Repurpose Your Unwanted Film Holders as Picture Frames

Do you have old large format film holders lying around that you no longer have any use for? You can breathe new life into them by transforming them into nifty picture frames.

Photographer Todd Linn of North Park Studios tells us,

Since we have been in business for over 15 years, we have a large closet full of old large format film equipment. One of the items we have in abundance is the sheet film holder. Messing around one day, we realized that they make cool frames.

Just make your prints the size of 8×10 or 4×5 sheet film. Slide them in from the bottom just as you would with a piece of film. Take the dark slide you pulled out and, with a utility knife, cut just below the white area and reinsert. You can hot glue picture frame hardware onto the back or drill holes into the holder to mount your new frame on a wall. Changing prints is easy and is done through the bottom.

If you have multiple film holder frames, you can create a collage for your wall:

A Flickr photographer named Steve had the same idea, and writes,

With film photography, particularly medium to large format, on the decline, items such as 5×4 film holders are available on eBay dirt cheap. I had a bunch left over from my Speed Graphic days and wondered what to do with them. Playing around with some scrap 6×4 prints I discovered that these holders were ideal ‘frames’ that took a 6×4 and stood up on any flat surface.

Essentially the trick is no more than making a print on 6×4 size paper or cutting down a larger print and then carefully feeding the print through the felt lined light trap entrance, where the film used to go and then trapping the end of the print in the film catch slot. If you have double sided holders then you will need the dark slide or another print to hold the reverse side catch slot closed.

Image credit: First two photographs by Todd Linn, Film Holder 6×4 picture frame Part 3 by Steve -

  • Dan Domme

    This post needs to be taken down. Large format photography is seeing a resurgence if anything, and there’s no reason for any film holders to go to waste when they’re perfectly usable, or at least serviceable. I mean, this is like posting an article entitled, “How to turn Fido into a fashionable wallet” to the SPCA blog.

  • joakimbergquist

    Hi Michael. Really like the way PP approaches photography with these professional articles. But would you please find an iOS compatible plugin. Tired of reading the complete site on my phone :)

  • ricky munez

    …did you just compare a film holder to a dog?

  • WowReally?

    What an utter waste.

  • Braca Nadezdic

    I agree completely, Don Domme!

  • Marschal A. Fazio

    I have to disagree that large format photo photography is dying. I have been in the market for a large format camera and have seen a recent increase in prices for both entry and advanced models

  • Shawn Hoke

    What!? 8×10 film holders are rare and damned expensive. You could buy several 8×10 frames for the price 8×10 film holders are going for an Ebay. If Todd doesn’t need that closetful, then send them to me!

    Does look kind of cool, but I think it’s a bit early to be labeling MF and LF formats as dying, when the prices on equipment are going up so much.

  • Dan Domme

    Yeah, probably a stretch in terms of finding a good metaphor. But the important point remains that wasting valuable film holders like this when people who are just starting to discover large format photography are looking for such equipment is maddening.

  • Todd

    Marschal come on by I will give you a good deal. Shawn come and get them. Dan I hope your swing and tilt capabilities are better than your metaphors.

  • Joey

    Repurpose your unwanted film holders by selling them to people who still use them!

  • Shawn Hoke

    Todd, I was half joking, but if you have a stack of 8×10 film holders you want to get rid of at a reasonable price I would be happy to PayPal you some cash if you ship.

  • Brampton Picture Framing

    One of the items we have in abundance is the sheet film holder. Messing around one day, we realized that they make cool frames.