How to make a Pintoid pinhole camera of your very own!


You’ll need:

empty Altoids tin

flat black spray paint

discarded pie tin (or similar)

cardboard (matboard is better)

sandpaper (about 150 grit)

carborundum paper (or extra fine sandpaper)

sewing needle

black tape

drill and bit (around 1/8″- 1/4″)





center punch

wood block (cut to size to support the tin.)


magnifing light



Sand the inside of the clean tin with the 150 grit sandpaper. Get it good and scuffy, so the spray paint will stick.

Spray paint the inside of the tin, making sure to cover all of the inside surfaces. You may tape off the outside surfaces to avoid overspray, but you don’t have to.

Once the paint has dried, place a wooden block inside the tin (optional) to keep the metal from buckling when you center punch (also optional) and drill your tin.

Optional step: Centerpunch your tin (on the ingredients side) directly in the center of the tin.

Drill your tin directly in the center of the ingredients side of the tin.

Cut a small square out of the pie tin. Here, I’ve glued my sewing needle into a clothespin. I make a lot of these cameras and the clothespin makes for an easier grip on the sewing needle.

Set the cut pieceof tin on the piece of cardboard (or matboard). Keeping the needle straight, push directly down excerting a minimal amount of pressure. Continue pushing down slightly while turning the needle back and forth. It might take a few pieces of pie tin to get the knack of it.When the needle is just barely pricks the cardboard, you’re there! Stop!

Turn the new pinhole upsidedown on the board. Use your carborundum paper (or very fine grit sandpaper) to smooth the back of the pinhole.

I use a magnifying light to clean out the pinhole. Holding the piece of pie tin with tweezers, lightly put the needle into the pinhole. Don’t apply pressure. Spin the needle just a bit. Inspect the hole using a loupe of magnifying glass to be sure it’s perfectly round and free of debris.

Use black masking tape to tape the pinhole into the tin body, aligning the pinholehole in the center of the drilled hole.

Be sure the pinhole is in the center of the drilled hole.


I double-up the black tape to make the shutter. Simply tear a couple of pieces of tape and stick them over the pinhole. This will act as your shutter. You remove the tape to expose the film (or paper). You could also use some of that magnetic material, cut to size. I find, though, that magnets get knocked off easily. I prefer the tape.

Click here for .pdf instructions on how to use your Pintoid.


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