How to Make No-Sew Camera Sleeves with Recycled Socks

comments (3) January 31st, 2009     

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leethal Lee Meredith, contributor
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You can use a couple of old, worn-out socks to make one of these unique digital camera cases.
Leave the wrist strap hanging out to carry the cased camera by.
If you did the two-drawstring method, you close the case by simply pulling the two ends.
You can use a couple of old, worn-out socks to make one of these unique digital camera cases.

You can use a couple of old, worn-out socks to make one of these unique digital camera cases.

Photo: Lee Meredith
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I think recycled socks can be a great, unexpected craft material, with their wide range of textures and colors, interesting patterns, and varying thickness. I never throw away worn socks, since the feet parts can be chopped off, leaving very usable ankle parts that are usually still in good shape. For this project you'll need the whole things, but a hole or two shouldn't be a problem. 

All of these sleeves are for thin digital cameras—your camera can be a little larger than the one pictured but not much. If you have a bigger point-and-shoot camera, you could still try playing with the sock sleeve concept and probably figure out a way to make it work.

Version #1: Velcro Tab Closure

You'll need:

  • Either one very thick sock, or two or three socks, depending on thickness, with heels (no tube socks)
  • Set of sticky Velcro dots

For this one I used one thin sock (the striped one) and a thicker one to layer together. You could use both socks in a pair, or three thin socks; you just want your case to be decently thick so it protects your camera. One of my socks had a hole in the heel, which is okay, but you wouldn't want all the socks you're laying to have holes in the same spot.

For all these camera sleeves, the wrist strap will be used when the camera is in its sleeve, so make sure yours is attached.


To layer the socks, turn whichever one you want on the inside (not showing) inside out and put it on your hand, then put the other one over it (right side out). If you're layering more than two, just repeat, making sure whichever is the last one is the one you want showing.

When layering the socks, make sure you line up the heels.

Take the socks off your hand and kind of stretch them so that they are fitting evenly together. Now put the layered sock back on your hand—if you're using one thick sock, you'll start with this step. Grab the tip of the sock toe from the inside and pull it in.

Use your other hand to help pull the toe into the sock.


Pull it in until the sock heel is at the end now—with the toe and the ankle hem at the other end. When you look in the ankle hem end, you should see the toe of the inner sock, maybe peeking out a little (depending on the ankle length of your socks). If you are using one thick sock, of course it'll just be the inside of the sock toe.

This is why you turned the inner sock inside out at the beginning.


Slip your camera in and make sure it fits well. You can adjust the size of the case slightly by pulling it so the toe is higher or lower. Ideally, the heel should stick up like a flap, which will fold over and fasten, holding the camera in snug but not too tight. Now get your Velcro dots, stick one on the inside of the flap, near the tip, and place the other dot on that one, so the sticky side is facing out.

It shouldn't matter which Velcro piece is on which side.


Close the flap exactly how you want the case to close and press it down. Carefully take apart the Velcro pieces and firmly press each of the two dots down. Because of the way the sleeve is formed, it's double the layers of the number of socks you use for good camera protection. My case has a kind of reverse appliqué thing going on because of that heel hole—if your outside layer sock has no holes, then you won't see any holes that may be in the inner layers.

Leave the wrist strap hanging out to carry the cased camera by.


If you want to sew: If you have the same hole issue that I did, you can stitch around it so it looks more like an intended reverse appliqué circle, or you could cover up the whole thing with a button or embroidery.

Version #2: Drawstring Closure

You'll need:

  • Either one very thick sock, or two or three socks, depending on thickness (tube socks are best)
  • Some kind of cord or string, about 8 inches long
  • Drawstring stopper
  • Scissors
  • A safety pin

Another option is to use two drawstring cords and no stopper, in case you don't have a stopper to recycle. As for the cord or string, I like to use strips of T-shirt fabric—when you cut it into a strip and pull it, it makes a nice cord.

For this sample, I used one superthick, double-layered sock, so no layering was necessary.


Start out exactly how the first version started—layer your socks if you're using multiples, and turn in on itself to form the camera sleeve. Once you have the sleeve made (so the toe is inside the ankle), then cut two small slits through one layer of the sock(s) at the top of the sleeve on one side or in the front. The best way to do this is to bring your hand up through the bottom of the sleeve, between the ankle-end outside and the toe-end inside, so your fingers are up at the top of the camera sleeve, inside in the middle of the layers. Then cut the slits so you can see your fingers.

The slits need only be about a quarter inch long and about a quarter inch apart.


If you are going for the two drawstrings, no stopper option, repeat that step on the other side of the case, so you'll have four slits total, two on each side. Now pin a safety pin onto one edge of your drawstring, and thread it into one slit, around the top of the case, and through the other slit.

It's easy to guide the cord through with the safety pin on the end.


Bring the two ends through the stopper, and tie a knot in the end so the stopper won't fall off. If using two drawstrings, repeat the last step for the other side (bringing the drawstring through the slits with the safety pin), and just tie each of the two cords in a knot. Each side will look the same as the picture but with no stopper.

For the drawstring, you could also use a recycled shoelace or yarn or any other string you have around the house.


Now try it out! By leaving the wrist strap hanging out, you can use either that or the drawstring to hold the camera by.

If you did the two-drawstring method, you close the case by simply pulling the two ends!


If you want to sew: For both of the first two versions, you could sew the bottom of your case closed for a little bit neater look. That way, the toe won't peak out and the case will look more finished.

Extra Example: Two Socks in a Pair

You can also use a pair of socks, layered together, so I just wanted to show you a sample like that.

One of these socks has a hole and the other does not, so I'll layer them with the hole on the inside.


These socks are a bit longer and a bit snugger than the other examples, so this case could work as a sleeve without any closure, or I could add Velcro or a drawstring.

A simple sleeve like this would be a great blank canvas for embellishments!


Version #3: Knee Sock Wrap

You'll need:

  • One knee sock
  • Scissors

Your camera must have a wrist strap (or neck strap) for this version. It's a weird one, but that's why I like it!

Bring the toe into the sock, the same way as with the other versions, but this time hold the heel with your other hand. Pull the toe with one hand and the heel with the other hand. You should have a sleeve part for your camera on the heel end, with the heel acting as a flap, and the rest of the sock hanging down below.

Slip your camera in and make sure it looks something like this.


Now cut a slit through both layers of the heel flap, about 1/2 inch down from the edge.

Embroidery scissors work great for these little slits.


With your camera in the sleeve, fold down the heel flap, and while holding it down, pull the other end of the sock tightly around the camera. Start by bringing it up, so it goes in front of the heel flap, then wrap it over the top and around the back, then back under the bottom and in front.

Hopefully your sock will wrap this far while pulled a bit tight but not too much so.


Unwrap it partway, but hold the sock part that first comes up in front of the flap in place. Hold on to the spot where the middle of the sock was directly in front of the flap, touching the first hole. Cut a slit right there, through both layers, so all the holes should line up when the sock is wrapped around the camera.

The slit needs to be just big enough to fit the wrist strap.


The case is done; now you just need to close it up! With the camera in the sleeve, bring the wrist strap through the hole in the flap. Then bring the sock up, the way you wrapped it, and thread the strap through that second hole. Now wrap the sock around the back, as before, but this time open the end and pull it up around the whole thing.

It's a weird little case, but I think it's cute!


If you want to sew: Some hand-stitching around the holes, securing the two layers together, will make it easier to bring the strap through, and you could add a cute embellishment by using a contrasting thread color!

So, you have the strap hanging out to hold it by, and it's all snugly protected. The only problem with this version is that it's not superquick to put the case on, so it's not good for slipping it in and out a lot. If you want to make a simpler version, with no cutting and no strap, just slip your camera all the way into the sock and wrap it up the same way.

The strapless version is supereasy, and you don't even need scissors!



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posted in: recycle, no-sew, case, camera, sock

Comments (3)

ElsyF12 writes: This is such a cute idea! I knitted my current camera case, but it turned out bigger than I expected, so I will definitely have to try this!
Posted: 8:25 pm on March 16th
MeredithP writes: I love this colorful idea. I'm sure it would be easy to find some wild socks at the thrift store. I so need a camera case. This is great...Thanks so much!
Posted: 6:45 pm on February 9th
RubyKitty writes: That's a fun idea. The camera cases you usually get are just boring black or grey, so these are a nice change.
Posted: 3:35 am on February 1st
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