How to Build a Pinhole Camera in 4 Steps

Go beyond the lens with creativity. To take dreamlike and surreal images, you can make your digital camera into a pinhole camera. Here’s how:

The tools needed to make a digital pinhole camera, are:

A digital camera and body cap, a dremal drill with 1/8” drill bit, thick electrical or duct tape, a clamp, curved needle nose pliers, the smallest sewing needle you can find, sand paper, and a pop can.

Step 1 – Cut out a section of aluminum from your pop can. Take your scissors in hand and poke the pop can on its side close to the bottom’s edge.

Proceed to cut carefully keeping the scissors pointed away from you at all times. Since the can is very sharp you might want to use gloves, but it is not necessary as long as you are careful. Then cut into a ¾” square.  This does not have to be too accurate since we only need it to cover the 1/8 inch hole we will drill next in the body cap.

Step 2 – Now take your pliers and clamp the smallest sewing needle you can find with it. Make sure you have a firm grip then proceed to poke a small hole in the center of you aluminum square. Tip: the smaller the hole, the sharper the image and the longer the exposure. Think of this hole as the aperture.

Step 3 – Proceed to clamp your body cap firmly to the edge of your work table using a protective surface underneath. We used mat board.

Cannon has provided a perfect center point for drilling. With safety glasses on, drill a 1/8” hole in the center of the first “n” keeping your drill as vertical as possible.

Then take a small piece of your sandpaper and remove all the shine from the surface of the back of the body cap. A dull surface is what you need to eliminate any reflection inside the camera.

Step 4 – Then, take your small square of aluminum; center it on your cap and align the holes. Once aligned, tape the square to the body cap on all four sides. Make sure it’s light tight. Then, remove your lens from the camera and place the body cap on.

Now you’re ready to have fun taking some creative digital pinhole images.

Image exposure will range from 1-2 minutes depending on your pinhole size, amount of light photographed and your ISO setting.  We recommend using the lowest ISO available for long exposures and sharper images.

AubreyK | 4/27/2015 11:49:54 AM | 4 comments
American Frame

Try it out if you can! It's really fun and the bonus is that since it's digital and not film, there's no money wasted...
5/4/2015 11:44:09 AM

American Frame
Thank you! It's pretty fun to experiment!
5/4/2015 11:43:24 AM

What a fun project!
5/1/2015 2:27:29 PM

This is very cool. Thanks for doing this. It's been so long since I did one of these that I forgot about it.
5/1/2015 12:13:21 PM

About this blog

Mike Cromly
So, who’s Mike? He is the man behind the mission of getting your picture frames produced and out the door quickly, correctly, with custom frame shop quality. Once your order is placed, it is in the hands of Mike and the many people he has trained over his 35+ years with the company. A natural teacher, he loves to tinker and experiment. Of course he has a nice office, but we rarely find him there. Working in the plant and improving our processes is his passion. Outside of American Frame, Mike is an outdoorsman, avid fisherman, devoted family man and Ohio State Buckeye fan. Mike's Twitter
For more tutorials and articles, take a look at our other blogs - A Good Frame of Mind or At Your Service

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