Making the Shutter...

(Shouldn't make you shudder!)


From a file folder, measure and cut out two strips, 1 inch by 7 inches each. These strips will become the shutter guides. Cut two 10-inch strips of electrical tape and stick them over the shutter guides, leaving about 1 1/2 inches of tape overhanging each end of the shutter guides.

The shutter is made from two parts. Cut a 1 1/2 x 2 inch piece from the file folder. Also cut from either the file folder or from heavier cardboard (such as a breakfast cereal box) a strip 3/4 x 5 inches long. Fold the strip in half, then bend out the two "legs" as above, put a spot of glue inside the handle and wrap electrical tape around it. Finally, glue the shutter handle onto the shutter slide. Hold the shutter handle down until the glue hardens. The result: a pinhole shutter!

Place the shutter guides on the camera and align them over the pinhole box. Stick them down gently at first because adjustments will become necessary to allow the shutter to slide easily. Unstick one end of the shutter guides and insert the shutter. Re-align the shutter guides as necessary to allow the shutter to slide easily (but not too easily!) while uncovering and covering the pinhole. Ready for the last step?

Slide the shutter open and, with an inkpen, make a visible mark above and below the pinhole. These marks allow you to line up the pinhole shutter's handle directly over the pinhole. This makes the shutter handle an aiming device which will be useful when you take pictures with your new pinhole camera.

Finished! Notice the shutter handle sticking out from where the pinhole is located beneath the mark on the shutter guide. The smiling Quaker now is gagged; only his friendly eyes remain visible. This completes building the pinhole camera. Now it is time to set up a darkroom. Pinhole cameras must be loaded with film in a darkroom, and the pictures taken with them can only be developed in a darkroom. The drugstore wouldn't know what to do with film exposed in an oatmeal-box pinhole camera: this is a do-it-yourself process. Before loading the camera, check the "new" plastic lid to be sure that it is completely painted black, on both sides.  The new lids fit tightly to the camera box, but if not completely black, light may come through causing a "light leak" and ruining any pictures made with a leaking camera!


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Making 35mm Film Can Pinhole Cameras