No vintage cameras were harmed in the making of these bookends. I first saw camera bookends on Pinterest thinking they were an actual DIY and then did the whole palm to forehead maneuver. Upon closer inspection I noticed it was a link to bookends being sold at Anthropologie. I was intrigued and knew I could figure something similar out for much less than $300. I have been collecting vintage toy cameras for a few years and only a few are really precious to me. Once I found a second camera similar to one I already had at a local thrift store I gathered my supplies.
I ended up with a charming set and it cost me around $8 (the cost of the thrifted cameras). The wood was scrap that I found in a bucket on the side of the road, I already had the glue, screws, and tools, and the paint was leftover from my bike makeover. You can find similar cameras on Etsy and eBay if you don't find them first at your local thrift stores, garage sales, or grandma's attic.
To make your own camera book end(s) you'll need: One 1" x 4" x 2' piece of wood. I used scrap wood so it wasn't in as great shape as store bought. I suggest something without a rounded edge. One or two vintage cameras with screw-sized holes at the bottom (of similar size), screws to fit the hole size (mine were two different screws), four wood screws at least 2" long, wood glue, gorilla glue or a hot glue gun (not shown), medium grade sandpaper, a yardstick, a drill, heavy duty wire cutters or a dremel with a cutting attachment (not shown).
First, cut your wood (or have it cut at a major hardware store) to get 4 pieces measuring 6" long. Clean edges are going to make your book end look it's best. Sand each piece in order for the paint to stick later. Next, stand one piece of wood on the edge of another so that they are flush at the end. Mark the inside line with chalk or a pencil. Then make two centered marks where you'll pre-drill your screw holes on both. Measure carefully and then pre-drill. After you've got your holes put a light layer of wood glue where the two will connect and hold them together while you drill them together. Wipe off excess glue.
Next, center your camera on your bottom piece and mark where the hole will need to go. Your hole may not necessarily be centered on your camera so it may not be centered lengthwise on your wood. As long as your camera is centered it'll end up looking okay. Drill your hole. Set your camera aside and paint your wood with spray or acrylic paint. Be sure to follow manufacturer's instructions and let it dry before continuing.
Depending on your camera you may be able to glue the screw head to the camera or snugly fit the screw bottom into the camera (the part where the tripod can attach to it). I did both with mine. The first photo shows where I screw it in from the bottom with the screw bottom snugly fitting into the camera. I simply glued it with gorilla glue (however I also suggest a hot glue gun) and made sure it stayed straight up until it was mostly dry.
In the last photo above I had to glue the screw head to my camera so I drilled it from the top down. I then cut off the rest of my screw using a Dremel with a cutting blade. This helped it to sit flush with the shelf it was on. Always wear protective eye gear when using such a tool.
They aren't perfect and I would've used a cleaner piece of wood next time but I'm pretty happy with how these turned out! They're a great way to add a little fun to your bookshelf without spending a fortune.
You don't need a matching pair to make a statement, either. If you can only find one vintage toy camera you can still turn it into a useful book end. This may be your go-to Christmas gift to all of your hipster friends this year!