The Matchbox Pinhole Camera

The 2nd camera I built. It uses 35mm film and is made from a small matchbox. It was simple to build but was difficult to wind / rewind the film and it suffered from light leaks.

Making the camera is quite simple and doesn't take much time. Here is how I built mine, there are more detailed instructions with photos on the matchbox pinhole website.

List of Required Items

A matchbox, a new roll of film, an old roll of film, an empty foil food container, duct tape, a spiral binder, a needle, scissors, a sharp knife (Stanley knife, scalpel) and a sharpie.

Step One

To start, take out the tray part of the matchbox, and draw a 24mm square in exactly the centre. Cut the square out. Colour in the inside of the tray with the sharpie. On the outside box, mark out a 6mm by 6mm square in the centre. Cut it out as smoothly as possible, so the photos don’t have frilly bits on the end. If you can, colour the inside in as well.

Step Two

Next, cut out a square from the foil. Find the centre and make a hole, as tiny as possible, with the needle. Colour it in black as well, you don’t want light reflecting in the camera, and place it on the outside box. Move it around until the pinhole is in the very centre of the 6mm square hole. Then tape it on.

Step Three

After the pinhole, get your spiral binder and cut one loop off. Place it around the new canister of film, so it clicks when you pull the film. Tape it securely to the canister so it doesn’t move, this will be a clicker. It will help get more photos and waste less film when taking the photos.

Step Four

Then squarely cut the end of the film of the new canister off, and feed it through the outside box. Slide the tray back in. Get the old canister, and trim the film to about one centimetre. Measure it up to the end of the new film. Tape them together, then wind a bit into the old canister. Tape both canisters securely to the box, making sure no light gets in.

Grab the tape, and cover any holes in the camera that might let light in.