There are all kinds of things you can do with a camera. Add something over the lens and the number of possibilities grows exponentially. But some filters can be pricey; and, well, when you go DIY you end up with some results you can’t get with anything you purchased from a store. Here are seven of the coolest DIY photo filters from around the web.

Pinhole? Thirst no more!

photo filters DIYfilterphotojojo

One of the great things about making your own camera accessories is that you can make ones that really aren’t available anywhere else—or ones that are pretty much free. This pinhole filter falls under both categories. All you have to do is cut the top quarter or so off a clear water bottle, then point your camera so the lens is looking through the bottom of the bottle. For a look that’s little bit different, you can also cut a small hole in the bottom of the bottle.

The idea comes from the folks over at Photojojo, on their very own list of different DIY filters.

Two words: transparencies and markers

photo filters DIYfilterbeautifulmess

We just love this idea from A Beautiful Mess because there are a hundred different things you could do with this. All you do is take a transparent sheet (like the kind used in the old-school projector your teachers would draw on) and some permanent markers, and color away! Depending on the color of the marker and the pattern you decide to draw, the possibilities are almost endless.

Be sure to check out the tutorial with sample images.

Long exposure lovers, rejoice!

photo filters DIYfilteralexwise

Neutral density filters are essential for daytime long exposure shots—and can cost upwards of $100. If you’d like to try out some daytime long exposures, you can make one with pieces of welding glass. Welding glass comes in different densities, so they’re great for making ND filters of different levels. The only downside is the glass is colored, so they take some extra work setting up a custom white balance or adjusting RAW files.

Alex Wise Photography has an excellent tutorial that takes you through the steps, as well as how to attach the filter to your camera and post-processing for eliminating color casts.

Starry, starry night…or day

photo filters DIYfiltertuts

Star filters are a lot of fun. They take points of light and shape them into stars (hence the name). While star filters aren’t as expensive as neutral density filters, if you’d like different effects, you’ll need multiple filters.

But there is a DIY hack to craft these guys, as illustrated by Photography Tuts Plus. All you need is a piece of plastic (old CD cases work well) and a needle or blade with a ruler to scratch patterns with. Different patterns will change the number of points on the star pattern, so check out the full tutorial.

Soften portraits with panty hose

photo filters DIYfilterdigitalcameraworld

Panty hose are great for the ladies looking to soften the skin tone of their legsoh, and photographers looking for a soft portrait effect. Don’t worry, once you get it all put together, it doesn’t look like your camera is trying to rob a bank with a stocking over its head. You only need a small square.

Digital Camera World explains how to rig up this cool new filter (other than just putting your camera insight a pair of tights) in their DIY soft filter tutorial.

Make a smoky filter…with smoke

We love the smoky look in this filter tutorial; and it’s actually made with, well, smoke.

Photo filters you wouldn’t want to use in public

photo filters DIYfilterGizmodo

You can use a lot of different things held over your camera lens to make cool effects. When Gizmodo issued a photography challenge to use a homemade filter, they got all kids of responses from lacy black panties to…well, there’s one even more embarrassing, but we won’t ruin the surprise. If not for anything other than sheer entertainment, you have to check out these crazy photos from homemade filters.

We want to hear from you—what random objects have you used as camera filters?

About The Author

When Hillary Grigonis isn't writing, she's shooting—with her camera that is. A freelance writer and photographer, she's always keeping track of the latest photography news and gadgets. Follow her on Facebook or Google+.

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