Make a Pop-Up Camera Critter!

Get a genuine smile out of your littles.

I recently purchased a detachable ring light for my camera phone because I’d love to capture more images with better lighting. The pics are mostly of my kiddos but occasionally I capture one of my pup. My older son sometimes has a genuine smile but I often find he has that fake smile and it’s pretty bad. The baby is also hit or miss. I try to make a funny noise or catch him laughing at his brother. Many photos capture the deer in headlights look because now he’s mesmerized by the light!

So, I designed and created a pop-up smile critter. It attaches to a spring that sticks to the ring light. The results are incredible. I now attach one of these guys to the light whenever the moment strikes. I try to be discreet while I pull down the critter on his spring. Next, I find my most adorable subject. Finally, I let go of the critter and hold down my camera phone’s shutter button. Instant smiles! I capture cute and genuine smiles. You’ve got to try this pop-up critter out on your kids…or even a dog!


  • 4″ spring
  • circular object (such as a mason jar lid or can of veggies) with about 9″ circumference to trace a circle
  • detachable (aff) ring light
  • two 3″ long pieces of .75 thin duck tape
  • glue gun and glue
  • pipe cleaners
  • pom poms of assorted sizes
  • googly eyes of assorted sizes
  • pieces of thin foam in assorted colors
  • black sharpie marker


  1. Draw a circle on the craft foam using a circular item as your guide and cut it out.
  2. Take a pipe cleaner and make a circle 1/4″ smaller then the circumference of the foam circle. Using your glue gun, apply glue around the edge of the foam circle and attach the pipe cleaner.
  3. Embellish the rest of the critter by hot gluing eye balls, pop poms and pipe cleaners. Use a sharpie to add fine details such as a mouth or eyelashes.The possibilities are endless. Create something that your kid will enjoy. I even made an Itsy-Bitsy Spider to go along with the song and a character from one of my son’s favorite shows.
  4. Attach your critter to the spring with a piece of duck tape. Then fasten the other end of your spring with duck tape to your ring light. When you pull the critter back and then let it pop up, it will land right above the light. This way, your kid will look just above the camera lens.
  5. Clip your ring light onto your phone and operate it by following the light’s instructions.

When the moment is right, pull your pop-up critter back. Let it go while holding down your phone camera’s shutter button. Capture some adorable smiles and giggles!

Go ahead and make several today. You’ll catch some precious expressions out of everyone!

Interested in taking more photos with your phone? Check out these 8 DIY Smartphone Photography Tips!

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