Making a Pinhole Camera #1

Suggested Grades



Students will make a pinhole camera and be able to see the effects of light traveling in straight lines have on images.


  • salt or oatmeal box
  • rubber band
  • tape
  • wax paper
  • pin
  • scissors
  • black paper


  • Punch a hole in the center of the box with the pin.
  • Remove the box top. Put wax paper over the box’s open end to make a screen. Place a rubber band over it to keep it in place.
  • Point the camera at brightly lit objects in or outside a darkroom.
  • You might want to shut the lights of in the class room and shine a flashlight at certain objects.
  • Have a class discussion on what the students saw on their screens and reasons why they saw what they saw.
  • (Light usually travels in straight lines. If you shone a flashlight through a hole from different angles, you would see that light coming from a low angle strikes high on the surface behind the hole and vice versa. When you see an image through the hole of the camera, light reflecting off the top of the object strikes the top of the screen. That is why the image you see is upside down.)