A pinhole camera is a simple camera without a lens and with a single small aperture, a pinhole – effectively a light-proof box with a small hole in one side. Light from the pinhole projects the scenery onto photographic paper or film inside the box.
The pinhole camera's origins can be traced back to the 10th century BC, and many believe Johannes Vermeer and other artists from the Renaissance used pinhole cameras as a tool for making highly detailed paintings.
Here is how to make it!
Step 1: Gather Materials
You will need a box of some kind, photo paper, a thin piece of metal like a can or brass shim, tape, xacto knife/razor blade knife, needle, and sand paper.
Step 2: Make a Pinhole
The pinhole is like the lens of the camera. Poke a tiny hole in the brass shim with a needle and sand it smooth. Trim the shim so there is a little space around the hole.
Step 3: Make a Camera Box
A shoe box usually works best, but you can use any box with a similar shape. The box has to be light proof, meaning no light inside the box when the lid is on and the only light comes through the pinhole.
Make sure to seal all holes and light leaks. Seal the box and paint it flat black. Cut a small square opening in the box for the pinhole to go in.
Step 4: Place the Pinhole and Make a Shutter
Tape the pinhole you just made behind the square opening in your box. Electrical tape seems to work well. Center the pinhole in the square.
Then make a shutter. It is just a flap that covers the pinhole from the outside. It can be made from some more electrical tape.
Step 5: Load the Photo Paper
You can get light sensitive photo paper from any camera store. Inkjet/laserjet paper will NOT work!
You must load the paper in complete darkness. You can make a darkroom in a bathroom or closet and use it for developing and changing paper. Tape a piece of photo paper to the inside of the box across from the hole.
Put lid on and make sure the shutter is closed. Now you can go out in the light. Be careful moving you camera, you don't want to move the paper inside the box.
Step 6: Make a Picture!
Point the camera at whatever you want to shoot. It works best when it is bright and sunny.
Depending on lighting and clouds hold shutter open for 30 seconds to a couple minutes then close the shutter. Since the images that come out are usually imperfect, I tend to wing it..
The box and paper must stay perfectly still.
Once you have taken the picture, go back to the dark room and take paper out to develop.