Build a pinhole camera

Turn recycled cans and boxes into a DIY camera

While it’s definitely fun to use a nifty app on your smart phone to take cool, vintage-looking photos, if you really want to impress your friends, take a picture with a beer can! A pinhole camera can easily be made out of many recycled household items—beer cans, soup cans, shoe boxes—and the images created can be unique and often very artful.

Materials for pinhole camera:

• Container (cans, oatmeal box, shoe box or any other suitable item that can keep light out)

• Black paint

• Photo paper

• Black tape

• Tools: needle, box cutter (or X-Acto knife or can opener), and a dark room

• Optional: separate piece of metal, thick paper or cardboard for the pinhole

Paint your container inside and out with flat black paint. Then, poke a hole in one end (or poke a hole in a different piece of material and affix with black tape over a bigger hole cut into container). Use a piece of black tape over the pinhole for your shutter. In a darkroom, tape your photographic paper opposite your pinhole and close it up. Set up your camera, peel back tape/shutter and take your photo. Develop in a darkroom.

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