DIY Camera Bellows

Written by aryeh raphael
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DIY Camera Bellows
Learn how to make a camera bellow. (film-camera on camera-bag image by Andrii Oleksiienko from Fotolia.com)

If you are interested in macro photography but don’t want to spend a lot of money on the necessary equipment, there is a simple project you can do to save money. Constructing your own bellow is an easy project that will allow you get the most out of your macro photography. The bellow is attached to the lens of your camera and extends out toward your subject matter to block out any light interfering with your shot. You can make as many as you wish to fit any type of camera, all using the same basic method.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Blackout curtain
  • Sharp scissors
  • Glue
  • Stiffening fibre strip
  • Masking tape

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Use a pencil to draw two squares on a piece of paper. Draw one big square that is to be the wide, open end of the bellow and one smaller one for the other end of the bellow.

  2. 2

    Measure one side of each square and write down the measurements on a piece of paper.

  3. 3

    Decide how long you want the bellow to be when extended and write it down with the other measurements.

  4. 4

    Draw five trapezoids on the blackout curtain using the measurements that you have. The top of each trapezoid will have the same measurement as the length of the side of the small square. The length of the side of the bigger square will be the measurement of the base of the trapezoid. The height of the trapezoid will be how long you want your bellow to be.

  5. 5

    Cut out the shapes with sharp scissors.

  6. 6

    Lay the fabric trapezoids on the table. The shorter side of each trapezoid should be on top.

  7. 7

    Glue strips of stiffening fibre to each trapezoid. Attach the stiffening fibre in horizontal rows, with each row of strips 1/8-inch apart.

  8. 8

    Arrange the shapes together so the long side of each one is lined up with the shape next to it. You should now have an arc shape.

  9. 9

    Tape the shapes together with masking tape on the side of the fabric with the stiffening fibre.

  10. 10

    Trace the stiffened material onto another layer of black fabric and cut it out.

  11. 11

    Lay the fabric shape on a table; cover the shape with glue.

  12. 12

    Place the stiffened arc on top of the glue on the piece of fabric. The stiffening should be face down toward the glue.

  13. 13

    Fold the arc so that the pieces of trapezoid shapes form four sides. Overlap and glue the fifth piece to the first piece of trapezoid. Then stand the whole piece on its wide end.

  14. 14

    Starting at the top end, fold the piece along the horizontal lines between the stiffening. You should alternate between folding in and out to create an accordion fold until the entire piece has been folded.

Tips and warnings

  • As an alternative to a blackout curtain, use old black sheets or clothes to save money on fabric.
  • Keep the bellow folded when not in use to prevent damaging it.

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