May 11, 2015

DIY Light Diffuser

Diffuser in front of a bright east window

I had been browsing light diffusers on Amazon. I didn't really want to risk buying a cheap one, but nor did I want to invest in an expensive one. The sizes available didn't really seem to work for what I was looking for, and most needed special stands. Then it occurred to me that the material in the diffusers reminded me very much of white rip-stop nylon. And my DIY Light Diffuser was born! 

It was so easy and worked so well, I thought you might like it, too. It took less than an hour to put together, and cost me about $2.00 to make. 




DIY Light Diffuser


You will need:

1 white foam board (20" X 30")
1/2 yard of white rip-stop nylon

white duct tape 
exacto knife, scissors, ruler



To do:

1. Measure a 4" border all the way around the outer edges of your foam board and, using an exacto knife, cut out the resulting 12" X 22" rectangle. Put something under your foam board to protect the surface underneath. I used my rotary cutting mat.




2. Using the cut out rectangle as a pattern, cut 1 or 2 pieces (see notes below for your preference) of the rip stop nylon, leaving 2 to 3 inches of extra fabric on each side.



3. Smooth the fabric evenly over the foam board and tape all sides with duct tape. Optional: I took the second piece of fabric and taped it across the top ONLY. On very sunny days, I can fold it down and have a double layer of diffusion, or clip it back up out of the way when not needed! (Rip-stop nylon does not fray, so no worries there). 


Notes:
  • I used a 4" border of foam board to make sure the resulting frame was sturdy and wouldn't twist or flop around. It is very sturdy. You could probably get away with a narrower frame and more nylon (especially if you used a smaller board), but I have not tried it. 
  • You can use one layer of fabric, or add the second layer as seen in step 3. It's really easy to add the second layer, and I like having the option.
  • When taping the fabric onto the foam board in step 2, I put the cut out rectangle back into place (temporarily) to keep the fabric from sagging down into the opening while I taped it. That worked well to keep the fabric smooth. I had to kind of work a little bit to get the piece back out again, but it eventually came out. 
  • To keep it portable, I just prop it up wherever I need it. Not very high tech, but it works. One could probably fashion some removable feet out of the cut out middle portion of the board, but I haven't gotten that far yet. :)
  • This was a very inexpensive project. The rip-stop nylon was $7.98/yard at Joann's, and I had a coupon for 50% off. You use 1/2 yard, so the cost of the fabric was $2.00. I had the foam board on hand, but even if you didn't, they are $1.99 at Hobby Lobby, and they always have a 40% coupon, so you could easily get a foam board there for about $1.20. I had all the other supplies on hand, too. So this project cost me about $2.00. 




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33 comments:

  1. Joy,

    Good picture are so important in social media, especially on Pinterst. I use my light diffuser every time I take a picture. I love this easy to make version. How do you get it to stand up? Do you use a light or the light coming in from the window? I am always interesting in trying simple things to improve my pictures.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Diane

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    1. Thank you for your questions, Diane- I added some info to the post to answer them. I just prop it up in front of a window- I lean it up against a tall candle holder I have. :)

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  2. I love this idea and you are so incredibly clever to come up with your own creation of a light for pictures. It is so difficult to control the environment for blogging pics and this will definitely help. Thank you so much for sharing your ingenious idea. Carrie, A Mother's Shadow

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  3. This is awesome Joy and definitely need a light diffuser and will have to try since it is inexpensive. So can't thank you enough for sharing with all of us how you did this ;)

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  4. Great idea! I have the foam board, now all I need is some nylon fabric and I think I'm going to have to make one.

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  5. This is such a great idea. I have been trying to figure out how to make my photos look better and this may do just the trick. Thank you for sharing your cleve DIY option.

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  6. I love your DIY diffuser. I have one that goes over my flash but not one for diffusing the natural light coming in. I will have to make one!!

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  7. Hi! Visiting from the Lou Lou Girls' party. I am so glad to see this post! I was just thinking about making my own light diffuser too! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  8. what a brilliant idea - thanks for sharing!

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  9. Great idea! I've wondered if this works or not.
    Thank you for sharing this at Brag About It Link Party on VMG206.
    ~ Megin of VMG206

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  10. O my granny this is so great! Totally will be making one!

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  11. Thanks so much for sharing this, Joy!

    Pinning!

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  12. Good morning Joy! Thank you for sharing your DIY light diffuser at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. I featured you on facebook and google plus xo

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  13. Love this tutorial, Joy! What a fantastic idea. Photograph equipment can get so expensive - this is a really helpful post! Thank you for sharing your DIY Light Diffuser with us at the Hearth and Soul hop. Pinning and sharing :-)

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  14. I was given a light diffuser tent (box) - but I'm still learning how to really use it properly. In some ways, I think this is so much better. I find the tent to be quite confining!

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  15. What a great idea. I need to make one of these for myself.
    Thanks for linking IP to WUW Linky party.
    Bev @ eclecticredbarn

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  16. Wow! Such a clever idea. Been searching for photography ideas lately so I'm glad I found you on the This is How We Roll Thursday link up! Going to pin this one. Thanks for sharing!

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  17. This is awesome!! Thank you... I like many others have been trying to work on my photography skills and this will obviously help :) Thanks again!

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  18. Excellent. Just needed this the other day! I want natural light--but not THAT much! Thanks for sharing this super-tool!

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  19. What a great idea Joy! Thanks for enlightening me! Pinned and shared!

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  20. Terrific tutorial Joy! Using the fabric is a great idea, I'd love to give it a go when I have a chance. Thanks so much for sharing with Foodie Friends Friday party this weekend. Pinned/sharing.

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  21. Thank you for your post. Hope this helps my pics. They're pretty bad. Any other suggestions? :)

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  22. What a great idea Joy! I need to make one. Thanks for sharing the instructions with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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  23. Morning Joy! Stopped by to let you know that this was the most clicked link at last week's Teach Me Tuesday party!! Congrats ;) It will be featured this week!!

    Thanks so much for always linking up great stuff!!

    Have an awesome week!

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  24. Thank you so much for this wonderfully easy idea for better pics. Pinning. Thank you for sharing with Share It One More Time. Cathy

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  25. This looks incredible! Pinned and tweeted. We appreciate you taking the time to party with us. I hope to see you tonight at 7 pm.. Happy Monday! Lou Lou Girls

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  26. What an awesome tip! The photo looks great. Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty - we're looking forward to what you have to share next week. :)

    ~Lorelai
    Life With Lorelai

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  27. I read this post last week, but hadn't gotten around to making one of these. I needed to reduce the glare off of a shiny surface when I was taking a picture for my blog last week and my daughter ran to get her fairy wings....they worked for the moment, but I'm definitely going to use your idea to make my own diffuser.

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  28. Great post!! Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday!! Hope to see you again tomorrow!! Pinned!!

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  29. This is so timely because I am looking for one of these as well- definitely pinned to make- thank you!

    I stopped by from Cook it! Craft it! Share it!

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  30. What a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing and linking up!

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  31. I have one window in my house that has good light once in a while, but if it's sunny it shines directly in. This is a great solution! Thanks for sharing it at Talented Tuesday!

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  32. joy- this is so helpful! I am featuring it over at Friday Favorites this week at http://notatrophywife.com
    Thank you for linking up and would love a social media shout out to grow this party. I pinned and put it on my FB page too! Love the tutorial! laura

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