Create your own simple camera obscura, the early ancestor of the camera. Create soft images upside down, then flip them into the 21st century with your smartphone.

Resource by Lindsey Smith.

Step 1: You will need...

2 boxes of similar size

Make sure they are at least 16cm in length and fit inside each other

Step 2: more things:

  • Tracing paper
  • Black gaffa tape
  • Black insulation tape
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Craft knife
  • Magnifying glass (You can use children’s mini magnifying glasses)

Step 3: Cut a circle out of one box

Cut a circle out of one end of the larger box.

Use the inside of the insulation tape roll to create a good size circle.

Use a craft knife to cut it out.

Step 4: Attach a magnifying glass

Attach it over the cut out circle using electrical tape, making sure it’s secure.

This is the lens that will focus the image.

Step 5: Cut the tracing paper

Cut the tracing paper to a size that will cover one end of the smaller box and secure it in place with gaffa tape.

Step 6: Put the two boxes together

Push the end covered in tracing paper into the other box, with the lens facing away.

Step 7: Create your image

Point the lens towards a bright outdoor area (not directly at the sun) and look through the other end at the tracing paper screen.

Pull and push the boxes in and out until the image comes into focus.

Step 8: Put it all together

When you find the point of focus secure the two boxes together.

Decorate them with coloured paper or tape if you want.

Step 9: Take your photographs

View the world upside down and back to front inside your camera obscura.

Take photos of the inside image or video the world as people walk upside down and clouds glide across the ground.


Share your photos with us! Send us your photos by email or DM us on instagram @photoworks_uk and add the hashtag #cameraobscura

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