finished stem camera

DIY Camera Konstruktor – STEM for Kids

For a budding photographer, what better way to learn how a camera works than to build your own DIY camera? That’s right – you can build your own fully functional 35 mm SLR camerafrom scratch?!? Our inner geek was super excited to discover this. It actually WORKS! This is a fantastic STEM project for future engineers, tinkerers, and the curious, who can learn the science behind how a camera works.

A great way to learn really about photography is by using a fully analog camera (which means film, not digital).

We couldn’t help it. We ordered one.

build your own diy camera kit

DIY Camera Pieces & Features

  • Viewfinder
  • Multiple exposure function
  • Bulb setting
  • Detachable 50mm f/10 lens
  • All items and supplies are in the box (no glue is needed)

Yes, it’s plastic and not perfect, but it’s still pretty cool.

It’s a little more complicated than a basic Meccano set and may be better suited for early teens. However, younger kids may still want to try it!

This will require some patience and possibly adult help. Assembly can be a little finicky, and it takes a little time to see the completed project. It’s also a great tool for learning to read instructions and figuring out how to apply them practically.


Yes, film still exists. Film cameras really teach you how to take photos – you can’t fix your mistakes with a delete button. You have to think before taking a picture, which requires forethought, patience, and skill. But it also makes each picture extra special.

film in a build you own diy camera

Kodak ISO 400 can be used indoors or on cloudy days. Real film is unique – the smell and the sound of loading and patiently waiting for the film roll to be developed is exciting. Admittedly, we don’t have high hopes for the photos…this is a DIY kit, but it was great fun just putting it together.

Film Development

Should you decide to develop the film, a few places still develop rolls, such as Henry’s in Canada, and it seems Walmart does as well, but they don’t return your negatives. Just do a little googling. The lead time is a little longer for 35mm film development.

Have fun!

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