In this DIY guide, we’ll show you how to make a security camera out of household items. This could be a fun project to do with your kids, or a more serious one if you’re looking to save some cash.
We’ll show you the steps you’ll need to follow and what materials you’ll need to gather up. Throughout the guide, you’ll find tips and warning to make sure this is all kept as simple and easy-to-follow as possible.
By the end of the guide, you’ll be ready to start DIY build a security camera without spending much money. You’ll be confident and informed enough to do an excellent job and avoid any harmful or unnecessary mistakes.
Let’s get into the guide!
How to Make a Security Camera Out of Household Items
Let’s dive right into the guide. First, we’ll go through all the materials you’ll need. If you can’t get your hands on any of them, feel free to use reliable and similar substitutes (unless we tell you not to).
Materials and Supplies
The goal here is to keep costs low and usability high. We’ve avoided using complicated or “techy” to keep it basic and simple.
Here are the materials you’re going to need:
- Old smartphone with a decent camera and Wi-Fi potential
- A lightweight wooden or cardboard board (at least 10cm wide and 20cm long)
- Cardboard to use for the camera box
- Cardboard cutting tools
- Hot glue gun
- Masking tape or clear tape
- Cardboard tubing
- Black and grey paint
- Plaster for securing the joints
Gather these materials together and get ready to move onto the next section.
How to Build the Camera Unit
The overall goal here is to have a box with a slot to slip your smartphone into. There will be a round cutout on the surface your phone will be supported by.
This camera unit will be suspended higher up in your room and the phone will lie camera-side down in its slot. The phone’s camera will see through the cutout, and you’ll connect via a long USB cable or a video conferencing up.
Let’s learn how to make a video camera out of home supplies and a cell phone.
Step 1: Making the Cutouts
Start by making four cutouts that match the dimensions of the wooden/cardboard baseboard. These four cutouts need to be at least the same height as the smartphone you’re planning on using.
Make one more cutout that’s the same width as the baseboard, but about 5cm too short. This will leave space for the phone to be removed.
For the front panel that the phone will rest onset the phone down on it and mark out the shape of the phone on the outside surface of the board.
Next, draw a circle around where the camera lens of the phone will sit. Make the circle 1cm wider than it needs to be.
Step 2: Putting the Camera Box Together
Use the hot glue gun to glue the four walls to the baseboard. Glue each of them together. Once they’ve dried, you can add the cover board (slightly shorter cutout).
This will be the roof for the little box. Line it up with the back of the box so that space is now at the front of the unit. This is where you’ll slip the phone in and out of its slot.
Glue the roof on.
Now you need to take a look at the markings and cut out the lens hole for your phone camera. Use a box cutter or relevant tool to cut.
If your phone still moves about in its place, take some thin strips and glue them around the edges of where your phone will sit. This will help keep it in place and stop it from sliding.
Step 3: Applying the Plaster to the Joints
Smooth the plaster over all the exposed board connections and joints. Try to get it smooth and even.
Once the plaster has dried, use some fine-grit sandpaper to sand down the bumps and get it looking smooth.
Double-check the casing to make sure you haven’t left out any areas.
Step 4: Making the Stand and Mounting It
This is the stand that will help you fix the camera to the wall.
Here are the steps you should follow:
- Cut a piece of cardboard tubing to the length you need the wall stand shaft to be
- Cut one end at an angle (as it needs to meet the wall at an angle so the camera get a good field of view)
- Glue the angled end of the tubing to the camera unit
- Cut four strips of cardboard the same length as the stand shaft
- Glue these to the shaft so that they make a box around it
Let the stand dry. Once it’s ready, it’s up to you how you want to mount it to the wall. You could glue the unit to a piece of cardboard and fix it to the wall with glue or tape.
It depends on the setup you want and the space you have available.
Step 5: Painting the Camera Box
Get your grey and black paint. You need to paint the main camera box black and paint the stand grey.
You can add some final designs like gluing fake buttons or a lens glass to the frame of the camera.
You can look online for some DIY hidden camera ideas and paint jobs to better hide your mobile security camera.
Step 6: Putting Your Phone in Place
If you’ve done everything right so far, there should be a slot where your phone needs to go. Remember to insert it so that the camera is pointing out the lens hole.
If you want to get creative, you can make a small cutout under where the charging port sits.
This will let you connect a USB charger to your phone and let it record for longer.
Put your setup to the test and let your camera record for a while. When you’re done, remove the cell phone camera and use it to inspect the footage and make sure you’re seeing everything you need to.
Step 7: Connecting to Your Camera
You can use any video conferencing app if you want a live view of what the phone is seeing.
If you don’t need a live view, you can record in your normal camera app and then transfer the footage across later.
Using zoom is great if your new mobile CCTV camera is set up near the router and has a strong connection.
That’s it! You’ve just made a security camera out of household supplies! You can use this same method to convert a cell phone camera to spy for you. Just make a smaller and more subtle frame.
We hope you’ve found some awesome ideas and have a clear picture of how you’d like to build and set up your mobile CCTV camera.
Don’t worry if the steps are a little unclear now. Once you get started, you’ll figure it out along the way.
Take what you’ve learned here on how to make a security camera out of household items, make a rough plan, gather the materials together, and get to work! Good luck!