How To Build A Soft Focus Filter From A Sink Drainer

Here is a quick and fun project submitted to our How I Took It Contest by Nick Cool. It shows how to build a soft focus filter (kinda like a lensbaby soft focus) from a small-hole sink filter.

This is what the resulting photographs will look like out of camera.

DIY soft focus filter

You will need:

  • 1 x Stainless steel small-hole sink filter
  • 1 x inexpensive filter with the needed diameter


  • 1 x electric driller (I used an electric screw driver)
  • 1 x scissors for metal
  • 1 x permanent marker
  • 8mm, 7mm and 4 mm drill bits
  • Black paint

DIY soft focus filter


1. Unscrew the ring that hold the glass on the filter and remove the glass from the filter frame.

2. Put the filter frame over the sink filter and mark a circle using the inner part.

3. Enlarge the central hole of the sink filter with the 8mm drill bit. 6 to 10mm drill bits will work too.

4. Enlarge external holes with the others drill bits, you can experiment for desired results holding the sink filter in front of the camera lens and shooting. I made 4mm holes on the fist circle and 7mm holes on half of the holes of the external circle.

5. Once you get the results you wanted cut the external part of the sink filter with the scissors and then adjust it to fit on the filter frame.

6. Paint it black and mount it on the filter frame using the ring.

7. Enjoy it at maximum aperture!

DIY soft focus filter

P.S. If you think plumbing and photography works nicely, you are right, both the plunger cam and the shower head tiltshift would be happy to meet the strainer filter.