Making a Pinhole Camera

Resource Info

Basic Information

Arvind Gupta shows how you can make a simple pinhole camera.

00 hours 30 mins

The Pinhole Camera or the Camera obscura is a simple camera without any lens. To make the Pinhole Camera you need an old cardboard box (25 x 15 x10) cm, black paper and butter paper, a needle and a candle. First cut a large window on the top surface of the box. Apply glue on the window frame and stick butter paper. The butter paper will become the camera screen.

Then cover the rest of the box with black paper. Why black paper? Because the camera box should be totally light proof and no light should enter from any joint. Carefully mark the centre of the black box and then make a tiny hole or aperture with a needle point. Stand the box vertically and place a lighted candle a little away from the aperture. Candle light will enter through the hole and you will be able to see the inverted image of the candle flame on the butter paper screen.

How does it work? Light passes through the small hole and projects an inverted image on the opposite screen.
Now draw a circle near the aperture and make 4 more equidistant holes. This time you will see five inverted images of candle flames.

You can become more adventurous and make 9 holes. This time you will see nine inverted images of candle flames. This work was supported by IUCAA and Tata Trust.


Making a pinhole camera


  • aperture
  • lens
  • focal length
  • why it is an inverted image


Activity Steps: 

Pinhole Camera

You can watch it being made.



18477 registered users
7227 resources