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Pringles Pinhole Camera

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    The Exploratorium

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Pringles Pinhole Camera

An ordinary camera has a lens that makes an image on film. In a pinhole camera, a small hole replaces the lens. This activity provides instructions for recycling a potato chip can to make your own pinhole camera.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • empty PringlesĀ® chip can
  • marker
  • ruler
  • X-Acto knife or utility knife (ask a grown-up to help you cut)
  • thumbtack or pushpin
  • masking tape
  • aluminum foil
  • scissors (if you want)
  • bright sunny day


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
  • Physical Sciences
    • Light and Optics
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics
      • Diffraction and Interference

Informal Categories

  • Outdoor Activity
  • Photography and Film/Video


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Murphy, Pat; Klages, Ellen; Shore, Linda


  • All Rights Reserved, Exploratorium, ©1998


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