How To Make A Plastic Drawing Viewfinder For Less Than £2

When you've got constraints, you've gotta get creative. (Photo Credit: Kate Hannon)
When you’ve got constraints, you gotta get creative. (Photo Credit: Kate Hannon)

I’ve set myself the challenge to learn to draw in 30 days.  I decided before I get down to drawing, I should sort out my tools and resources.

Drawing On The Right Hand Side Of The Brain by Betty Edwards…. Check

Pencils of various sorts.. Check

Sharpener, Eraser and Graphite Sticks ….. Check

Paper…. Check

Plastic Drawing Viewfinder…. Uh what?

It’s something that’s recommended in the book. From the 80 or so pages I’ve burned through the book, I gather it’s a tool allowing newbie drawers to project 3 dimensional scenes onto a 2 dimensional plane.

The exact resources:

You will need a piece of clear plastic, about 8″ x 10″ and about 1/16″ thick. A piece of glass is fine, but the edges must be taped. Use a permanent marker to draw two crosshairs on the plastic, a horizontal line and a vertical line…..

The internet being the glorious treasure trove it was, I thought to do a quick google search to see if anyone was selling aforementioned plastic drawing viewfinders.

Google promptly told me in it’s own way… No. (seriously search for it… if there were enough people learning drawing from this book, that’s a small business opportuity)

I checked out clear Perspex on Ebay. That shit’s expensive.

In the limited amount of time I wandered where I was going to find a piece of clear plastic. With my limited budget, and more importantly my limited time, I realised I was going to have to get creative … fast.

So ladies and gentlemen I present how to make a plastic viewfinder for less than £2.

  • Go to your nearest large store, whether it’s Tesco’s, WHSmith, Home Depot etc. The key is it’s gotta be a large store.
  • Now here’s the hunting part. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to find any object which has a clear plastic component that is flat and larger than an A4 piece of paper. Look for anything. I initially considered Tupperware covers, but then found this teacher’s certificate box:

  • With your discovered piece of plastic, using a ruler measure out an 8″ x 10″ rectangle to cut.

  • Next find a piece of cardboard. Any will do as long as you can make a section larger than an A4 piece of paper. Now measure out a 8″ x 10″ rectangle. Then a 6″ x 7 5/8″ rectangle inside that. Stick a scissors in the middle like you did in primary school and cut out that tough son of a bitch.


  • Tape the cut out cardboard frame and stick it to your plastic with some tape
  • Finally find a permanent marker and draw crosshairs in the middle of the pane. Like you find in old fashioned windows.

Voila, you have a plastic drawing viewfinder! And for less than a cup of coffee.