Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How to Make a Lamp from Vintage Cameras

How to Make a Camera Lamp
You know those people that have obscene collections of lifelike dolls or stuffed animals that they cling to and hoard because they think they have personalities or something? Yeah, I am that way with cameras. I take my digital SLR pretty much everywhere and I feel completely naked without it-- God forbid anything interesting should ever happen to me without a way to document it. ;) But most people only take their cameras with them on the most special occasions-- birthdays, graduations, weddings, bat mitzvahs, first bike rides, homecoming dances, adventurous vacations. Because of this, I think cameras are extremely special things. Out of all the objects we possess through our lives, our cameras are there to capture the best moments. They must pick up a thing or two about what it's like to live, right? ;)

About two years ago my Uncle Bill gave me an INSANE collection of cameras-- 35mm SLRs, a couple old Polaroids, a hand-cranked video camera, and a tiny camera from 1892. (One of the best gifts ever for a camera hoarder like me.) :) I spent a significant amount of time messing around with these cameras in addition to the cameras I already owned. I realized that there is not enough time in the day for me to use my entire camera collection. So instead of keeping my cameras cooped up in the cupboard, I decided to rescue those vintage cameras, imbibed with memories, from a life of boredom in a box.

How to Make a Camera Lamp

I've always been really inspired by some of the camera lamp upcycles I've seen around the web, from Anthropologie to Etsy, so I decided to take my own crack at it. And before any camera purists from Reddit get on here and chastise me for desecrating three perfectly good film SLR cameras, please save your characters. There was so much dust on the lenses and mirrors of these three cameras that they would've cost me more to professionally clean than to buy an identical camera off Ebay. Also, I have my parents' old BA Pentax K1000 for my 35mm film needs. ;)

The Inspiration:

How to Make a Camera Lamp
(Links above for sources.)

How to Make the Upcycled Camera Lamp:

How to Make a Camera Lamp
You need:
  • 3 Cameras
  • Lamp Kit
  • Lamp Pipe
  • JB Industro Cold Weld
  • Spray Paint for Lamp Pipe
  • Duct Tape
  • Clamps or something to hold the camera steady while the cold weld sets
  • Something with which to spread the cold weld

Step 1:

How to Make a Camera Lamp
The first thing you need to do is mix the cold weld. (1 part red tube, 1 part black tube. Not rocket science.) I swear, though, this stuff is incredible. When you let the JB Cold Weld dry properly, it is more secure than the security around the Popemobile. I've used it for many different projects and it is the best superglue/epoxy ever. If you choose to make a camera lamp with this stuff, those cameras won't be going anywhere.

Step 2:

How to Make a Camera Lamp
Start spreading the JB cold weld on top of the camera's hot shoe mount. Make sure that you have enough cold weld to secure the next camera, you can always wipe away the excess that seeps out.

Step 3:

How to Make a Camera Lamp
Secure with duct tape and repeat step 2 on the next camera's hot shoe mount.

Step 4:

How to Make a Camera Lamp How to Make a Camera Lamp
Before you let the JB cold weld dry, make sure your cameras are straight, secure, and sturdy. Duct tape really does the trick. You need to let the cold weld dry for 24 hours, but I let mine dry and set a bit longer.

Step 5:

How to Make a Camera Lamp How to Make a Camera Lamp
To finish off the lamp, you need to spray paint the lamp pipe black so that it blends in with the cameras. To secure the lamp pipe to the back of the cameras so that the cord stays hidden, use the JB cold weld and fill two of the cameras' viewfinders with the epoxy. Secure the lamp pipe and let the cold weld set for 24 hours. Then you just assemble the lamp. I found this tutorial to be very helpful on assembling lamp guts.

how to make a lamp

To make the color slide lamp shade:

How to Make a Camera Lamp
You need:

**And P.S.-- I've been working on this lamp since last summer, and I had a failed attempt at creating my first color slide lamp shade, but I just noticed this tutorial on Craftgawker this past weekend and I had to share. It is quite good and informative. :) #crazyTiming

Step 1:

How to Make a Camera Lamp
First you need to punch holes in the four corners of all of your slides. MAKE SURE that all of your holes are in the same places on the slides so that the slides will hang evenly. I tried to make this lamp shade over a year ago and I just poked holes in the corners of the slides willy-nilly. Do not do that. Take your hole punch and punch in the same spot over and over. :) Then take your jump rings and piece all of the slides together.

Step 2:

How to Make a Camera Lamp
Connect all of the holes, testing it against the top of your lamp shade as you go. Link them to the lamp shade ring with additional jump rings.

And voila! ;)
How to Make a Camera Lamp
How to Make a Camera Lamp
How to Make a Camera Lamp
How to Make a Camera Lamp

How to Make a Camera Lamp

And now I can sleep in peace knowing that these cameras are getting the love they deserve. ;)


Erin said...

stacie WOW. this looks so great, and even better since it has a lot of meaning for you!
Erin @ Thanks, I Made It

Stacie Grissom said...

Thank you so much, Erin!!! That is such a compliment coming from you! :)

Sophie said...

Stacie, I love your lamp and especially the lamp shade. This is a great idea ! Thank you for sharing the nice things you make. I love to visit!

gingermakes said...

Super cool!!

Caroline said...

this is so awesome. very impressed, as always!! :) i love you!

Laura said...


DeAnn @ The SIP project said...

This is AWESOME! You need to come check out my blog so we can be blogging BFF's :) I love finding stuff like this and people who are just as rad. I love your pic and what you said in the top left corner of your blog. So glad I found your blog!

Tomboy Jen said...

This is just incredibly cool.

Madalynne said...

Ummm... this is so amazingly cool!

Marie/Underground Crafter said...

Wow. I think I will try to get some vintage cameras from my mom's collection to make one of these! Thanks for sharing.

janmadeit said...

I love this! I have scads of color slides and after I scan the ones I want to keep I'll be making this lamp shade!
And the lamp. A wonderful way for me to display some family keepsakes!

Charles Smith said...

I love this, but I'd use screws and hot shoe mounts, so as not to damage the cameras. In fact, I'm about to go eBay hunting now!


Candice said...

You've been Candoodled! I'm completely amazed by this project so I've shared it. Check it out:

Lori said...

Love this project! I'm into Viewmasters right now and would love to do something similar with them and the reels, instead of cameras and slides. I've been doing a 365 project of my own, and it's one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. I retired last year, got a Sony NEX 5 for Christmas, and take it everywhere.

Mary Carol Hogland said...

Love it! ;) mary w/b

Jack Jones said...

amazing!! love this... very well constructed

Charles Edward Smith said...

Instead of ruining the cameras using JB Weld, you can actually get adapters that will mount a tripod screw to each hotshoe. You can then screw each camera together non-destructively. These things: http://choppercharles.com/photos/tripod_adapter.jpg You can get them from eBay for a song. If you rig up a way to attach the adapters directly to the metal rod (I suggest a piece of brass and some plumbing or silver solder), you can build this without ruining the cameras.

Thao Pham said...

super thanks ^^

danica said...

can i use negatives cause i couldnt find any place that sells slides anymore.

ChopperCharles said...

I finally built one of these. Haven't made the shade yet, but I was able to make mine completely non-destructive. The cameras are attached to each other with hot-shoe-to-tripod-mount adapters, and sandwiched between the adapter and the camera bottom is a bracket that connects to the lamp tube. It's extremely sturdy this way. I also mounted it to a nice stained wooden base (Michael's/AC Moore craft store). Pics:



StacieGrissom said...

Wow!!! Amazing!! Thanks so much for sharing, Charles!

StacieGrissom said...

You can use whatever you'd like! I've seen slides in thrift shops on occasion. :)

Angela said...

As a photographer I absolutely love this!! I want one now. Gonna see if I can be crafty enough to make one. :) Thanks for sharing!!

Naomi said...

This is very cool! I love the shade especially. You might like this lamp attachment that's a current Kickstarter project too. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/enlightphoto/phlitetm-enjoy-your-camera-gear-all-the-time?ref=live

Aaron said...

It makes me think of Ed Gein's lamp of human skin. Those cameras could have gone on to make such wonderful images.

ChopperCharles said...

eBay for slides

ChopperCharles said...

I went back and loaded one of the cameras with film, and focused it on my couch. Put batteries in so the auto-exposure system works too. Every now and then when I have people over I'll press the shutter. In a year or two, once the film is all taken, I'll have an interesting montage of the people that have been in my house.

Valeri Murphy Picchi said...

ChopperCharles, love this! great idea so as not to ruin the cameras!

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AlyssaDippolito said...

I'm the same way with cameras! My Poppop recently passed away and my Mommom have me all of his old cameras that don't work anymore. I've been looking for something to do with them to honor him and this is perfect. Thank you so much!

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