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How to Make Lens Creatures

Lens Scrunchies to Make the Kids Smile


 By Liz Masoner, About.com Guide to Photography
Published February 17, 2012 ©
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What is a Lens Creature?

If you have ever tried to photograph children, you know getting them to look at the camera and smile can be a challenge. Lens creatures are designed to capture a child's attention and hopefully get them to smile. They are animals, monsters, birds, and any other type of animal (real or imaginary) that wraps around your lens and is held in place with elastic of some kind. Some lens creatures look like "normal" animals while others are more of the generic Muppet monster type variety.

They go by many names: lens creatures, lens scrunchies, camera pets, lens pets, lens animals, camera buddies, and lens monsters are just a few of the names I've seen this type of children's photography helper called.

Realistic Lens Creature Instructions


This type of lens creature requires a bit of sewing to create but look great.

    Supplies Needed
  • Stuffed animal with middle at least 1 1/2 times the diameter of your lens (2 times larger is better)
  • Thread to match color of stuffed animal front
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Elastic (enough to circle your lens plus a few inches)
  • Safety Pin
Step One
Carefully cut the stuffed animal up the front and back. This creates the opening your lens will fit through. Push the stuffing to the sides so that the opening is clear. Check that the animal will fit easily over your lens. If not, make smaller cuts outward on the sides of your opening to create a plus shape and check the fit again.
Step Two
Place the elastic inside the animal around the opening and pin the ends to the outside back of the animal. The elastic does not have to be close to the opening for now, you will snug it up later. (Illustration of this step)
Step Three
Using the needle and thread, whipstitch around the edges of the opening to sew the fronts and back together and leave a hole in the middle of the stuffed animal. Your stitching doesn't have to be perfect, the seam will be hidden when the animal is on your lens. Remember to fold back the corners of the plus if you had to make additional cuts to fit your lens. Folding back the corners will keep the roughly circular shape of the opening. Do NOT sew over the spot where the elastic exits the animal.
Step 4
Pull the elastic snug, check fit on your lens, and tie the elastic. Once the elastic is tied you can tuck it inside the animal and sew the final opening shut.


No Sew Lens Creatures


These lens creatures are quick and simple to make. Supplies vary depending on the type of animal you would like to make. Use your imagination and see how many creations you can come up with. I've included instructions for a bird version and a dinosaur/monster version.

    Supplies Needed for Dinosaur/Monster Version
  • Green fabric hair scrunchy
  • Fabric glue (fast drying is best)
  • Scissors
  • Craft Pom Poms
  • Craft Foam (green)
  • Googly Eyes
Step One
Smooth out a section of the hair scrunchy where you want to attach the design.
Step Two
Cut a 2" strip of green craft foam into ridges and glue it to the back of the scrunchy with the ridges sticking over the top of the scrunchy. Wait until dry before moving on to next step. You can always work on other designs while waiting for the glue to dry on the dinosaur.
Step Three
Turn the scrunchy over, make sure you work area is smooth, and glue the pom poms onto the scrunchy. Next glue the googly eyes to the front of the pom poms. Wait for glue to dry and your bird lens creature is complete.


    Supplies Needed for Bird Version
  • Red fabric hair scrunchy
  • Fabric glue (fast drying is best)
  • Scissors
  • Feathers
  • Craft Foam (yellow)
  • Googly Eyes
Step One
Smooth out a section of the hair scrunchy where you want to attach the design.
Step Two
Cut a small yellow triangle (for the beak) and glue it to the front of the scrunchy. Glue the googly eyes above the beak. Wait until dry before moving on to next step. These are simple enough you may find yourself working on several designs at once so you can work on one while the glue dries on another.
Step Three
Turn the scrunchy over, make sure you work area is smooth, and glue the feathers to the back of the scrunchy. Wait for glue to dry and your bird lens creature is complete.

Helpful Hints

  • Don't use glitter or feathers that shed pieces easily. Just like dust can cause photographic problems, glitter and fuzz can wreak havoc on the internal workings of your camera.
  • Don't use a heavy stuffed animal for the realistic lens creatures. Lighter animals will sit on the lens better. Nearly flat stuffed animals made for dog toys work great for lens creatures.
  • Look for supplies at your local dollar store. You can usually find scrunchies for a dollar or two for a pack of three scrunchies. Smaller stuffed animals can also often be found for a dollar or two each.

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