Create a Camera Out of Paper

Learn how to Create a Camera Out of Paper here! #FunForAll

We’re back to cameras again. Sure, a printable lens hood is handy, but how about printing the whole camera?

It sounds crazy, but some very crafty folks at a Czechoslovakian magazine managed, in 1979, to design a paper-bodied “Dirkon” model that actually uses 35mm film. You can view the original image and instructions, along with English directions. It’s all downloadable as a PDF.

The camera operates as a pinhole camera—it might be a bit too much to expect from paper that it have a mechanical shutter. You’ll need to experiment with exposure times and the like, but it’s a great little rainy-day project for teaching children the basic principles of film photography.

The building process is a little bit complicated (though no more so than many papercraft projects), a testament to the amount of ingenuity that Cold War oppression can inspire in people. But given the profusion of cheap electronics that the free market hath wrought, the Dirkon camera is mostly a novelty today.

Still, if you can manage to build a working model, you’ll be way cooler than the average Canon-carrying tourist—at least in our book.

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