5 Tips for using the camera tool in ScratchJr

The ScratchJr camera tool opens up new fun possibilities to create your own ScratchJr characters and backgrounds. It’s very intuitive and easy to use, but there are some tricks that may not be obvious at first glance.

So, if you’re looking for new ways to engage your kids with the ScratchJr app… read this post and get inspired!

Camera tool – take your ScratchJr characters to the next level

After selecting the Camera tool, you can tap any section of a character or shape, and then tap the camera button to fill the section with a new photo.

This means that you can use the camera tool with any character from the app library or with your own custom character.

1. “Faceless” characters

In the ScratchJr app library there are 15 “faceless” characters that are specially prepared to be filled with a photo.

Choose your character and open up the editor. Tap the camera tool on the right and then tap the character’s face. The camera screen will pop up:

Take a photo and voila! You have an astronaut with your own face! Your students will surely love it! 😊

An astronaut chracter with your own face!

2. Fill the shape with textures

As previously said, you don’t have to limit yourself to dedicated “faceless” characters only.

Here is another idea for an engaging activity – choose a character, tap any part of it and fill it with a photo! You can use your iPad to take snaps of different shades, textures and patterns.  You can play indoors or outdoors!
Here is an example: you can edit a Tree and fill it with a photo of real green twigs! Looks natural, doesn’t it?

The Tree ScratchJr character filled with a photo of green leaves.

3. Create a new character

Another great way to use the camera tool is to create your own character.

This method works best for regular shape items (objects in the shape of a circle, rectangle etc.)

Here’s how to do it: create a new character and draw a shape. You should use a thin line and make sure that the color of the line is similar to that of the object you want to photograph.
Make a well-framed photo… and voila, you now have an orange to be used in your animations!

New ScratchJr character - orange circle
A new ScratchJr character – an orange.

Create new backgrounds with the camera tool

4. Full size photo backgrounds. Snaps of the real world and collages

The most obvious way to create a new background for your animations is to… just take a photo and make it your background! 😊

Start with a blank canvas, tap the camera tool and then tap anywhere on the canvas.
Take a picture… and you’re done! Here is a photo that I took in the backyard of my apartment:

Full screen photo as a ScratchJr background.

Also, sometimes you would like to create a specific project, but there is no suitable background for your design. For example, I once needed to have a blank clock face background. You can draw it in the paint editor… or you can print a suitable picture and then make o photo of that printable!

Take a picture of a printable to create a suitable background.

5. Insert a photo into an existing background

You can use the camera tool with any area – this rule works for backgrounds as well.
For example, choose the Classroom background, open the editor and tap the picture on the wall, then take a photo.

This way you can “insert” a picture into any background from the ScratchJr app library.

Insert picture into ScratchJr background.
“Inserting” picture into the background from the ScratchJr app library.

How did you like those ideas? Happy coding everyone and have fun using the ScratchJr camera tool!

Psssst… Looking for other ScratchJr paint editor tips? You may like this post about creating irregular shapes by dragging points!


  1. Excelente! Sos una fuente de inspiración Weronika, muchas gracias por llevar esta hermosa herramienta a nuevos desafíos!

    1. Thank you Meagan! I had the same. Only when I started to think about it it occurred to me that the camera tool can be used in that many ways. I especially like the idea of creating new characters!

    1. Hi! Create a new character and draw a shape (for example, a circle). Then, choose the camera tool and tap the shape that you just drew. Then, make a picture of the object (for example an orange).

    1. Yes, you can try doing that (actually I was thinking to write a post about! 🙂
      The difficulty is that when you rotate an object in ScratchJr, it always rotates about its center.

      I was thinking to create a very looong arrow, but only one half of it would be visible.
      Let’s say you create a clock and make the internal of it solid red. Then, you create an arrow – half of it will be red, the other half will be blue. You rotate the arrow (about its center), but it looks like a normal clock arrow.
      The trick is similar to the one in this post:

  2. Hi,

    I created characters with weird shapes (octopus) with my son from his drawings after your article.
    The first step is to draw a rough shape and insert a picture in it. After that we drew over it to make a new outline. We removed the first picture with the scissors and inserted a new photo in the second irregular shaped outline.
    Works really well for drawings!

    Thanks for your site!

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