DIY Popsicle Polaroid Instant Camera (It Works!)

photo of polaroid made out of popsicle sticks

It’s nice to know that if you really wanted to, you could make your own Polaroid instant camera with just a few simple materials. Popsicle sticks don’t really come to mind when making a camera, but photographer Maxim Grew made it work.

What you’ll need:
• Wooden popsicle sticks
• Polaroid film holder
• Thick card stock
• Duct tape
• Lens from an old folding camera
• Fuji-FP 100C or Polaroid Type 100 Film
• Glue gun

The thrift store is a haven for cheap thrills and forgotten treasure, so keep your eyes open for old folding cameras; you want a lens that’s still in good condition even if the rest of the camera is unusable. Lucky for you, they’re fairly common and inexpensive. You might even come across a Polaroid film holder while you’re at it (if you don’t already have one lying around at home).

For the ‘instant’ part, you won’t have to scrounge for Polaroid film, which can be quite costly these days especially if you’re still experimenting. The Fuji FP-100C is an excellent alternative if you don’t have any Polaroid Type 100 film lying around.

Maxim has created a stop-motion video showing how he put everything together piece by piece.

He used some off-the-shelf materials such as the lens, film holder and Fuji film so it’s not completely from scratch, but the bellows and the body of the camera are made purely out of popsicle sticks, duct tape and thick card stock.

What an ingenious way of creating something out of spare parts, creativity and glue! Tons of cameras are available on the market, but it’s nice to know that we can make an instant camera that works remarkably well considering it was put together with scavenged parts. The only drawback to this camera is the focusing. “To use it out and about I would have to stick a rangefinder on it,” Maxim said.

Here’s a sample image taken with the makeshift camera:

sample photo taken with DIY popsicle stick polaroid
self-portrait by maxim grew

Polaroid cameras are sold for as low as $10 to hundreds of dollars on Amazon and eBay depending on the model, condition and rarity of the camera. Film is another expense to consider, and Polaroid film isn’t as readily available as it used to be, hence the augmented prices. With Maxim’s camera, you can use the Fujifilm FP-100C Professional Instant Color Film which sells for around $8 for 10 exposures.

Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.