How to Make Polarizing Filters

Written by damien richard
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How to Make Polarizing Filters
Making homemade filters can provide different light than conventional filters. (camera lens image by Richard Seeney from

Making a polarising filter from scratch will not only save a few dollars, but will allow you to create unique photos. Handmade polarising filters use light in a way that can't be found in conventional lens polarisers, making it appealing for all types of photography. Create polarising filters for point-and-shoot cameras and SLR lens that have small glass rings, like most standard 50mm lens.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tin can
  • Hacksaw
  • Black electrical tape
  • Foam cushioning
  • Utility knife
  • Hot glue gun
  • Round sunglasses

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  1. 1

    Cut 1.5 inches off the top of the tin can using the hacksaw. Cut the can gently; the can cannot be used if it is warped. If warping occurs, discard the can, and try again with a new can.

  2. 2

    Cover the inside of the tin can with black electrical tape. Ensure no tin is visible and that there are no folds in the tape. Fold the tape over the end of the tin can that was cut with the hacksaw to cover any sharp edges.

  3. 3

    Cut a small strip of foam cushion with the utility knife. The cushion is going to be glued inside the tin can so it should be long enough to wrap around the whole can. The cushion should be a quarter of an inch wide, and thick enough so that once it is glued to the can, the can will sit snugly on the camera lens.

  4. 4

    Glue the foam inside the can, on the end that was cut with the hacksaw. Using the hot glue gun, put a bead of glue on the back of the foam. Attach the foam around the inside of the can. Keep the foam near one end of the can.

  5. 5

    Attach a lens. Pop a lens out of the sunglasses. Fit the lens against the end of the tin can that does not have the cushion glued to it. The lens should be slightly larger than the can. Put a bead of glue around the outside of the can where it meets the lens. Hold the lens and can firmly until the glue has cooled. Let the completed filter sit for six hours before using to ensure the glue has complete set.

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