Turn an Old Camera Into a Retro-tastic Phone Dock!

Summer days are here! With the sun setting so late, there are more phone calls, Instagrams, texts, and all sorts of things that give your phone a good ol’ workout.

What’s that? Your phone is buzzing in your pocket for some relief! After a long, long day, it deserves some rest. Pamper your phone with a swanky charger dock made from your favorite antique camera!

Plugging it in and leaving it on the table is such a lonely way to relax. In this project, you’ll be making a super retro dock from a camera to charge your phone in style. You get to work with your hands and some rockin’ power tools, and by the end of it your phone will be thanking you for its sweet new digs.

Be careful though — your phone is gonna look so awesome in its new dock that you might not want to take it out for the next summer adventure!

Make a Phone Dock Out of a Camera

p.s. We’re hiring for an amazing opening at Photojojo. We’re looking to re-invent what/how/where we publish online, and we’re seeking one amazing somebody to lead the charge as Editorial & Community Lead.


Remember that camera you once loved but broke somewhere along your many escapades? Instead of letting it collect dust or throwing it away (gasp!), this tutorial will help you turn it into a beautiful charger for your phone! It’s like, the coolest way to recycle. Besides, all your friends will be totally jealous.

Fact: phones are better propped up. Friends texting you? Now you don’t have to crane your head to read ‘em – cause your phone is already standing up.

This project might seem kinda scary and complicated, but it’s not! If you can hold something steady for 10 seconds, then you can definitely do this. It’s only a few steps and at the end of it you’ll be an absolute pro at turning anything (that can be drilled) into charger docks. That way, you can make ‘em for all those friends you made jealous.

By the way, this project was inspired by Roberto Altieri and his Etsy shop. His craftsmanship is top notch, so take a look around. Thanks, Roberto!


  • Old camera that doesn’t work*
  • Phone charger cable
  • Power drill with the proper drill bits (varies depending on the size of the opening)
  • Gorilla glue
  • Metal file

*We used an old Kodak Instamatic and an iPhone USB Lightning Cable. We recommend a camera that’s made mostly of plastic, because metal parts can’t be drilled into/are difficult to drill into. Make sure the area you’re drilling into is all plastic.


The most complicated (and it’s not! Really!) part is to figure out where you wanna drill. We used a plastic camera, and so that was as simple as finding a spot that didn’t have a ton of metal in it. We recommend a camera that’s more plastic-y, that way it’ll be easier on you!

Figure out how you want the camera to sit on your desk when you’re done. Think about where you want the phone to be, and where that cable will come out of the camera! The back of cameras, where the film goes, is the easiest place to drill into because it’s just an empty space. part of your cord will live in here! Also, think about where the cable comes out! We did ours on the side, where the door is.

When it comes to the phone charger cord, you can get an extra cord from Amazon or your local gadget store if you don’t want to use the cord you already have.


See your phone charger cord? Pick out a drill bit that matches the width of the part that plugs into your phone. If you don’t have a drill bit that exact size, remember that smaller is better than bigger! Be very, very careful (watch those fingers!) and drill the first hole. Make sure you’re drilling completely through, the cord’s gotta go somewhere!


beforeNow, connector parts are usually ovals, and drill bits are circles. Unless you have some sort of space-age-can-drill-whatever-shape-you-want drill, the workaround is like this: 2 circles next to each other = 1 oval!

Drill a second hole next to (slightly overlapping) the first hole. We’re doing this directly alongside the first hole so that the opening is wide enough for the connector port.


beforeGet your metal file and file away at the hole where the cord will come out. Careful! The goal is to make it the shape of your connector, but not too big! Check that your connector bit fits snugly into the opening.


beforeThis is a continuation of Step Four; file the inside part of the hole you drilled. It can be wider here, doesn’t have to be as snug as the opening. The goal is to get your cable through without snags.


beforePush the connector port through the drilled hole. After you’re sure that’s where it wants to be, place a dab of glue and wait for it to dry (depends from glue to glue!).


beforeNow we are gonna figure out where the cable comes out! When that’s figured out, drill a hole that is the width of your cable. Ours comes out the side of the camera where the door closes, and we recommend this.


beforeNow you have the exit hole, place the cable through and there we go! Close the back of the camera, make sure the cable isn’t being pinched (ow!) and charge your phone to your vintage heart’s content.



  • Although we made a phone dock, you can make a dock for just about anything that uses a cord to charge. Tablets, game systems, camera batteries, anything!
  • Make a dock out of different things! Old radios, televisions, and to be extra ironic, an old telephone!