Make Your Own Camera

Your Challenge: Take a photograph with your own homemade camera! Polaroid camera

What You Need:

Oatmeal canister painted black with lid (also painted black)

Rubber bands

Photosensitive paper

Safety pins

Masking Tape

Black paper

Here’s how:

  1. With a pin, poke a hole in the center of the bottom of the canister.
  2. Now wrap the black paper around the outside of the canister and align the edge of the paper with the bottom of the canister. At the top of the can, the paper should extend past the wax paper top by at least two inches.
  3. Secure the paper to the can with masking tape.
  4. Cover the pinhole with a piece of masking tape.
  5. Quickly take out the photosensitive paper, place the blue side against the top of your canister, and then cover the back with the lid.
  6. Remove the tape from the pinhole for five minutes, and replace it when the time is up. (This is your exposure time.) Do not move the camera during this time!!
  7. Submerge the paper in cold water for about four minutes. Remove the wet paper and allow it to dry.



How does this work?

  • The paper contains chemicals that change color when exposed to light, giving you the negative image.
  • The first person who managed to make a “photographic” snapshot constant, that is to fix the image was Joseph Niepce. The very first snapshot in the history of photography is considered “view from the window,” dated 1826. The exposure of the shot lasted 8 Hours!
  • The first color photograph was taken in 1861 by James Maxwell, the British physicist.
  • The longest light waves you can see are red, and the shortest are violet.
  • Scientists study the properties and behaviors of light in a branch of physics known as optics.
  • Light is the fastest thing in the Universe The speed of light in a vacuum (an area empty of matter) is around 186,000 miles per second (300,000 kilometres per second).


Related Careers:
Engineer,  Physicist

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