A pinhole camera is a very basic photographic device that can capture still images. You can make a pinhole camera using leftover containers or other material found at home and this is an interesting science project for your children to make at home and display in class or to their friends.
- An empty long cylindrical tube such as a Pringles chip can or any other cylindrical can with the lid
- Tape, ruler and marker
- Utility knife or X-Acto knife
- Aluminum foil - about a foot long sheet
Cleaning. Clean out the can and the lid thoroughly to remove any residue or particles.
Cutting the can. Draw a circle around the can about 1½-2 inches from the bottom using the ruler and a marker. Using the utility or X-Acto knife, cut along the marked line on the can. Don't allow the children to handle the knife or this part of the process as they can harm themselves. The tube will now be in two pieces, one longer hollow tube and a smaller tin with the covered bottom. Make a small hole in the bottom of the can using a thumb tack or needle.
Preparing the camera. The plastic lid of the can will be used as a screen and if it is made of clear plastic cover it with white wax paper or a piece of tissue, making the lid look translucent. Cover the lid over the smaller can and place the long hollow tube over the lid. Tape all the three securely with tape.
Binding the aluminum foil. Tape one end of the aluminum foil across the length of the taped tube. Roll the aluminum around the can at least twice and tape the other end of the foil to the can as well.
Using the camera. Take your pinhole camera outside and hold it up to your eye, with the pinhole surface away from you. Cup your hands around the tube near your eye to shut out any light whatsoever, from entering the tube. When focused on any object, the plastic lid inside will act as a screen and you will see an inverted image of the object you're focusing on!
Making a pinhole camera is not very complicated and it can engage your children's time and effort, while making the learning process, fun and interesting.