10+ Awesome Ways to Upcycle Vintage Photo Gear
Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2
They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
You say as long as it’s related to photography, there’s no such thing as trash.
You keep shelves full of broken cameras, expired film, and 1MP digital cameras from middle school. (Nostalgia alert!)
Because we wouldn’t dare give away our precious cameras, we thought we might try to see if we could find some crafty projects to do with our vintage equipment instead!
Read on to learn how to turn an old TV into a glowing photo display, the best way to bring plant life to a dead lens, how you can make jewelry from your broken camera parts, and more!
p.s. Our buds at MOO just launched nifty new stickers that you can customize with your own photos. Head here to get 40% off all MOO stickers until 6/30.
Turn An Old TV Into A Backlit Picture Frame!
It all started when Baz from Atomic Indy found a free TV on the street.
It didn’t work, but he took it home to see what he could make with it anyway.
He took out the broken parts, added a standard lightbulb, and voila! A new place to display his favorite pics.
How to turn a broken TV into a glowing photo lightbox!
(Don’t feel like dealing with electricity? Check out this guide to turning your TV into a pictureframe!)
Bring Some Life To Your Dead Gear
No matter how old or broken the lens, it never feels good to toss out a piece of photo equipment.
We’ve got just the thing to cure the broken lens blues:
(Don’t have a broken lens or camera? Plant something nice in a lens mug instead!)
Stash Your Sleek New Cam In A Classic Old Book
So, what do you do if you’ve got an analog personality and a digital camera?
Give your camera new clothes!
How to turn a vintage book into a top-secret camera case!
(Hollowed books aren’t just for disguising digital cameras, either… Etsy user Engrained has transformed books into working pinhole cameras!)
Turn Your Busted SLR Into A Night Light!
Make it your night light!
With a broken SLR, simply remove the lens from the front, insert a small LED or keychain light, and re-attach the lens.
Use vintage Jars as Frames!
Did you know that you can transform your Grandma’s jelly jar collection into a beautiful gallery of photos for her to see every day?
…That all those mason jars and antique cups you’ve been collecting from flea markets can finally have their deserved 15 minutes of fame?
It’s true! (And super easy too!) How to use vintage jars as photo frames.
A Homage to Light
Buy one of these beauties for your favorite photog, or use parts from broken equipment to make your own!
Vintage Cameras Love Books Too!
Get your hands on two hefty & heavy vintage cameras and use them as bookends to hold up your photo book collection!
If the camera isn’t’ very heavy, you can make each side of the bookend stand sturdier by opening the camera and placing something heavy inside for balance.
Make it all!
Super-crafter Betsy repurposed her broken Kodak Brownie box camera, and here’s what she made:
- A brooch
- Two necklaces
- Two small storage boxes
Even more vintage projects to explore!
- Get inventive! Photographer Dana Neibert modified this vintage 8×10″ sheet film holder, built a matching case out of wood for photo prints, and now takes the set with him as a seriously impressive traveling portfolio! Read more about how he made it at the Photojojo Tumblr
- If you have a vintage camera with a waste level viewfinder, you can use it to take underwater pictures!
- Have an old Polaroid land camera and want to get more experimental? Try modifying it take 35mm film or turn it into a pinhole camera!
- Don’t want to sacrifice image quality, but still want your camera to have a cool upcycled style? Treat your sharp shooter to a 100% recycled seat belt strap!
- Have vintage lenses that still work but no compatible camera? Check out how to construct a 35mm box camera that takes vintage lenses!
- Looking for something you can make with a busted digital camera? Check out this awesome necklace made from a Nikon camera chip by sugarraindrops on flickr.
- Of course, if you have a small enough camera, you can always make a camera belt buckle like flickr user charlattecreations did!
- Last, but perhaps the most joyful vintage upcycle, turn your camera into a robot!