Homemade Polarizing Filter

Written by jennifer gigantino
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Homemade Polarizing Filter
Many cameras filters are expensive. (camera image by Alexandre from Fotolia.com)

To improve your landscape photography, a polarising filter is one of the first camera accessories you should invest in. It works by filtering out light that polarises at a 90-degree angle to the camera lens, thereby reducing the glare of reflections from bodies of water and other shiny surfaces in landscapes. A polarising filter also makes skies appear to be a deeper, richer blue and darkens shadows. Although factory-made polarising filters can be expensive, you can make your own out of an old filter attachment and any number of household objects.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Filter attachment
  • Polarised material
  • Box cutter or other sharp implement
  • Sandpaper
  • Glue

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  1. 1

    Obtain a filter attachment that fits on your camera, either by buying a special empty attachment, repurposing an old or damaged filter or making your own out of a can or even a cardboard tube.

  2. 2

    Trace the outline of your lens attachment onto the polarising material.

  3. 3

    Cut the shape of the filter out of the polarising material, making sure the cutout is about a quarter-inch longer in diameter than the actual filter attachment.

  4. 4

    If the edges of the cutout are sharp, sand them down until they are smooth.

  5. 5

    Glue the cutout to your filter mount. Clamp it under a book or other heavy object if desired. Let the cutout dry completely before using it.

Tips and warnings

  • You can purchase polarising film from science or optics retailers, or you can use the lenses from 3-D glasses or polarised sunglasses. An LCD computer screen will also work.

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