These days, you can get a state-of-the-art camera hidden in just about anything. Do you want to keep an eye on the employees in your office when you’re not around? Buy a camera hidden inside a USB phone charger and record anything you want in nearly any environment. Do you want to keep an eye on your child’s babysitter when you’re at work to help make sure you’re getting the level of care and the quality that you’re paying for? The classic “nanny camera in a teddy bear,” along with a wide range of other options, will suit you perfectly.

But what happens if you CAN’T find a camera that’s already hidden in that perfect, everyday item? What if you have a very specific environment where a desk clock, a smoke detector, a light bulb or even a camera hidden in a pen just won’t do? Thankfully, the solution is simple: You make your own.

If you really want to make a hidden camera and have complete control over everything from placement to recording capabilities, you’ll want to keep a few key things in mind.


Step 1. Consider the Context

You may think that the first step to making the perfect hidden camera would be “buy a camera,” but unfortunately you’d be wrong. You need to think about exactly what it is you’re trying to do first. Think about the type of activity you’re trying to record, the environment that you’re working with and WHERE that camera will need to be placed. All of this will dictate the decisions that you make moving forward, so it’s best to consider them sooner rather than later. Buying a camera now and then trying to force it to meet your requirements later is a great way to end up with something that doesn’t do what you need as well as you need it to.


Step 2. Find the Right Camera

Next, you’ll want to find the right camera and lens package that meets the needs you’ve already decided on. Unlike cameras that come already built into everyday items, you can get the camera (and the attached circuit board) by themselves. This gives you complete flexibility over what you eventually place the camera inside.

Most of these “build your own” hidden camera kits come with small pinhole lenses, perfect for concealing just about anywhere. However, you’ll also want to look at additional features that are available — like Wi-Fi streaming or motion detection — to better help you accomplish your goals.


Step 3. Find the Right Item

Once you have all of your materials in place, you can move onto the fun part of building your own hidden camera. Select the perfect item to hide your hidden camera inside based on your contextual and environmental requirements. If you wanted to hide your camera in a tissue box, for example, remove all the tissues and cut a small hole in the side for the pinhole camera to “see” through.

Place the attached circuit board inside the tissue box, making sure to secure it in place. Tape the camera to the side of the tissue box so that the lens itself won’t move, even if the box is jostled. Make sure any required SD storage cards are in place and verify that any sensors that must be exposed in order for a remote to work are exposed.

Once everything is in place, you’re ready to record. Congratulations! Not only have you just made your own hidden camera, but it probably wasn’t nearly as difficult as you thought it was going to be.

A tissue box is just one example of a great place to hide your own hidden camera. If you’ve got time on your hands, you could also remove the pages from a hardback book and cut a hole in the spine — leaving room for both the camera and the lens. Everything from desk drawers to shopping bags to pencil sharpeners would also make terrific options, so you just have to find the one that works for you.