Recycling the Christmas packaging

When the turkey’s done, the pud’s been eaten, the bottles emptied and all are sick of sweets and chocs, there’s one more thing to do before trashing the wrapping.

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With the Christmas festivities over, there’s nothing I like better than rummaging through the discarded tins, boxes and packaging in search of a potential pinhole camera.

Top of this year’s list was a neat cylindrical box that had housed some deliciously more-ish dark chocolate mint thins. Here’s how I elevated it to its true purpose! (click on the images to view full size.)

For the pinhole I use Art Emboss matt black aluminium foil – a roll cut into 2 cm squares makes a lifetime of pinholes, but the simplest pinholes are made by making a hole in a piece cut from an aluminium drinks can. To make the pinhole I use a punch/drill made from a cut-down eraser pencil with a pin pushed into the eraser (cut off the head of the pin and push it in with pliers). Lightsealing is achieved by the judicious use of sticky-backed felt cut from inexpensive sheets.

At this time of year the A&E department of the local hospital is likely to be busy so I took particular care using the craft knife when cutting the hole in the box over which the pinhole was to be placed. I use black PVC electrical tape, which is light tight, to stick the pinhole in place.

It took only an hour or so to convert my Mint Thins Chocolate Box into a Pincam, photographing the process as I went. I loaded the camera with a piece of Ilford MGIV RC Satin paper and gaveĀ an exposure of about fifteen minutes under the same lighting and of the camera I used to record the conversion. The camera lens was about 80mm from the pincam. Here’s how the paper negative and the scanned, inverted final image look:

Now, with Hogmanay coming up I’m sure I spotted a big tin box of shortbread and at least one Laphroaig cylinder box …

Author: Donald Tainsh

A lifelong explorer of photography

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