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If you own a DSLR camera then you probably own at least 2 lenses if not more.  It is very important to protect those lenses. Today I am stepping away from my usual photography tutorials to get a little crafty and teach you to how to make your own padded lens cases.  Sure you can buy padded lens cases for relatively cheap, here are a few that come highly recommended.  But those offerings are boring and don’t add any of your personality to your gear.  This tutorial will take you step-by-step through what you need and how to make your own padded lens cases.  A sewing machine is recommended but not necessary. You could hand stitch this project and come up with the same beautiful lens case.  With that let’s jump right in!

Padded Lens Cases Supplies:


Supplies for DIY padded lens case

All these supplies you can get at your local fabric shop or online through the links above.  Again the sewing machine is optional. If you don’t own one, you will just need to hand stitch where I say sew with your machine.

Padded Lens Case Instructions:

Step 1:  Cut your fabric and flex foam to the correct size for the height and girth of the lens

In this tutorial, I made a padded lens case for my 50mm prime lens with the lens hood on it.  You will need to measure the height of your lens. My lens and hood measure approximately 4 inches.  You will then add 2.5 more inches for seam allowances and room for the drawstring closing. To measure the length needed around the lens, I took the foam and rolled the lens in it until it completely surrounded the lens.  Then you add a couple of inches for room and seam allowances. I ended up with the following measurements. You can reference the picture below to see the final cuts.

Flex Foam:  11” x 5”

Outside and Inside fabric pieces:  12” x 6.5”

Supplies cut for DIY padded lens case

Step 2:  Cut your fabric and flex foam for the base of the case

To cut the bottom of the lens case, I simply placed the lens, lens side down, on the foam and drew a circle about ½” away from the lens.  For the fabric pieces, I then placed the foam piece on the fabric and added another 2” for seam allowance. I ended up with the following measurements:

Base Flex Foam:  4” diameter circle

Base fabric pieces:  6” diameter circles

Flex Foam being measured for lens case

Step 3:  Sew or the body of the padded lens case

This happens in several steps, which I will explain, and show with pictures.

  1. Align your fabric body pieces right sides together and stitch up the bottom seam
    Bottom seam of DIY padded lens case
  2. Next stitch up both sides, leaving 1” at the top for your drawstring opening
    Side seams of DIY padded lens case
  3. Turn your body pieces right sides out, making sure to push out the corners
  4. Insert your flex foam into the pocket
  5. Sew tightly above the flex foam, all the way across the body of the lens case
    Top Seams of DIY padded lens case
  6. This next part can be tricky, but you will need to fold in and press the top portion of the fabric pieces before sewing the top of the case to make sure you have a nice clean edge to the top of your case
  7. Once you have folded and pressed the top edge, sew along the length as close to the top edge of the case.  Once you complete that sewing, you should have a ¾” pocket along both sides of the case for your drawstring (we will insert the ribbon on the last step).
    Top seams of DIY padded lens case

    Step 4:  Sew the base piece for the padded lens case

    To do this you sandwich the flex foam between the two pieces of fabric with right sides out.  Make sure to sew as close to the foam piece as you can so that the foam is snug and won’t move around.  There will be about 1” of extra fabric left around the foam and this is exactly what you want. This extra fabric is what will be used to attach the base piece to the body of the case.  

    Base piece of DIY padded lens case

    Step 5:  Pin your body and base pieces together to make the padded lens case.

    To do this you will first make a circle with the body of the case and pin the 2 edges together with some overlap.  If you have a small enough table on your sewing machine you can stitch the base edges together with an invisible seam.  I do not have that type of machine and had to hand stitch the body closed.

    Next, you will want to attach the base piece by pinning the base piece to the body so that the extra fabric on the base piece is attached to the inside body of the lens case.

    Finally, you can sew or hand stitch the base piece to the body.  Again I had to hand stitch because I don’t have a small enough table on my sewing machine for this particular lens case.  If you are making a really big case, you will be able to use the sewing machine.

    DIY padded lens case pinning

    Step 6:  Insert the ribbon into the hole left for the drawstring closure.  

    To do this, I opened a paper clip halfway, tied the end of my ribbon onto it, and then used it to pass through the hole of the case.  You can make your drawstring as long or short as you would like.

    Final DIY padded lens case

    There you have it!  A handmade padded lens case with your personality and style.  As you can see in a lot of the pictures, my sewing isn’t perfect, but the end result is great.  So don’t be afraid to try this if you are a novice sewer. If you liked this tutorial and would like to see more let me know in the comments.  

    Final DIY padded lens case

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