I was pretty motivated to get moving on the vintage camera bookends projects and got not one, but four different bookends finished in minutes squeezed out of just a couple days. I designed the bookends to be different but to share a look that is cohesive. It all sounds so intentional, doesn't it? Really I just scrapped around looking for materials and lucked out that they look great together.
I'm going to show you the basic method I used for the Canonet and brown leather covered Seagull camera. Then I'll just tell you what I did for the others.
I knew I wanted to increase the weight of the cameras so that they could actually hold books, so I thought of filling some kind of container with concrete and attaching the cameras to the top. I lucked out and found these square coconut wood boxes that I had previously tossed my beach glass findings into as I walked in the door of our house in Korea after returning home from the beach. Sigh, how I miss that beach.
I began by turning the box upside down, then measuring and marking the center point.
Then I drilled a hole at the center point. For the Canonet, I found a cheap drawer pull at the hardware store that I thought would make a great little platform for the camera. The surface was flat enough (though not totally flat) for the camera to sit securely on top.
After drilling the hole, I attached the drawer pull, with the screw hidden inside. I tightened it well so that the drawer pull was firmly attached and wouldn't rotate.
The platform created by the drawer pull isn't very high, but high enough for the camera to sit on top comfortably and to give it some separation from the base. Once the pull was attached to the base, I gave the whole thing a couple of coats of black enamel spray paint and let it dry.
I looked for concrete at the hardware store, but ended up buying this quick-set plaster at Michael's because it comes in a smaller quantity (I didn't want 10 pounds of concrete for a small job like this), it is cheaper, and it is easier for me to carry. This stuff is amazingly fast setting and easy to use - I mixed 2 parts of the plaster with 1 part of water, then poured it into the base (making sure not to scratch the newly painted knob when I turned it upside down). I let it sit for about an hour to set.
Finally, I mixed up a good bit of epoxy glue, the kind that comes in two tubes and consists of a glue and a hardener. I completely coated the top of the knob and placed the camera. Epoxy sets pretty quickly, so in another half hour or so I was done!
For the Seagull camera, I used the same base, but instead of using a drawer pull and epoxy, I used a long bolt called a hex cap screw that screws directly into the tripod thread of the camera. I chose this kind of bolt because I like how the threads are only on the end, leaving the rest of the screw a smooth steel. I had to use a hacksaw to cut off all but about 1/4" of the threads. I used the same method as above, inserting the screw into a hole drilled in the center of the box, then I added the step of using epoxy to secure the screw to the box on the inside and outside. After the epoxy dried, I again used the quick-set plaster to fill the box, the I spray painted the whole thing.
Super easy. Once the paint dried, I only had to screw the bolt into the tripod connector on the base of the camera and I was done.
The last two bookends are even easier. For the bellows-front Seagull, I used a little floating wall shelf I had bought and never installed. I gave it a good coat of paint, let it dry, then mixed up some epoxy and glued the metal feet (this camera has two odd little metal plates on the base) to the shelf. Done and done.
They just keep getting easier! The final camera I am using is an old Brownie that belonged to my grandfather. It is in good working condition and looks pretty good as well, and I did not want to do anything that will damage it in any way, so epoxy on the leatherette covering is out of the question. I used another floating wall shelf, just like the one above only bigger, that I cut smaller using a handsaw. I also used another cheap drawer pull. I gave them both a quick coat of black spray paint, then epoxied the drawer pull to the shelf. To connect the camera to the drawer pull without damage, I used a good wad of sticky tack. Its surprisingly strong!
Unlike the others, this is not a very secure method of construction (although sticky tack does work great for making a quick cake plate!). Although I can pick it up and move it with no problem, I will always make sure to support it underneath when I move it. Plus I think I'll just find a good permanent spot for it and make sure it stays put.
So there you go. A new set of coordinated but not matching bookends showcasing my favorite vintage cameras. The total cost of this project was ridiculously cheap as I already had the epoxy, sticky tack, spray paint, and boxes and floating shelves on hand. I had to purchase the quick-set plaster ($4.59 at Michaels minus a 40% off coupon), the two drawer pulls ($1 each on sale), and the hex screws ($1.49). Total: $6, or $1.50 each.