10+ Awesome Ways to Upcycle Vintage Photo Gear

Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

You say as long as it’s related to photography, there’s no such thing as trash.

You keep shelves full of broken cameras, expired film, and 1MP digital cameras from middle school. (Nostalgia alert!)

Because we wouldn’t dare give away our precious cameras, we thought we might try to see if we could find some crafty projects to do with our vintage equipment instead!

Read on to learn how to turn an old TV into a glowing photo display, the best way to bring plant life to a dead lens, how you can make jewelry from your broken camera parts, and more!

10+ Ways To Use Vintage to Your Advantage

p.s. Our buds at MOO just launched nifty new stickers that you can customize with your own photos. Head here to get 40% off all MOO stickers until 6/30.

Photo credit: Brownie camera by Betsy Holets, TV lightbox by Atomic Indy.

Turn An Old TV Into A Backlit Picture Frame!

beforeIt all started when Baz from Atomic Indy found a free TV on the street.

It didn’t work, but he took it home to see what he could make with it anyway.

He took out the broken parts, added a standard lightbulb, and voila! A new place to display his favorite pics.

How to turn a broken TV into a glowing photo lightbox!

(Don’t feel like dealing with electricity? Check out this guide to turning your TV into a pictureframe!)

Bring Some Life To Your Dead Gear

before…Plant life, that is!

No matter how old or broken the lens, it never feels good to toss out a piece of photo equipment.

We’ve got just the thing to cure the broken lens blues:

Learn how to resurrect a broken camera or lens as a flowerpot!

(Don’t have a broken lens or camera? Plant something nice in a lens mug instead!)

Stash Your Sleek New Cam In A Classic Old Book

beforeWe love film and manual cameras, but sometimes it’s nice to snap a picture quick with a compact point & shoot.

So, what do you do if you’ve got an analog personality and a digital camera?

Give your camera new clothes!

How to turn a vintage book into a top-secret camera case!

(Hollowed books aren’t just for disguising digital cameras, either… Etsy user Engrained has transformed books into working pinhole cameras!)

Turn Your Busted SLR Into A Night Light!

beforeGot a cam that doesn’t work anymore but it’s just too pretty to get rid of?

Make it your night light!

With a broken SLR, simply remove the lens from the front, insert a small LED or keychain light, and re-attach the lens.

(If you’re feeling more advanced, check out this amazing vintage Polaroid land camera lamp by CE Cork Lighting Co on Etsy.)

Use vintage Jars as Frames!

beforeAh, the glass jar… the most diverse of all vintage finds.

Did you know that you can transform your Grandma’s jelly jar collection into a beautiful gallery of photos for her to see every day?

…That all those mason jars and antique cups you’ve been collecting from flea markets can finally have their deserved 15 minutes of fame?

It’s true! (And super easy too!) How to use vintage jars as photo frames.

A Homage to Light

beforeMeasuring light is one of the most important things a photographer can do.

So naturally, when we found these necklaces (by Etsy user arieltelsa) made from vintage 1940s light meters, it was love at first sight.

Buy one of these beauties for your favorite photog, or use parts from broken equipment to make your own!

Vintage Cameras Love Books Too!

before…So let ’em hang out more often!

Get your hands on two hefty & heavy vintage cameras and use them as bookends to hold up your photo book collection!

If the camera isn’t’ very heavy, you can make each side of the bookend stand sturdier by opening the camera and placing something heavy inside for balance.

Make it all!

beforeDon’t just limit yourself to one new use for your vintage equipment, make as much as possible!

Super-crafter Betsy repurposed her broken Kodak Brownie box camera, and here’s what she made:

  • Earrings
  • A brooch
  • Two necklaces
  • Two small storage boxes

(Check out how she made each piece, Brownie surgery #2, and her toy camera brooch!)

Even more vintage projects to explore!