How to Make a Pinhole Camera (kit)

Can you really make a pinhole camera — a working film camera — out of cardboard?  I’ve done several posts about film cameras, but never one on pinhole photography.  So, I decided to give the Create Your Own Pinhole Camera kit a try.   In this video, I’m going to show you what’s in this kit, then I’ll try building the camera, and finally we’ll see if it really works, and how well it works.

The Pinhole Camera Kit

The Create Your Own Pinhole Camera kit contains the following items:

  • A beautiful 140+ page book by John Evans
  • Cardboard camera parts
  • Brass pinhole squares (.15mm, .2mm,  and blank)
  • Take-up film cassette
  • Tape, tripod mount, winder knobs, instructions
Pinhole camera kit parts

Pinhole camera kit parts.

Make a Pinhole Camera with Glue and Patience

Making this pinhole camera involves a lot of folding, gluing and clamping of the cardboard components.  I followed the step-by-step instruction booklet to the letter, making sure to carefully mark, glue, and tape things into place. The video provides a more detailed look at all the steps.

The front section of the camera being assembled.

The front section of the camera being assembled.


Using the pinhole camera.

Using the pinhole camera.


The first shot from the pinhole camera.

The first shot I captured with this pinhole camera.

I used Fujifilm 200 Speed film (35mm) and had the roll processed by a local lab.  Unfortunately, I only have a few images to show.  The winder knob connected to the take-up spool wasn’t engaging properly for most of the shots, so the film didn’t advance after the first few frames.

Overall, I’d say the process of putting a working film camera together, out of cardboard, was fun.  I can’t say I really enjoyed using the camera.  Somehow, I missed the feeling I get from hearing the click or thump that comes with tripping a mechanical shutter.  The image quality is about what I’d expect from a camera like this; not great, but it’s got the lo-fi characteristics I’m a sucker for.  The book that comes with this package is very nice.