Aug 3, 2012

Making a Macro Lens from a thrift store find!

My wish list includes an Olloclip, but until I get one, I wanted to find a way to get some macro shots with my iPhone.

After viewing a few tutorials for making one, I decided to give it a try with a cheap $1.99 camera I bought at a thrift store.

make your own iphone macro lens from cheap camera

I broke it open to remove the lens (with help from my husband).  A ring dropped out of the camera so I have no idea where it was located, but I knew it would come in handy.

parts for making an iphone macro lens

Next, I glued the lens to the ring with super glue.  Sorry the shot is fuzzy, but I didn’t have a macro lens yet!

macro lens iphone

I then had to figure out a way to adhere it to my camera without going to a lot of trouble – this is a temporary lens until I invest in the real thing!  I decided to use my kneaded rubber eraser to adhere it to my iPhone.  I took a tiny strip and pressed it around the lens ring and it worked!

gum eraser to attach macro lens

Ta-daa!  I’ve got a macro lens!

DIY macro lens for iPhone

Here are a few of my macro shots.

macro shot of eyeball with iphone

Below is an eraser without the macro lens

close up with iphone camera normal lens

and here is the shot with the macro lens

macro shot with homemade macro lens


I need a steady hand to get the really close shots so I’m looking into a tripod for my iPhone, but in the meantime if I enhance them a bit you can’t see the blur!
Here’s one enhanced with the Painteresque app.

flower with macro iphone lens

Happy snapping!

28 comments:

  1. So I did find you again, but am having trouble getting your button for my blog. There is not a tag to expand the window, and I am picking up way too much information;. You can look at my blog and see what I mean. Not sure if it is your button or something i am doing.

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  2. OMG, Geri ... You are soooo clever. I never would have thouht of that! I'm so glad you're in my circle!!! ;->

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  3. Super cool, Geri. You are like McGyver with an iphone. Cool.

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  4. @Amy Putkonen - thanks! It was so fun when I found out my efforts worked!

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  5. This is really cool! I had to find out how you made that little lens after hearing about it on your instagram feed. I am going to put that on my to do list! Nice new blog too!

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  6. Looks like you struck gold on your thrift shop adventure. I'm impressed.

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  7. Ok I have read and retread how you did this, but still do not understand how you got the gum eraser to stick to the lens and then to you phone. Can you tell me?

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  8. Thought you might like to look at this site, http://photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/cell-phone-lenses-new/. I really like it, the site that is. I have not yet bought the lens yet. Thou I have been thinking of it for some time now. Anyways , thought you might like to take a look at it. Looks like the one you said you would like to get,this one is a bit cheaper,too.

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  9. Wow this is such a great idea. Now I'm kicking myself for finally (after 8 years+) tossing my old film point & shoot that didn't work!!

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  10. @lej619 - sorry! I mistakenly called it a gum eraser - it's a kneaded rubber eraser. I changed the instructions on the post!

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  11. Hi! This is brilliant. So much so that I took myself to our local Goodwill and bought a two dollar camera and after deconstructing it was able to procure 4 desperate lenses from the whole. They each have different abilities and I am having so much fun! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  12. @Lola Baily - now aren't you the smart cookie! I'm tempted to go look for another camera and see what else I can find!!!

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  13. Thank you for the push needed to actually do this! I'd tried before without success with other small magnifying lenses. I saw your solution on Pinterest. I bought a $2 Nikon camera at the thrift store, took apart half a million cogs, wires, screws and other bits, and chose a small rectangular lens from the viewfinder. (The big glass central lens doesn't magnify on its own, and is too big.) I mounted my little rectangle in a strip of flexible plastic with a hole punched out, and it slides into the camera hole in my iphone case. It works great! It makes a (at closest) 2x2.5 inch focus go down to .5 x .75 inches, with nice sharp detail. Thanks again!

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  14. @kcbirder so glad that you had success and that my tutorial gave you that push! It opens up a whole new world with an iPhone!

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  15. I am soooo going to try this! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

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  16. @Laura Solkey - I hope you have good luck with your macro lens!

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  17. Such a cool tutorial!!! :) Love the lens effect. :)

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  18. @A.L. Designs Jewelry - thanks!

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  19. I like it too , very interesting

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  20. I love it! Very clever and I love the effects the lens produces.

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  21. Hi Geri, I'm posting a link to your 'upcycled lens' over to MobiTog - I don't recall seeing it there - and it's a 'must read' :)

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  22. Thanks! I never did post to MobiTog! I appreciate it

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