic paper. The shoe box or canister that forms the set up, has holes and shutters in it, through which pictures can be taken.
  1. The first step you need to do is, collect all the essentials for making the pinhole camera. Collect the following things:
    • Large box with lid (shoe box)
    • Black tape/Black Spray/Black papers
    • Paper/ cardboard cutting knife
    • Photo paper
  2. Choose a box that has a large lid.
  3. Make a hole in the center of the box at one side. The circumference of the hole must be around 0.125 inches.
  4. The pinhole will act as a lens for the pinhole camera.
  5. Make sure that the only light that enters the pinhole camera is through the hole. Cover any other leak or hole in the box.
  6. Paint the box with black if it is made of cardboard or wood.
  7. Create a shutter for the pinhole by using the duct tape.
  8. Load the photographic paper safely in a dark room. Ensure that it is not subjected to any kind of light. Do it in a closed, dark room. Once you have placed the photographic paper, carefully seal the box.
  9. After you are done mounting the photographic paper, take the camera out, and place it in sunlight. Place the pinhole camera in front of the object whose picture you wish to capture for about thirty seconds to four minutes.
  10. You have taken the photograph, now it's time to develop the film!
Developing the Film

Opening of the Pinhole Camera
The entrance for the light is known as the pinhole opening. The size or the aperture of the hole decides the amount of light that will fall on the photographic paper or photographic film.

Shutter Mechanism
Like every camera, a pinhole camera too has a shutter which is made either with a tape or a cap that fits over the hole. The basic idea behind the shutter is to allow the appropriate amount of light into the camera.

Light Preventing Box
This is the most important part of the camera. The inner walls of the pinhole camera (if made with wood or cardboard) are covered with black paper or painted black with spray. Otherwise, cans and tin boxes are generally preferred, as they can be easily made light proof.

Support System
When the image is being taken, any movement or disturbance in the setting of the apparatus will cause the images to blur, so to get a clearer picture, fix or stabilize the equipment on a tripod stand or some other support.

Photographic Paper
The photographic paper is mounted on the other side of the box, parallel to the pinhole. When the distance between the film and pinhole is decreased, the size of image decreases and when the distance between both is increased, the size of image increases.

After you have taken the photograph, bring the pinhole camera in the dark safely, without letting it get exposed to light. If the room is not very dark, use the LED orange lights to avoid any light that can spoil the photographic paper. The photographic paper will act as the negative for your photograph. To get the positive, you have to keep the negative and positive together facing each other. The negative film must be on the top and the positive below it. After you have turned on the light for some minutes, dip the positive into the developer and water, that was made for this purpose. Allow the paper to dry for sometime and then your photograph will be ready!

Since very bright sunlight is required for good pictures, ensure that you take the picture on a sunny day. Don't move the camera while taking images as the image can be blurred. Keep these simple instructions in mind and you are good to go.
Pinhole Camera
Photo paper
Black adhesive tape