DIY Lens Made Out of Construction Paper, a Reading Puck, and Some Cardboard


Here’s an awesome DIY project put together by photographer and student Cormac Relf. In a recent fit of DIY-ness Relf decided to create his own homebrew lens. As far as materials, he used only a glass reading puck — the kind your grandparents might use to see their reading material better — and some cardboard.

To start, he rustled up a reading puck, some cardboard tubing, some construction paper, tape, a stapler and a permanent marker:


Using the marker, he blackened in the inside of the cardboard tube that will serve as the aperture housing to minimize light leaks. Then he cut out a circle of construction paper, cut an aperture out of the middle of that circle, and attached it to the aperture mount.

Finally, he wrapped a piece of construction paper around the glass puck, using two staples as end points between which the glass can move in order to “focus.” This is what the two pieces looked like when he finished:


Then all he had to do was insert the aperture housing into the mounting plate (being careful not to harm the sensor) and place the glass element on top of the newly inserted aperture. It’s not pretty, and he had to hold it in place while using it, but it works. Here’s what those last two steps look like, one by one:



As makeshift as this is, we weren’t thinking the results would be very good, but we were wrong. They’re certainly not perfect, and there’s a lot of room for improvement, but here are a few sample shots Relf took using the homebrew lens:




Relf’s design got pretty popular when he shared it on Reddit earlier today, and along with the popularity came a few suggestions for improving the lens that he hopes to put into practice, along with several requests for more photos.

To keep abreast of further developments with his DIY creation, including more sample shots (hopefully) soon, keep an eye on Relf’s “Homebrew Lens” Flickr set here.

Image credits: Photographs by Cormac Relf and used with permission.

  • Aleksandar Aleksić

    now i suggest him to make a… hm, let’s say 1500mm lens? photo quality doesn’t matter, just to see the result is enough. :)

  • 5444444444

    nikon user never had a better lens.

  • RDT

    Can you say “sensor dust”?

  • Duke Shin

    Anon, is that you? You’re the guy who posted this on /p/ yesterday, right?

  • Duke Shin

    Does pouring a cup of sand onto a desert do anything?

  • Cochese


  • Choen Lee

    Did anyone else misread ‘Comic Relief’?

  • truikos

    Canon fanboi so brave

  • Mansgame

    he could have used a piece of black paper and a pin to make a pin hole lens and got better results.

  • John

    It’s a D60. He probably doesn’t care.

  • KewlDewd

    Isn’t this like reinventing the wheel…and making it square?

  • Björn Lubetzki

    to me it looks like one of those “just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should” – project. i’m not saying, that there are bad ways to spend some time, but i’m not seeing the value here. if the image quality was somehow different, but kinda cool….instead the image looks like a blurry lensbaby/free lensing image. free lensing can be shot with any lens, so you could basically take an old film lens from god knows what manufacturer, which costs as much as the construction above an may get better images. you may not have the fun constructing the whole thing, but what is the point if you just get blurry images?

  • KH

    It’s funny seeing people waste even more of their time commenting on stuff they probably didn’t want to bother to look at in the first place. It’s his gear, who cares? I swear, some people would complain if they had nothing to complain about.

  • William Zhang

    Sheezh, my time worth more than that, better do something else.

  • TrevorSherwin

    Please can we stop encouraging this idiotic DIY stuff. OK you can make a lens of of crap you found at home. Woo Hoo. This serves no practical purpose. Nobody will need to do this.