[personal profile] maxvinyl
the reason I'm doing this is because I found very few guides online showing how to make your own inserts. the few I did find would work, I suppose, but were just foam covered in duct tape. so now, having made my own inserts, I feel I should share the ~fruits of my labor~ and show how I did it.

SO, here is a step-by step guide, complete with pictures, on how to make fairly attractive, completely functional inserts.

the finished product, to tempt you:

Photobucket

(side note: I was going to buy a more ~serious~ fabric like stripes or plaid, but couldn't find one I liked. this one reminded me of harry potter so, naturally, I had to buy it. so no mocking it.)

my total cost was about $35, so the average cost of this project will probably be between $20 and $40, depending on your materials. but for that cost, I made five, fully-padded inserts. domke inserts (which are not even padded on the bottom) run between $20 and $40 apiece.

warning: these instructions are written as though you are a complete idiot. just in case.



what you will need, assuming you do exactly as I did:
- a camping mat, or some other type of 1/2" thick, high-density foam material. I chose a camping mat because it was about $6 at wal-mart and is large enough to make a lot of inserts.
- fabric. I used 2 yards, but obviously you'll want more or less depending on the size and number of inserts you're making.
- a sewing machine.
- strong fabric glue. I used fabri-tac permanent adhesive, which worked very well. unless you're more skilled at sewing than I, you will use this glue to put together your inserts, which is why it should be strong.
- sew-on velcro strips.
- a ruler, scissors, and a permanent marker.



here's my bag:



common sense instructions:
- measure your bag
- measure your camera + lenses
- draw out scale sketches of your inserts beforehand




use your marker and ruler to draw and label your base and four sides. remember to take into account the thickness of your foam; if you want exactly 16 square inches inside the insert, add 1/2" (or whatever, if yours is thicker) to the length and width (so each side would be 4.5" instead of just 4"). also remember that when doing the sides, two sides will be the same width as the base, while the other two will be shorter due to how they fit together on top of the base piece. if the foam thickness is 1/2", these two sides should each be an inch shorter than the side they are meant to go on. if you're already confused, cut out your sides on paper and piece it together. you'll figure it out.




to stay organized, I assigned each group a letter.



cut out your fabric around each foam square, making sure you're leaving enough room to sew (but not too much, you don't want to waste your fabric).



if you know how to sew, you can ignore this. if you're a total noob, like I am, here's what you should do:
- make sure your fabric is inside-out, like the picture. pin either side down how you want it sewed.
- sew it, or more likely, have someone you know sew it.
- once both sides are sewed, turn it right-side out, stick your foam back inside, tuck in the top edges, and sew that down.






once you have all your sides sewn in, you can glue them together. it's wise to line them up before gluing them to make sure everything's fine. then just lay the glue down, stick your sides on, and hold it together for a few minutes. the fabri-tac glue dries quite rapidly, so you'll want to be quick. however, it does take at least a few hours for it to really set. so don't go pulling on it right away.





the first insert I made was a bit large because I'd been afraid of making it too small to hold my camera (which, for reference, is a nikon d90 with a 35mm lens, an 18-55mm lens, and a 55-200mm lens). I ended up making it work later by adding a removable divider. it's about 6"x7"x6".




this was the second insert. it was initially meant to be for a lens, but turned out to be slightly too big. luckily for me, it fits my camera body, sans lens, perfectly. it's about 4.5"x4.5"x6".



these two are 4"x4"x6", which is perfect for my lenses.



this last one's about 4"x7"x6", which fits my d90 with a lens attached.



once my inserts were put together, I glued on a few little pockets I'd made and the velcro. I also made the divider to use in my largest insert.






I made enough inserts to give myself a number of configurations:

this is my smallest. one is the 4.5"x4.5"x6", which holds my d90 body, no lens attached. the other two are 4"x4"x6", and they hold my lenses. camera body isn't pictured, obviously, because I was using it, but it would go in the insert on the right.




this is my largest configuration. on the left is the 6"x7"x6" insert. left of the divider is room for my point-and-shoot, accessories, and the pocket will hold memory cards. right of the divider is enough room for my d90 with a small lens attached. the other two inserts are both the 4"x4"x6" ones, for my lenses.




here's my ~in-between~ configuration, which will probably be my favorite. on the left is the 4"x7"x6" insert, which holds the d90 + lens. and again, next to it, are the two small inserts for my lenses. this one's perfect because it's fairly compact in my bag, but I can fit my camera with a lens attached in it, unlike with the smaller configuration. the purple you can see beneath the lens is a little "pillow" my younger sister made out of scraps; it works nicely to support it and keep it from wiggling around too much in there.



complete set:



overall, I'm very pleased. they're quite sturdy. the entire project wasn't too time-consuming; the first insert took the longest because I wasn't entirely sure what I was doing, but once it was finished, the rest were a piece of cake. but for reference, I started yesterday afternoon and finished this evening.
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maxvinyl

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