Summer of Science: Making a Camera…Seriously Making a Camera

Yes, we sincerely made a camera. Don’t believe me…keep reading, follow along, and make one yourself! Supplies for Making a Camera 
  • cardboard box (we used a Pop-Tart box but any smallish one will work)
  • magnifying glass (Taking a toy bug collector and breaking it apart to get to the magnifying glass inside is not the best option, but it worked for us.)
  • toilet paper roll
  • vellum or tracing paper
  • transparent tape
  • scissors
  • flashlight
  • subject matter

Cut out the top of the box. Cutting off the top of our camera.
Next, cover the open top with a piece of vellum or tracing paper. Putting the Camera together
Flip the box over and on the bottom cut out a circle then wedge in a toilet paper roll. Making the lens to our camera
Hold the magnifying glass in front of the toilet paper roll, moving it back and forth, tipping it up and down, until an image appears on the vellum. Homemade Camera
The goal is to use natural light but we had no luck until we brought out the flash light and directed it straight onto our toy. Using a Homemade Camera
You see it…don’t you?  Yes, it’s upside down but we’ll get to that in a minute!  You have no idea the happy dance that happened after this image appeared! Image from a Homemade Camera Another Homemade Camera Image

Explanation:  Cameras work much like our eyes.  A lens (magnifying glass) reflects the light of an object onto a piece of film (vellum paper) just like our pupil, iris, and lens work together to project images onto our retina.  This is sooo a watered down explanation but you get the point right?  If not check this out.

So before I went to BlogHer we had a science experiment throw down and while we were playing around, trying to make spectrums we accidentally created a camera with a bowl of water.  See the photos below.

This is a window. Window
This is an image of said window after light has passed through the bowl of glass (that acted as a lens) and reflected it onto a piece of black construction paper.  Awesome right? Homade Camera Water Bowl
Sometimes I really love when things work!


  1. That is so cool! I will definitely have to try this when my kids get older. Thanks for sharing!


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