How to Hide Security Camera Outside: DIY Hidden Light Pole Security Cam
A hidden security camera is, without any doubt, a more effective tool to catch the bad guy and gather crime evidence compared with those in plain sight.
Inspired by the ideas of how to hide security cameras, I decided to build a hidden camera by myself as those ready-made spy cameras seem to be hard to satisfy my essential monitoring needs like the high-res and real-time access.
So here it is: A DIY garden pole hidden security camera for the front door. Or you may call it a hidden security camera light.
Can you spot the camera? If you are interested, continue reading and I’ll show you how to hide a security camera, disguising as a garden light pole, in steps.
- PVC Trunking 2”x 3” (50mm x 75mm)
- PVC Trunking 2”x 4” (50mm x 100mm)
- Picture Frame
- Garden (Outdoor) Solar Light
- Reolink Argus 2 Outdoor Camera
- Reolink Solar Panel
Tip: It’s better to choose a completely wireless security camera operating on batteries so you don’t need to worry about how to hide security wires outside.
And the solar panel comes as a great power source for the camera. Bulky and obvious as it looks, it fits the design perfectly since it’s going to look like a solar panel for the light.
- Hand Saw (fined-toothed blade)
- Hand Files
- Bolt and Nuts
- Glue (I use shoe glue in this project because it’s not only good for leather, but glue plastic perfectly as well)
- Cable Ties
- Automotive rubber seal strip
- Cordless Drill
- Acrylic Spray Paint (Black)
Step 1: Build the Base
- Cut the 2”x 4” PVC trunking using the handsaw for a length of 200mm. Make two of these.
- Once cut, remove the rough edges with the hand file.
- Remove the cover of the trunking, clamped it together and drill holes alongside the edges.
- Use cable ties to hold the two covers together. Cut the extra ties with the cutter.
- Attach the trunking to the joined covers.
- This will be the base of our light pole.
Step 2: Build the Column
- For the column, use the 2”x 3” PVC trunking.
- Cut it for a length of 900mm. Make two of these as well.
- Remove the top of the trunking for a length of 200mm at one end, and 40mm at the other side (as shown in the photo).
- Similar as in Step 2, drill holes on both trunking covers and tied it together.
- Attach the trunking to its covers. The bottom part will be connected to the base while the top part will house the CCTV and top compartment.
Step 3: Build the Column Top
- Cut another two 200mm length of 2”x 4” trunking (similar to the base).
- Remove the trunking cover and cut it as shown in the photo.
- Join the two covers with cable ties. This will serve as the internal support for the top compartment.
- Get one of the trunking and make a cut out in the shape of the camera front.
- Cover the edge of the hole with the rubber seal strip.
- Next, attach the trunking to its covers. The hole will be where we’re going to position the Reolink camera.
Step 4: Build the CCTV Compartment
- Trace the top outline of the column top in the previous step and cut a piece of trunking according to the outline.
- Place it at the bottom of the column top. This will be the platform for the Reolink camera.
- Use bolt and nut to secure the camera onto its position. The Reolink camera has a detachable bottom (it is attached by the magnet) so it is fairly easy to remove the camera for maintenance purposes.
Step 5: Build the Top Cover
- To cover the top compartment cut a piece of 2”x 4” trunking cover into a 4”x 4” square size. This should be able to cover the top, but only one side is able to clip onto the column top.
- To cover this gap, use the rubber seal strip on the edges (as shown in the photo).
- The top cover is meant to be removable so that you can reach the camera inside.
Step 6: Assemble the Pole and Add Details
- Attach the pole to the base and the column top. You’ll notice gap in between because of the difference in size.
- To solve this, cut a strip of the trunking cover edges and glue it to the side of the base. This will support the column when you insert it onto the base.
- Do the same for the column top. Cut a small strip and glue it to the bottom side to fit in the column perfectly.
- To add details to the lamp pole, get the picture frame and remove the picture. Use the frame to cover the hole gap between the base and the column. Do the same on the column top.
Step 7: Prepare the Solar Light, Camera and Solar Panel
- Install the solar light on the detachable top cover we made in Step 5. Secure it by using nut and bolt.
- The Reolink camera, Argus 2 comes with a rubber cover – or eggshell as how I call it. This eggshell provides more protection to the camera body. The camera is fitted with a rechargeable battery, but in this project, it will be powered by Reolink solar panel instead.
- The solar panel is connected to the camera using a micro USB cable with a protective rubber cover.
- Install the solar panel bracket to the other end of the column top and make a small hole to insert the cable. This hole will be covered with the rubber seal strip later.
- Once done, assemble the lamp pole. There might be some balancing issues because the solar panel is heavier on the rear side. If you’re worried that the pole might topple over, you can strengthen the base by fill it with concrete to make it heavier.
Step 8: Paint It Black
- Remove the camera, solar panel and solar light to prepare for the painting.
- I use one and a half can of 400 ml acrylic spray paint to cover the hole lamp pole.
Step 9: Setup the Camera
- To set up the camera first you’ll need to download Reolink app from Google Play or App Store.
- Once installed, click on the blue Plus sign on the top right.
- Scan the QR code on the rear of the camera.
- Next, choose connect to your home Wi-Fi. Make sure your phone is connected to your Wi-Fi because we are going to connect the camera to your Wi-Fi via your phone.
- The app will pop up a QR code. Hold the camera and face it towards your phone (the QR code). Place the camera about a foot from the phone in order for it to capture the code.
- Once the camera recognizes the QR code, it will automatically try to connect to your Wi-Fi network.
- Once connected the app will prompt for a username and password. This password shall be used every time you try to login to the camera to view the footage.
Step 10: All Done!
Now the garden pole hidden security camera is now ready to be used to cover your perimeter surveillance.