Tara's Craft Studio

Paper Crafting Projects


Retro Cameras

These cameras are being featured on the Pion Design blog here so be sure and check them out!   A while back, I made a movie projector and promised instructions for the bellows assembly.  Well I am posting the instructions today below, which are really quite easy!  These cameras have longer bellows than the movie projector bellows but are assembled the same way.  The WPC cutting file for these camera bellows can be downloaded from here.  The SVG cutting file can be downloaded here.  The red lines are score lines on the cutting file. The manual template is included below for those without an electronic cutting machine.  Although not pictured, these cameras have a small box on the back for holding small photos.

Tara's Studio Camera Nov 2013 img 28

Retro Camera Tara's Studio Nov 2013 img 9

Tara's Studio Camera Nov 2013 img 27

Here is a photo of the camera model I used for inspiration:

Tara's Studio Camera Nov 2013 img 11

Pion Design:                        For Mother, For Father
1/8″ thick chipboard
Dusty Attic:                          mini wrought iron fence, baroque corners, film strip
Tim Holtz Idea-Ology          hinges
self-adhesive gemstones
paper flowers
black plastic chain
circular metal lids with clear inserts

(each piece should measure approx 8 1/4″ length and 3 1/2″ maximum width)

camera bellows


1.  Cut and score the 4 pieces.  Notice that 2 of the pieces have a certain side zigzag score line pattern while the other 2 have the opposite zigzag score line pattern. It’s difficult to see the side zigzag score lines in the below photos.  Fold each piece like a fan making sure the mountain fold has the zigzag point at the score line.  The valley folds will have the zigzag point at the outer edge of the paper.  Each 2 pieces that have the same zig zag score lines will be assembled opposite each other on the bellows.  I made the pieces 2 different colors to more easily demonstrate this.

2.  Begin folding the side zigzag score lines.  You will fold in the mountains and keep the valleys out as shown below:

3.  Now repeat this with all 4 of the bellow pieces.  Notice below that one piece has zigzag fold lines going the same direction, and one piece has zigzag fold lines going the opposite direction.  This will allow the pieces to fit together correctly when assembled.

4.  Unfold and apply score tape right next to the long score line on the zigzags as shown below on both sides of one of the pieces.

5.  Refold the piece back into position and remove the paper backing from the Score-Tape.  Take one of the pieces with the opposite score lines (different color in my project) and hold it 90 degrees apart and begin adhering the sides together as shown:

6.  Repeat with the other side and your bellows will be almost complete with 3 sides now attached:

7.  Now with the final piece, apply Score-Tape as shown earlier and attach to the exposed sides of the formed bellows the same way you did above and your bellows is finished!


This project consists of 4 boxes and 3 of these are made with 1/8″ thick chipboard. The upright box is essentially an opened box inserted inside the lid as shown:

Tara's Studio Camera Nov 2013 img 3
1.  upright box lid:  cut the following pieces of chipboard:
BASE 3 1/2″ x 4 1/2″   x 1
4 1/2 x 1 1/4  x 2 adhere these pieces to the BASE’s long sides
3 1/4 x 1/14 x 2 adhere these pieces to the BASE’s short sides sandwiching between the long sides

2.  inner box:  cut the following pieces of chipboard:
BASE 4 1/4″ x 3 1/4″
4 1/4″ x 1 1/2″ x 2  adhere these pieces to the BASE’s long sides
3″ x 1 1/2″ x 2 adhere these pieces to the BASE’s short sides sandwiching between the long sides.

3.  bottom box:  cut the following piece of chipboard:

BASE BOTTOM  4 1/4″ x 3 1/2″
4 1/4″ x 3/4″ x 2 adhere these pieces to the BASE’s long sides
3 1/4″ x 3/4″ x 2 adhere these pieces to the BASE’s short sides sandwiching between the long sides.
BASE TOP 4 1/4″ x 3 1/2″ adhere this to the top of all the above sides

BASE BOTTOM:  2 1/4″ x 2 5/8″
2 5/8″ x 3/4″ x 2 adhere these pieces to the BASE’s long sides
2″ x 3/4″ x 2 adhere these pieces to the BASE’s short sides sandwiching between the long sides.
BASE TOP:  2 1/4″ x 2 5/8″ adhere this to the top of all the above sides

After assembling all the chipboard boxes, cover them with decorative paper.
Apply hinges to attach the upright box and the bottom box to connect them. It’s hard to see these hinges in the pictures above.

Attach the camera lens box to the front (smaller end) of the bellows.
Attach the bellows to the box sides as shown above.
Add decorative elements.

4.  OPTIONAL BACK BOX for holding small photos (not pictured)
This back box is not necessary for the overall camera design.  If you do want to include this however, it measures 3 1/2″ length by 3″ width by 1/2″ depth and should be centered over the back.   Mine was just made with card stock and decorative paper.

The bottom part of the flash attachment was made by just rolling up some decorative paper.  The top flash was made by cutting a circle.  Make a straight cut to the exact center of this circle and then overlap the cut edges to make a dimensional wide cone.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the camera construction! Have a great weekend!

21 Responses to Retro Cameras

  1. rachel says:

    wow!! amazing!

  2. gina o says:

    absolutely stunning! I so want to try this some day…thanks for telling us how.


  3. Belinda Basson says:

    These are just mind blowingly beautiful. Quite some paper engineer you are!

  4. Brenda Lee says:

    Wow! Absolutely amazing!

  5. Paula Gale says:

    this is amazing – stunning paper construction. Love it!
    Paula x x x

  6. Robin Ludwig says:

    What a fantastic altered art project! I want to try making one for my mom for mother’s day! Just Beautiful! Robin

  7. Mona Pendleton says:

    Wow Tara! These cameras are incredible! What stunning works of art! Thanks for sharing your creative process!

  8. Sue says:

    I so wish you would make a video while you are making those bellows 🙂

  9. Paula Gale says:


  10. Hester says:

    This toooo beautiful. I love it!!!

  11. Debbie says:

    I absolutely love this camera. However, I am having a difficult time with adhering the bellows. What kind of paper and tape do you use? Mine paper seems to tear and I have tried a variety of both single and double sided paper and when I eventually did get one together it wouldn’t stay taped….and another question: do you cut and score the bellows by hand? Hoping so because that is what I am doing. Thanks!

    • Tara Brown says:

      Hi Debbie,
      I have a Pazzles Inspiration cutting machine that I use to cut and score this project. It’s more accurate than doing it by hand, plus it’s much faster – it cuts and scores all the pieces in less than a minute! You can certainly do this by hand, but it will take some time as I’m sure you’ve already discovered. You absolutely must use Scor-Tape for this project. Scor-Tape is very strong and will hold the pieces together. I used the .125″ thick Scor-Tape but the .25″ would work also. Thin paper will not be strong enough for the bellows. I used Pion Design paper which is a sturdy, medium thickness paper and it worked great. I hope this helps! I would love to see your finished project!
      Take Care!

  12. Corine says:

    These are fabulouse projet. Super !

  13. megha jain says:

    stunning project tara, please tell me bellows are broader at one end and shorter at other ,what width you took at ends . please tell me.thanks

    • Tara Brown says:

      Hi Megha, the widest end measure 3.5″ and the narrowest end measure 2″. Hope this helps! Have a good weekend! Tara

  14. Lu says:

    I love your work! These cameras are great! I tired to go to the website and download the project tutorial but it wont work. I hope there is another way to download these instructions. Good luck.

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  17. Phylis says:

    Absolutely amazing. Love all of your work.

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