How To Make A Pinhole Camera

Pinhole Cameras were one of the first cameras every made. Materials used were simple and over the years, the materials and camera itself have evolved to higher levels of sophistication. However much the world has digitally advanced, it can be quite a fun activity to make your own pinhole camera – here’s how.


You will need

A box
Photo paper
Thin piece of metal like a can or brass shim
Black electrical tape
Xacto knife
Sand paper


  1. The pinhole is like the lens of the camera. Poke a tiny hole in the brass shim with a needle and sand it smooth. Trim the shim so there is a little space around the hole.
  2. You can use a shoe box, oat meal box or whatever. The box must be light proof. When the lid is on and the shutter is closed the inside is completely dark. The only light comes through the pinhole. Make sure there are no holes or openings in the box. Seal it and paint it flat black. Cut a small square opening in the box for the pinhole to go in.
  3. Tape the pinhole behind the square opening. Center the pinhole in the square. Then make the shutter which is just a flap that covers the pinhole from the outside. It can be made from some more tape.
  4. This must be done in complete darkness. You can make a darkroom in a bathroom or closet and use it for developing and changing paper. Tape a piece of photo paper to the inside of the box across from the hole. Put lid on and make sure the shutter is closed. Now you can go out in the light.
  5. Point the camera at what you want to shoot. It works best when it is bright and sunny. Depending on lighting and clouds hold shutter open for 30 seconds to 4 minutes then close. Everything has to stay perfectly still. Go back to the dark room and take paper out to develop.
  6. You will need developer, fixer, water, tongs, towels, and a safe light in you dark room. It must be pitch black when safe light is off. You can use orange LED halloween lights as a safe light. It is cheaper and you get more light than a small red darkroom bulb.
  7. The paper from the box will be a negative, to make the positive put another piece of photo paper under the developed negative face to face. The negative must be on top. Use a piece of glass to press them together and turn the lights on for a few seconds. Make sure your extra photo paper is safe and covered or it will all develop black. Now develop the positive. It goes in the developer then water then fixer then water then air dry.

For step-by-step images and article source, click here.
To learn more about photography at a college, click here.

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