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.