Giant Holga camera

Photography & Video
Giant Holga camera

Gil Adam sent us this awesome Holga camera replica he fabricated for an Industrial Design class. He writes:

I have recently completed a 3:1 scale model of my favorite plastic camera, the Holga, and I thought you might be interested to publish it on your blog. The model was done as part of my first year of studying Industrial Design in Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, Israel.

The aim of the project (which is a common one among first year design students) is to fabricate an oversized model of a product/object, with choice of object, it’s level of detail, and final size up to the student. As a big fan of the Holga, I knew since the beginning that I wanted to make a huge Holga camera, although it’s much more complicated than most objects chosen for this exercise (more then 30 individual parts to make and assemble!).

To determine the scale I would work on, I started with searching for something to simulate the plasticy faux leather texture of the camera (on a larger scale). After a week of visiting every fabric and leather store I knew, and not finding the right texture, I finally found it in form of a textured wallpaper. The texture itself wasn’t dramatically bigger then the original (about 2 times bigger), but i figured i could work on a scale of 3:1 without the texture looking too small.

After i had my scale, I started the actual fabrication of the model. First, I made measurements and computer drawings of the camera and its parts from all directions to help me understand how I would put it togethe. The next step was to build the basic shape of the camera (body front and back, top part with flash and viewfinder, lens base, lens barrel, side rails) which I fabricated from MDF which i sawed, glued, routed, milled, and sanded to the right shape and size. After i had the basics, I turned to making the plastic parts (lens, lens cone, back 12/16 plate, film advance wheel, tripod mount, buttons, and windows). These were made mostly on lathes (for circular parts) and mills. The most difficult parts to make were the side metal clips. which were made from stainless steel cut by laser to shape, pressed in an hydraulic press with a template for the two bulging strips on it, and finally folded. The text on the front of the lens was printed in a 3d printer and glued to the front of the lens barrel. After i had all the parts, I moved on to the paint job. All parts to be painted received a coat of primer and then went on to be painted the right color and texture (either grainy black, matte black, or glossy black). The last part was to put together all the pieces, which was done with some screws and various glues. A few finishing touches and labels (printed on matte photo paper and glued to the model) and I was done!

What I described here, relatively briefly, took me about a month and a half of work, endless hours of sweat and frustration, and not a small amount of money, but I think the final outcome was totally worth it. I now have a huge model of my favorite camera!

If you have any more question or requests about the model feel free to ask them.

More photos after the jump…


2 thoughts on “Giant Holga camera

  1. Simon says:

    The wallpaper for the texture looks great. I wonder if there might be some kind of lino available that could be used too?

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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