How to Make a Paper Camera

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Spawn your child’s interest in photography. Make a paper camera with a view finder that outlines imaginary pictures. This paper craft uses a rectangular box with a rounded lens and a viewing tube for the future photographer to see what pictures will look like. Top it off with a shutter button to make a paper camera that just might become a favorite toy.

Things You'll Need

  • 8 1/2 by 11 construction paper
  • White copy paper
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Fold a sheet of construction paper in half in the direction of width.

  • Open the paper and bring both ends in to meet the middle and fold, creating quarters. The quarters form the outer camera body.

  • Open the paper again and make a 1 1/2 inch fold down both sides lengthwise. These strips form sides to box in the camera.

  • Open the paper and bring one end up to the third quarter fold. Press the paper against itself and draw a rectangle 1 inch by 1/2 inch in the upper left corner. Draw the rectangle at least 1/2 inch away from all folds. Hold the paper together and cut out the rectangle through both sections of the page. The two holes open a view finder.

  • Open the paper and refold the sheet into quarters. Open again, refold the two lengthwise strips and hold them folded. Pull the end quarter with the rectangular hole up at a 90-degree angle. Pinch the side strips into triangles, inside the box frame. Tape the pinches to hold the quarter section at the 90-degree angle.

  • Follow the procedure in Step 5 on the next two consecutive quarters. Leave the top flap open to insert a viewer tube and stick on a lens.

  • Fold a separate sheet of black paper in half at the width and bring one side to the fold to make a quarter. Mark a 3-inch line along this quarter fold. Cut along the fold. Then cut down to the edge at a 90-degree angle to free a small rectangular sheet. This will become the viewing tube.

  • Fold the viewing tube to fit the rectangular holes. Hold the small sheet with the quarter page length sideways. Start by folding 1/2 inch, then 1 inch, another 1/2 inch to make the tube meet. Tape the edges together, forming a rectangular tube.

  • Stick tape to the inside of the tube with an excess flap to stick on the outside of the camera. Open the camera and tape the tube to both view finder cut-outs.

  • Cut a 1 1/2 inch strip from the remaining quarter of the black sheet. Curl it into a tube and tape closed. This is the outer lens.

  • Release a small strip of tape from the dispenser and partially stick it to something nearby, so it’s retrievable with one hand. Roll a section of white copy paper into a cone. Slip the outer lens over the outside and mark the tube’s length on the cone. Hold the cone’s shape and remove the tube. Tape the cone together between the marks and cut out the marked section.

  • Cut a 1/4 inch strip from the remaining length of black construction paper. Coil the flat side around a pen and hold for a few seconds.

  • Slather glue over the inside of the cone. Pull the inside end of the coiled black strip through the narrow opening and uncoil strip against the glue in a spiral from the wide end to the narrow opening. Let dry for 20 to 30 minutes.

  • Stick 3 strips of tape to the inside of one end of the lens tube. Fold them against the inner tube to angle them to the inside. Press the angled tape against the front of the camera body. Roll 2 tape strips into a loop with the sticky sides out. Stick these to the outside of the wide end of the cone. Slip the cone into the lens tube and press the tape loops against the inner tube.

  • Fold a small piece of black paper into a bundle that’s as wide as a strip of tape. Tape it to the camera top at the upper right to act as a shutter button.

  • Close the top flap of the camera body and tape it together at the outside. You’re ready to play.

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