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Camera Case with Plastic Sandwich
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Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Camera Case with Plastic Sandwich on 02/26/2014 18:33:08 MST Print View

The camera case I've been using for a travel camera weighed a hefty 2.4 oz. So I made this lightweight camera case of fleece. I was concerned about a Ti tent stake or other hard object poking either the lens or the screen, if I toss it into my pack. So the area over the lens, and over the screen, is covered by a pocket, into which is inserted a layer of milk-carton plastic. Then the pocket is stitched closed with a zigzag stitch. So the tender areas of the camera get a "plastic sandwich"--two layers of fabric and one of plastic, for lightweight but decent protection. The case weighs 0.4 oz. Since I had to create a fairly accurate pattern, and refine it, I want to share the pattern. Sharing it makes me feel better about all the time it took to make it.





You'll need to cut two identical pieces of fabric, front and back. And two bits of plastic from a milk carton. The numbers give a rough guide regarding the order in which I'd recommend you tackle the project.

1) Cut the pocket flap(s), place the plastic beneath the pocket flap (making certain the fabric of the pocket is slightly larger than the plastic it encapsulates), pin it in place, and zigzag stitch the pocket shut. The plastic is now trapped inside two layers of fabric.

2) Cut on the solid lines. Fold, then tack these tabs in place.

3) I should not have numbered this 3, ignore.

4) Fold over and tack these tabs.

5) Fold up the drawstring pocket and sew shut (this includes folding under, along line 3).

6) sew up the bag on three sides.

If the camera fits too loose, stitch another line inside the previous to tighten the bag. If too tight, take out a line of stitching and sew another further away. Once it fits nicely, bartack the upper corners of the bag, and trim the excess fabric along the hem. Thread the cord, and you're done.

Edited by Bolster on 02/26/2014 19:03:35 MST.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Camera Case with Plastic Sandwich on 02/26/2014 19:27:59 MST Print View

You could also lose a gram or two by removing the "features" stickers ;-)

Kelly G
(KellyDT) - F
Perfect on 03/02/2014 04:31:06 MST Print View

I think it's brilliant. I'll be making one myself. Thanks for the idea.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Camera Case with Plastic Sandwich on 03/02/2014 08:28:47 MST Print View

Two pieces of plastic (one over front, one over back) held by shock cord and throw in any stuff sack. I'm from Louisiana. Kidding. Sam Haraldson wrote an article on a diy camera case I think.

Edited by jshann on 03/02/2014 08:32:17 MST.

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Bubble Wrap Case on 03/02/2014 13:13:21 MST Print View

Yes, you're referring to Haraldson's infamous bubble-wrap-and-duct-tape pattern. Pretty clever. More overall protection (bubble wrap across the entire camera), and less specific or pointed edge protection (more easily deformed/penetrated), than my fleece-and-plastic design. In fact, Haraldson omits even a layer of duct tape over the lens in photos of his case, and it seemed to work just fine for him.

If I were going to drop my camera on hard ground in its case, I might prefer Haraldson's design--I think the bubble wrap would provide a little more overall protection. If the case is to protect against other (specifically hard or pointed) objects in a pack or bag, I'd go with my fleece design for the additional penetration protection. Once the camera leaves the case, neither provides any protection!

I'd have guessed mine would be more durable, but...Haraldsen reports his case lasted for 1200 miles on the PNT in his front pocket! Elsewhere he reports durability at three years! So apparently not delicate at all!

It would be possible, of course, to easily add a layer of protective hard plastic to the outside of Haraldson's design. Or a layer of bubble wrap or reflectix encapsulated into mine.

Edited by Bolster on 03/02/2014 13:24:24 MST.

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Sunglasses case on 03/02/2014 20:03:13 MST Print View

A green-and-black sunglasses case of similar "sandwich" construction appears...


...protected frontside only.

Edited by Bolster on 03/02/2014 20:14:18 MST.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Camera Case with Plastic Sandwich on 03/05/2014 12:45:03 MST Print View

Awesome, another camera case design, thanks for sharing! This one is far prettier than mine that's for sure. It has an ere or respectability to it seeing as how it's constructed of fabric and not garbage too.

In case anyone's interested, the one that I built in order to photograph and highlight for that article is still going strong!

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Garbage. on 03/05/2014 13:01:42 MST Print View

That's amazing it's still in service. Viva bubble wrap!

And yes, mine's built of garbage, too. Milk carton + remainders of fleece from the fabric store.

Go, garbage!! Woo hoo!!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Bubble Wrap Case on 03/05/2014 13:27:29 MST Print View

"If I were going to drop my camera on hard ground in its case"

Before you go down this road, I recommend that you consider the height of the drop to the ground. Obviously the weight of the camera and the height of the drop will dictate how protective and how durable the case needs to be. For years we have used the standard 3-foot drop test onto a hard surface. With some of my cameras, I wouldn't allow a 1-foot drop.

However, the main cushioning materials are bubble wrap and thin foam, and the main shell material is the plastic of a milk jug. Polyester fabric makes a good fabric cover. The heavier and more expensive the camera is, the better you have to make the case.

Another factor. If the camera gets dropped, and if the shock causes the camera to fail, then it needs to be visible that it failed (like showing a dent). Then you can chuck it and get another one. If the shock causes the camera to fail and you can't see the hidden problem, then you will be carrying a hunk of junk around with you. You won't get any usable images out of it, and then you will kick yourself.


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Bubble Wrap Case on 03/05/2014 14:32:58 MST Print View

I tried this a couple years ago. Bubble wrap using packing tape to seal the seams. A flap with Velcro.

It worked well on two trips, until I confirmed what I already knew, that a phone and/or GPS are intrusion on my wilderness experience :)


Nowadays, when I carry a camera, I just keep it the pocket of my shorts or pants. If there is a threat of sand, I put it in a ziplock.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Camera Case with Plastic Sandwich on 03/05/2014 15:27:26 MST Print View

Gear-from-Garbage. I can get behind this ethos. I didn't build any of my camera cases to save them from a drop but rather to protect the screen from scratches mostly. I am fortunate to not be plagued with too bad a case of the "dropsies" so my stuff only needs minor protection.