Plastic Camera Makeover DIY

hi there! i am excited to share with you a new project i made this week. it’s scary doing DIYs for the first time (sometimes it can be a disaster in the experimenting stages!) but this one worked out even better than i’d imagined. here’s my idea for giving your cute plastic ‘toy’ cameras a makeover….

Elsie_holga i’ve been collecting plastic cameras for a few years now. Holga, Polaroid, Lomo and Diana are just a few of the ‘toy’ cameras that have become so popular for their unpredictable and perfectly imperfect photos. recently i decided to start collection blue cameras because i want to do a home decor display with them when they aren’t in use.

Elsie_blue_polaroidi decided to try to paint a few of my plastic cameras that i already owned to match my new collection. here’s the ‘BEFORE’ photo:

Plastic_camera_beforethe Holga was a gift (so sweet) and the lomo super sampler is a recent eBay purchase. i scored a great deal because the camera was used and in pretty bad cosmetic shape (although it still works perfectly!).

choosing the right paint is the most important part of this DIY. i used indoor/outdoor craft paint. it is very inexpensive and can be purchased at most craft stores. here are some brands that i’ve tried….

Craft_paint choose the colors you fancy the most and grab a few small paint brushes if you don’t already have some.

Aqua_blue_paintit took me about three coats of paint (dying completely between each coat) to put a ‘base color’ on my cameras. i used a tiny brush to do the edging on the Holga (i always prefer to use a small brush over taping edges off, but that would work too). Next, I added the flower design (and my name… i couldn’t resist!) to the Holga and a cute little heart to the Lomo. i gave them 24 hours to dry, just to be safe! 🙂


Hope you enjoyed this! It’s a really fun DIY and a great way to makeover items you already own!
Plastic_camera_DIY_tutorialXOXO. elsie

  • I love your Polaroid! I’m looking into getting one do you know of any places where I can get one?

  • So I was looking all over the net to find a cool tutorial to paint my camera and I found one on pinterested.. you know I wasn’t even surprised it came from your website 😛

    Elsie you are brilliant.


  • wow I just said pinterested.. shows that I can’t multitask.. I meant pinterest haha

  • That’s cute and all. But I still prefer Wedding Snap. I LOVE IT!

  • Heeey i just get my Holga, what is the thing that is by the side of the camera?

  • 25日午前10時半ごろ、北海道白老町の白老港から南東約10キロの沖合で、登別市の登別マリンクラブ所属の遊漁船「MIHO7(ミホセブン)」(全長7.3メートル、定員14人)が転覆。乗っていた船長の沢田行雄さん(63)=登別市千歳町=と釣り客4人が海に投げ出されているのを、近くにいた漁船が見つけて4人を救助したが、2人は死亡。1人が行方不明になった。

  • so cute! i love your blog and instagram:) your so fashiony! i’m working on starting my own fashion company like you along with my twin sis and dad:) even though i’m only 14, i hope it will happen soon:)

  • Oh my god..I’m going to try this out on my polaroid! So it could be unique and only mine! ;D;D

  • wow. it is unbelievable. I love it so much . Thanks for your sharing. cool .great. I sure I’ll come back soon.

  • I am going to do this…like…right now!! I have a holga sitting a few feet away and a whole bucket of acrylic paints, too. WHAT HAVE I BEEN WAITING FOR??!!

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  • i thought the holga was covered in paper to begin with…your painting is VERY pretty! (beyond my abilities…)

    i was wondering where you get your 120film developed? or do you have a 35mm adapter?

  • oh my goodness, this stole my heart!!

    Question, what paint brush do you use to get such flawless lines?! I’ve seen really clean lines in all your paintings and I’ve always wondered which ones you use (I paint a lot myself 🙂

    Keep up the beautiful things!

  • you drew that!? at first i thought you used a sticker! sigh, i have clumsy hands and fat fingers! I can’t draw! i’ve got a hugeass fujifilm instax 200. bulky and in a ugly dark blue and grey colour. i’ve been wanting to add some life to it but my clumsy hands and fat fingers discouraged me to do so. HAH.

  • this turned out beautiful.
    I about had a heart attack today when I came home and found out that my cats knocked over the basket that had my canon 50D camera in it along with my 580 external flash. It was on the kitchen counter so it had a long ways to fall onto a hard floor. I immidiately looked it all over and took a picture. It works. I just hope it didn’t ruin anything. It about made me sick.

  • Love them! I have a Holga, but I haven’t used it in years. Not since my last photography class… do you develope your own film, or take it in? (I developed my own, which is probably why I haven’t done it in a while. Silly me.)

    Anyway, they both look fabulous!

  • such a great idea! i have a holga and i keep thinking it looks so plasticky and boring. i’ll have to give it a go!

  • Elise….you never cease to amaze me with your creativity. I love reading your blog on a daily basis and am constantly surprised (in a good way) by all the imaginative inspiration I find….keep it up!!

  • BEAUTIFUL! You’re always full of such great ideas :] I’ve seen you display your cameras on shelves & whatnot, but when you’re using them out & about, do you use any camera bags? I just got a Canon Rebel XS for the holidays, so I’ve been searching everywhere for an adorable camera bag. Unfortunately, everything I’ve seen is either ugly ugly ugly or is cute, but super-expensive. As a camera-lover, I was wondering if you had any insight. Thanks, Elsie!

  • Cool! I’ve got a Holga that could do with a makeover…all I need to do first is keep the back plate from falling off and killing my film! Eeek! But they’re pretty fun cameras, all the same.

  • hi,el!
    i’s writing from poland,it’s far far from you i guess.
    but what i have to admit,there’s one genius world that describes you-inspiring!
    you make my life sunnier? day by day!

  • this is such a great idea! i have a collection of polaroids that i adore for their individual appearance, but i think i might try this with any of my duplicate cameras!

    thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • I LOVE making over stuff in my house… and you’re right sometimes it can go horribly wrong!! My favorite thus far has been my old used fridge that we painted “princess blue” (love paint names)… can’t imagine giving it up now for any new swanky ice making one! 🙂

    P.S. whenever I read your blog I feel like I have to start collecting cameras!! So CUTE!

  • Darling!!! I thought you had put fabric or paper around the camera until you started talking about how you painted them! Love this!

  • What a cute DIY! Thanks for sharing Elsie! The colors that you used are great… maybe I can paint my Polaroid!

  • they both look absolutely fabulous! 🙂

    i was wondering if i could stick some big-but-cute tape on it instead of paint.

  • I like taking pictures of my friends and family. I have both a digital camera and a Polaroid camera.

  • I love it! I have a black holga begging to be painted now! Thank you for the awesome instructions! I will post a picture and link back here when I have finished. Thank you!

  • OH MY GOD! HOW CUTE ARE THEY?!Can I come and sleep on your doorstep rug so I can come in whenever you create something? You are so creative!

  • I love the colors you chose.And I love the flowers on the back, and little heart/arrow. Good Job Teach.

  • A Bite of Allison (on blogger) sent me here…

    … I am Favoriting your blog because you are wicked talented! just sayin’

  • This is so adorable! I’m thinking of getting a Holga soon and definitely want to give this a try! thanks for sharing with us 🙂

  • Brilliant!! My Pop9 has the gold coat chipping off, this gives me the idea to spray paint it! So amazing!

  • These are seriously rad! 🙂 your painting detail is just lovely, too – so inspiring!!

  • It’s a great idea, but I don’t know if I could ever do that to my Diana+ or my other toy cameras…. I could, however, thrift another for my growing collection and personalize it. :}

  • OMG! This is fantastic!! Only you would bling out your camera!! Love it!!

  • I have both of these cameras… the color you painted your supersampler is really close to the color that mine is!

    Have you ever had any trouble with the film lining up in your Supersampler? I keep ending up with one frame of one shot, one white frame, and two frames from the next shot all on one photo print, if that makes sense. Boo!

  • Thanks so much everyone!!! I should have given this link earlier, but i forgot… here is the first place i heard about making over instant/plastic cameras from: LOTS of cute ones there! :))

    to answer a few questions…
    1. where do you get your Polaroid camera film?
    A: eBay. i think they also sell it at Urban Outfitters.

    2. would you/do you ever do artist interviews and would you be willing to interview me and my little shop?
    A: Sure! email me elsie(AT)redvelvetart(DOT)com

    and i am not planning to sell these in my shop, but who knows… maybe someday! XOXO. e

  • Oh! Anyone else see this…


  • oh heck yes. i took holgita out for a spin today and was just thinking how semi-boring she looked.

  • so I have a few questions my dear….

    1. where do you get your Polaroid camera film?

    2. would you/do you ever do artist interviews and would you be willing to interview me and my little shop?

    3. why are you so creative >.< lol <3 Thea

  • Will you adopt me? I would love to do everything you come up with. It seems so amazing and wonderful.

    You rock, Elsie!!!!! 🙂

  • Oh wow, that’s super cute! I’ve always wanted a Holga and they do look pretty ugly, but this just makes them look cute! 🙂

  • amazing. that camera looks so beautiful. perhaps you should make more and add them to your shop! (using cheap cameras of course)

  • those are adorable!! i LOVEEEE the floral design on the holga. :]

  • that turned out nice! there is no way i could paint that good though, i would screw it all up!

  • Cute, cute, cute!

    I think people forget that almost anything can be painted to their liking! Thanks for the reminder!

  • oh wow! this is similar to my sx-70 polaroid camera makeover on design*sponge last week 🙂 so fun. yay for cute cameras!

  • these are awesome!

    I got my first plastic toy camera when I was 16..about 8 years ago and have loved them ever since. I love that they are so accessible these days and I don’t have to buy them from Russia and China! and I loooveee the idea of refurb them 🙂


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