So I wanted to get a Lensbaby, but I didn't want to shell out the couple hundred bucks without trying one first. I looked at different lens rental places and after figuring out the cost of renting and shipping the lens I decided to try and make one. The only thing I had to buy was the sink plunger which was about $3.00 at home depot, and a 46mm lens filter which I picked up at a local used camera store for $5.00
Camera Body Cap
46mm Lens Filter
2" Hole Saw Bit
Drill, Hacksaw & File / Sandpaper / or Dremel
Old lens with manual aperture and focal distance adjustment. (If you have a newer lens without manual aperture adjustment you can use it but it will take a few extra steps, and basically destroy it for use on other cameras. fstoppers shows you how to take apart an old broken lens so you can adjust the aperture manually.)
Preferably use a medium format lens, but a 35mm lens could work if you are not using a full frame camera. You want the lens to project an image larger than the sensor, so that you have a little leeway when you move the lens around.
Drill a hole into the body cap with a 2" drill bit and sand down the edges so they are smooth, using a dremel, file or sandpaper.
Cut the end off of the sink plunger using a hacksaw and sand the edges. Cut off enough so that you can press the end off lens flat to your camera.
Test that the length of the plunger / body cap is right. Put the body cap on the camera and set the focus on the lens to infinity. Put the lens in the plunger and hold it up to the camera and make sure that you can get the image to focus properly. (I used a glue gun to set the cap and plunger in place while I figured out the proper length of the plunger to use.)
Permanently attach the lens to the body cap using the gorilla glue.
Place the lens filter into the end of the body cap so that no dust can get into the camera. Make sure to press the lens filter all the way in so that the camera mirror does not hit it.
Set your camera to Av. You can now tilt the lens and push or pull the lens to change the focal plane and get that Lensbaby effect.
Here are some sample pictures using my new toy:
My dog Kali. The orange plastic had a cool light leak effect.
This is what the photo looks like when I blocked the light from leaking in.
Not bad for about $10.00
Here's a couple photos I took using it during a Disneyland Engagement Session