DIY Smartphone Camera Extender

DIY Smartphone Camera ExtenderIt is always tricky for me to come up with something to make for my husband for Father’s Day. Guys are just hard to DIY for.  There are the obvious Father’s Day gifts like ties (which I have done), grill stuff (done that too), cologne, etc. While I have made ties and grilling aprons before, I am certainly not going to concoct my own cologne. As of now. Hmph.  What to do, what to do.   So when I saw a picture of a camera extender online I immediately pinned it with the thought that it would be a perfect gift for Father’s Day. My husband is one gadget lovin guy and it seemed like this would be useful and possibly doable.  The first thing I had to do was come up with a way to make the extender part of it.  I needed something that telescoped in on itself but was strong enough to support the camera.   I thought about it and searched some thrift shops and came across something that I thought would do the trick.  So first step was to gather my supplies.

DIY camera extender suppliesAn old umbrella, a mini tripod camera holder , and a screw.  I also used a drill to put it all together.   I had the tripod camera holder and screw but I had to buy the umbrella at a thrift store for $1.00.  Total cost for me for this project was $1.00.  Not bad for a homemade Father’s Day gadget gift.  It was also really simple to make.

DIY Smartphone Camera Extender Tutorial

1.  Remove the fabric from the umbrella.  You can do this by unscrewing or detaching the top cap of the umbrella and then cutting the parts where the umbrella is sewed onto its frame.

2.  Remove the metal support pieces from the umbrella leaving just the main pole.   My umbrella had two wires that held the support pieces on.  Once I untwisted the wire I could remove the supports one by one.

3.  Drill a hole in the top of the umbrella.  Make sure that your screw can fit into the hole but don’t make it too big that it will fall out.   It also needs to be long enough to have some threads exposed for the tripod holder to screw onto.

4. Flatten off one side of the top. I kept the top plastic piece on it so that I wouldn’t have a jagged metal top.  Because I did this, I had to shave off a portion of one side so that the camera tripod holder would sit flat.

5.  Screw the screw into the hole and attach the tripod holder.  Smile.  You just made a gadget.

DIY camera extender from an umbrella.jpgSo now for a test run.  You will notice that my husband is in the pictures with me.  Yes, he has already seen it.  We just went on a vacation and I wanted to test it out so I gave it to him early.  Plus I am probably one of the worst surprise gift givers. Actually the second worst surprise gift giver.   I can never contain my excitement and so frequently end up giving him his gifts early.  The absolute worst surprise gift giver is my husband.  There are times that I can be strong and hold out to give him a surprise but he ALWAYS caves.  I think it is because I am just too sweet to resist.  Anywho back to the test run.  In order for this to work, you will need a smartphone with a camera on the front and a camera app that has a timer on it.  I have the app camera+ which has a timer.

make your own camera extenderYou need to angle the umbrella pole slightly so that it is not in the pictures.  It ended up working really well.

DIY Camera ExtenderIt doesn’t go as far as the Xshot looks like it goes but it does get the camera far enough away to include you in the picture without making your arm look like an inflatable go go gadget arm that instantly becomes the focal point of the picture.

with and without camera extenderYou can see a side by side and see what the extender does to your picture.  You can definitly get more people into the picture and it looks like an actual photo that someone else took instead of a crazy zoomed in, can’t see anything in the background photo.   If you are a DIYer and have most of these items already, then this tutorial to make your own DIY Smartphone Camera Extender is for you! If you had to buy them all (thrift store umbrella $1.00, tripod smartphone camera holder $3.41) and want to save $25, then this tutorial is for you! If you don’t really like to make things and want to go for the real deal, $29.95 doesn’t seem like a bad price for a cool Father’s Day gadget.  I can’t vouch for how well it works because I have only used my own homemade one, but the concept I think is really neat.

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  1. This is BRILLIANT! I was almost about to buy one of those monopods too. I might still get one for my regular camera (unless your DIY inspires me to make one for myself!) This is definitely going on the to-do list.

  2. Excellente idée ! Thanks for the tutorial

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