A security system costs a lot of money. And if you’re doing the installation yourself, it’s going to cost a lot of time and possibly a certain amount of frustration as well! The last thing you want is for the carefully installed outdoor security cameras to be damaged, vandalized, or stolen.
Housings for cameras just add another expense to the list and your budget has probably been drained by the purchase of the equipment. Don’t worry! We are here to show you how you can make your own outdoor security camera housings.
First Things First
You will first need to establish how many housings you require – if you have a fair number of cameras to mount it might be that some will not require housing due to the location in which you want to use them. If you are mounting a camera under the eaves of the house, you might feel that they will be adequately protected without a housing.
Take a look at the situation of each camera that does need housing. You could possibly make different housings for the different cameras. For example, if the camera is in the garden, you could disguise it with something that looks like a birdhouse. If the camera is on the porch, you could hide it in a wall-mounted light fitting.
For those cameras that are in tight corners, your housing will need to be made to fit the shape of the corner.
Once you’ve established these basics you can then decide on what materials you will need to acquire.
You might find that you have most of what you need lying around the shed or in the garage. It doesn’t take that much wood to make a birdfeeder. See if you have any wood scraps left over from a furniture project. If you have more than one lamp on your porch you could use one to hide the camera in. Using what you have is a great cost-saver and you can feel good about recycling too!
Another way of finding materials and saving money is to go to yard sales. It’s amazing what you can find. You might find a ready-made bird feeder that would suit your needs well – with maybe a little modification. Old porch lamps, bits of wood and metal, and all this and more can be found at yard sales.
Making the Housing
Camera housings can fulfill various needs. They can disguise your camera to prevent vandalism and theft, and at the same, they can protect expensive security equipment from the elements. If you are going about the effort of making your own housings, use materials that will fulfill the need for both camouflage and protection.
Let’s look at building a wooden camera housing first.
The tools and materials you are likely to need:
- Measuring tape
- Wood glue
- Paint or camouflage skin
- Small lock
A birdhouse is a good way both to disguise a camera and protect if from the weather. Its enclosed style with just a small hole at the front makes it ideal for keeping your camera safe from vandalism and rain.
If you aren’t feeling ambitious enough to attempt a whole roof structure, think more owl box than birdhouse and create a simple box shape to house your camera.
These are especially good housings if you have a wireless camera but if you are able to disguise the wires well, they remain a great covering option.
Measure the size of the camera and then add an inch or two on either side to ensure enough space inside the casing for the camera to fit comfortably into the housing.
Once you have the measurements of the six sides, you are ready to cut the wood into the correct lengths and shapes using a jigsaw. Make sure that you have marked a place at the back of the housing where the wires will need to pull through and cut a hole for that purpose. Cut another hole in the front of the box to accommodate the camera lens. Make sure you take the measurements carefully so that the camera can be positioned correctly, and no sightlines are lost. You might need to make a small stand on the bottom of the box for the camera to sit on – depending on the style of security camera you have. This can be done easily by gluing a small block of wood to the lumber forming the bottom of the house.
Nail the sides together. You can use wood glue as well to add extra strength. Remember to keep the top of the box open so that you can use the opening to access the back of the box in order to attach the housing to a tree or wall. You will also need the top open so that you can place the camera inside. It is a good idea to attach the top to the rest of the box using hinges so that you have easy access to the camera should you need to. You can attach a small lock to the box so that the opening is able to be secured.
Now you are ready to paint your box to suit the environment it is in. If it is in a leafy environment, you could purchase a camouflage skin for the box to make it blend in with its surroundings.
Using metal to make a housing is not as easy as using wood. It is harder to shape and requires some skill in metalwork.
It is easier to use a ready-made metal object and repurpose it as a security camera housing. Remember that metal rusts so if you are in an area where there is a lot of rainfall, using a metal housing might not be the best idea. If the housing is going to be in a fairly sheltered area, then metal will work fine.
If you live in an area where there is a lot of lightning a metal casing is not for you. Stick with a wooden housing.
Some people have used old light fittings and repurposed them to house cameras. It would depend on the type of camera you have and where you wish it to be placed as to whether this would work for you.
But just say you have a camera you wish to mount by your front door and an area on your porch where you can mount a light and let’s explore making a lamp into a camera housing. The type of light fitting you have will determine exactly what you do so below is just a basic guide to the general actions required.
The tools you will most likely need:
- Wire cutters
- Electrical tape
- Crimping tool
- Suitable light fitting
First, you need to remove all the existing electrical from the light fitting. Remove the reflector plate. Under the bulb connector, you will find a metal plate. This will have two small screws attached. Both the plate and the screws need to be kept for use later. Cut the wire to the bulb connector and remove the bulb support.
Loosen and remove any further screws so that the bell covering, and the metal covering is free. You should find a rather narrow hole – this might need to be made a bit wider if possible so that the camera cabling can pass through.
Now remove the mounting bracket. The plastic covering on the electrical box should be easy to remove.
Make sure that all the light fittings cabling is removed, and adequate place is left for the camera cables. You might need to use side cutters to make the holes bigger for the cables to pass through easily. Be careful that you don’t cut too much! Keep in mind that the light will need to be reassembled with the camera mounted inside the bulb bell. All parts necessary to this much be kept intact.
Now onto the cabling. Start from the back and grab the wires at the other end. Pass the wires through the slots one by one. Leave enough wire to work with. Attach the UTP cable to the connector – use the correct order when attaching the colored wires.
Once your camera is in place and correctly wired, you can reassemble your light fitting and mount it to the wall.
Does all this seem like a bit too much effort? Bitten off a bit more than you can chew? Never fear! There are other options.
You can simply go out a buy a couple of birdhouses and modify them to fit your needs. Or you could hide your porch security camera in a fake plant pot – a hanging pot plant is an especially good place to hide one.
There are plenty of options to choose from on Amazon.
In some cases, it might be easier to mount your camera inside a window, or on a windowsill. This is a surprisingly covert place to hide a camera and not many burglars will look there when scouting for cameras on your property. The security camera is then protected from vandalism and from bad weather while still being able to record what is going on outside your property. The window might affect the night vision and motion sensors of the camera so first check with the supplier if your brand of camera works well behind glass.
Using your doorbell is another great way to disguise and protect a camera. They are easy to install and allow you a great view of the outdoors. These types of security cameras cost a lot less than the bigger CCTV cameras and can even be integrated with your Smartphone. This makes them a great option for home security.
A Few More Tips
Protecting your expensive security cameras is a wise way of ensuring that the life of your equipment is extended. Unprotected cameras are far more likely to need fixing or replacing than those that are securely housed. So, while housing might prove an extra initial cost that you feel you could do without, they are more than worth it in the long run.
Remember that your cabling and connectors will need protection from the weather too. Protect them with a waterproof lip or plastic conduit. Junction boxes are another option that will protect your outdoor cables from damage. Make sure any holes are sealed so that moisture cannot travel into the box.
Place a packet of silica gel in the housing of outside security cameras to help prevent the lens from fogging over. Remember to regularly wipe the lens of your security camera to prevent damage from moisture and dust.
Protect your cameras with lightning surge protectors to stop voltage spikes. If each camera has its own power supply, they are at greater risk of being damaged when there is a lightning storm. To protect your whole system, it is better to use Power Supply Panels with CCTV surge protectors and UPS.
Your outdoor security cameras will also need to be protected from insect and animal interference. Squirrels like to chew through cables so remember to sheath them – not the squirrels, the cables!
Wasps and bees could decide to take up residence inside your newly built birdhouse housing unit. Spiders can spin webs in ways that might hinder the camera’s view. To prevent these issues, periodically spray the housing and camera with insect repellents – remember to wipe the lens after spraying. There are also products that hinder small rodents and other critters from becoming a pest.
Good luck with building your own DIY security camera housing! Your work will pay off in the end and you can look forward to many years of functioning and problem-free security equipment. Diligent work and regular housing maintenance will give you the peace of mind that your family is safe and secure in their home.