I’ve seen some pretty weird cameras during my days here at DIYP. Creative folks made them out of most random things: from a pineapple or a mannequin, all the way to giant ones made out of old vehicles, and even buildings.
Just when I think I’ve seen all the unusual camera ideas, creative people surprise me with more awesome DIY projects. One of those people is a lady who goes under the nickname amuu. She made a 35mm film camera out of concrete and shared the instructions so you can make your own. It’s surprisingly good for something so rudimental, and it will give you some concrete results.
Amuu shared the detailed instructions at Instructables, but the principle is relatively simple. First you need to make a mold for your concrete camera body, and you can do it out of foam board. Once your mold is ready, mix the concrete based on the instructions, pour it in, and tap the mold gently against the table to get rid of the air bubbles. My assumption is that you can also do this with plaster of Paris, and get even smoother results.
Concrete usually dries between 24 and 48 hours, and you should spray the surface with water every once in a while. I normally do it with my crafts, but it all depends on the concrete mix you use so I’ll leave the finesse to you. But once your camera body is dry, you should demold it, sand it a bit to make it smoother, and paint the inside black to minimize any light reflections.
As for your lens, it’s a simple pinhole. You can use a piece of a soda can and gently push a needle through it to make the hole. When that’s done, glue it on the inside of your camera’s front. Lastly, you need to make the cover out of wood, as well as a film advance knob. Your camera is now ready, and you can load the film!
As far as the shooting goes, you do it as you would with any other pinhole camera. Slide the wooden cover to the side to reveal the pinhole, and count (or use a stopwatch) to get the correct exposure. You’ll find plenty of useful pinhole photography information in this article to make sure your exposure is correct.
And finally, here is a part of amuu’s results: