How to Make a Padded Lens Case Using Plastic Bottles

If you’d like a cheap and simple way to protect your camera lenses from rain and from drops, you can make a makeshift lens case using ordinary plastic bottles (e.g. water bottles, soda bottles). Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do so.

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

You’ll need to gather up some tools and ingredients used to make the case.

Ingredients-wise, you’ll need two identical plastic bottles (choose your type of bottle based on the size of your lens), spongy material (e.g. foam) for the padding, a zipper, and dental floss.

For tools, you’ll need scissors, a safety pin, and a needle.

Step 2: Cut the Plastic Bottles

Cut one of the plastic bottles to a length that’s a bit longer than your lens. The other bottle should be cut about half an inch from the bottle’s bottom, where it starts to become curved.

Step 3: Poke Some Holes

Using the safety pin, poke holes all around the edge of the 2 bottle sections. The holes should be separated by about a quarter of an inch.

Step 4: Attach the Zipper

Sew the zipper onto the bottle using dental floss (or some very strong thread) using the holes you just poked. This should connect the two bottles with your zipper in between.

Step 5: Form Your Padding

Cut two circles out of your padding material that are the circumference of your bottle. Then cut one rectangular piece that fits nicely around the inner wall of the bottle/case.

Step 6: Pad Up Your Case

Insert the two padding circles into the top and bottom of your case, and then place the rectangular padding all along the inside. You can glue the padding into place if they do not stay put naturally.

Step 7: Waterproof It If Desired

Finally, you can waterproof the case if you’d like to protect it against things like raindrops and splashes of water (not being submerged underwater). Cut a bicycle inner tube in half and sew it into a ring the circumference of your bottle case. Make sure it’s a very snug fit. Slide it over your zipper when you’d like to seal it, and slide it off when you need to open the case.

Voila! A water-resistent and shockproof lens case for just pennies!

Editor’s note: This tutorial was created by Instuctables member marcellahella.

  • FauxTaug

    So does semi-waterproof mean.. water resistant perhaps?

  • Michael Zhang

    Ahh, that’s the word. Thanks FauxTaug :)

  • Marcel State

    and perphaps some glue, so when get out the lens, you dont pull off the padding.

  • Jonathan Maniago

    The best way to flaunt one’s resourcefulness would be to whip out several of these at the airport security. Fun times to be had.

  • Mark Zyclander


  • John P.

    But how do you find a zipper exactly the right size?

  • Matthew Wagg

    If the camera companies weren’t such penny pinching tightwads, people wouldn’t have to do this. Lenses used to come in lovely leather cases, padded with foam. Or they came in hardcases. But its all about maximising profits now tho.

  • Bob

    The zipper store of course.

  • Barb

    Since I don’t cover the White House, or fly much, I love this idea. I, of course, have some more aesthetic modifications in mind. Thank you for sharing this clever invention!

  • Daniel Goodale-Porter

    Ghetto…..I think not. Besides being more than adequate for lens protection, it also adds a layer of theft protection. The same concept as storing your expensive photo equipment in a diaper bag.

  • Paul Watson

    awesome…not everyone is stinking rich and can afford lens cases…