Foldable DIY softbox

by emarc

Yes, I admit it - a have a serious case of strobism. But I'm not the only one, it's like an epidemic, and it's spreading from Strobist.

This is an idea I got a long time ago - the prototype has been sitting om my desk for over a year, but I didn't have any diffusion material to stick in front of it. Today I finally got around to finishing it...

Update: also check out the larger kitebox DIY.

(mouseover the images to enlarge - keep mouse over one to see the caption)

Get a foldable bug cover for cakes (does this thing have a proper name?) They come in various sizes, choose one that fits your purpose - are you going to use it as an on-camera diffuser, or do you want a larger one for off-camera use? I didn't actually have any choice since I've only managed to find one size...
I paid 1eur for this particular model.

Dismantle the cover, and use the net from one of the sides as a blueprint for your black/silver or black/white fabric. You'll need four pieces. Remember to make a hole for the flash.
I got 'some assistance' at this stage, so I won't go into details - if you don't sew very well, join the club, and try to get someone else to do the sewing.
Duct-taping might do the trick as well, but I'm pretty sure sewing makes for a more durable softbox.

Diffusion time! I found a disposable raincoat that seemed suitably thin and white. Cut out a piece that will fit the business end of the softbox and duct-tape the edges for durability.
I stuck the diffusion material to the softbox using velcro. Tape-velcro stuck to the duct-tape, but the pieces on the fabric had to be sewn.

That's it! Finished product! And it actually does soften the light (watch the shadow of the wooden moose).
I don't have a mechanism to fasten the softbox to the flash yet, but I imagine a rubber band or some more velcro will do the trick.
Improvements / ideas include an extra diffusion panel inside, and different sized/shaped (strip-light) variations.

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I'm an amateur photographer, spending time reading Strobist.com and at the Strobist.com Flickr group. Professionally I work at IT Mill on the IT Mill Toolkit