Photography Tutorial: DIY - Create Budget Flash Diffusers from a Milk Jug



While searching for ways to make cheap camera accessories, I came across a "do it yourself" project for a poor mans ring flash http://www.adidap.com/2007/12/20/diy-poors-man-ring-flash/ I tried making this ring flash and did not like it, but in the process, I had many ideas of how to make my own accessories out of milk jugs.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to make two easy diffusers for your flash. One for an on camera flash and the other for a slave flash; both made from a single milk jug.


End result:
DIY - Create Budget Flash Diffusers from a Milk Jug Final Image

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Practice tutorial

Step 1

I will first show you how to make this on-camera flash diffuser easily by just a few cuts out of a milk jug.


Step 2

First, you will start with a milk jug. I recommend washing it first.


Step 3

This is the part that you will want from the jug. You do not need this embedded circle, but it helps keep the diffuser stay rounded when you fold it over.


Step 4

There are usually a few flat sides to a milk jug and mine also had seams. You will want to cut out the whole side that has the circle on it. I cut down the seams.


Step 5

If you follow the seams, they will eventually meet at the bottom. Cut down each seam on each side of the circle.


Step 6

Here, you will see a little better at how it is to be cut.


Step 7

This is what your piece should look like that you will use to make the on-camera flash diffuser. Remember to save the rest of the milk jug for the next diffuser I will show you how to make.


Step 8

To make this piece easier to work with, I cut off the curved edges on each end.


Step 9

Bottom edge


Step 10

You should now have a piece that looks similar to this.


Step 11

Now, you will pop open your flash on your camera and measure the width of the opening under it. You will then make marks on your milk jug piece so you know where to cut.


Step 12

You will do this on both ends of the piece but the second marks on the opposite side will be slightly smaller in width than the first marks. This is because one of these ends will have to go through another. You will see what I mean later in the tutorial.


Step 13

Cut a straight line almost to the edge of the circle.


Step 14

Now cut a straight line on the other mark and you will have a tab like this.


Step 15

Now you will repeat the same steps above for the other end.


Step 16

Again, you will end up with a tab like this.


Step 17

Next you will cut along the edge of the circle.


Step 18

You will want to stop cutting when you get to the tab. Do not cut through the tabs.


Step 19

One side should now look like this.


Step 20

Next, repeat the steps above by cutting along the other edge of the circle.


Step 21

You should now have a cut out that looks similar to this.


Step 22

Next, using a kitchen knife or exacto knife, you will make a cut in the wider tab. You will NOT go all the way to the edges. This will be the slit where you put the other tab through.


Step 23

You should now have a slit that looks like this in the wider tab.


Step 24

Next, you will take the smaller tab and curve it over and see if it fits in the slit of the wider tab. If not, just trim a bit off the edges of the smaller tab until it fits.


Step 25

If it fits, it should look like this.


Step 26

Now to try it out on your camera! Pull the wider tab through the opening just under your flash.


Step 27

Next, take the smaller tab and curve it over top of the flash.


Step 28

Next, put the smaller tab through the slit in the wider tab.


Step 29

Now, pull the small tab all the way until it stops.


Step 30

Looking from the back of the camera.


Step 31

Now I will show you how to make a diffusing cover for your slave flash from another part of the same milk jug.


Step 32

You will want to use the flattest part of the remaining jug.


Step 33

Again, you will cut down the seam.


Step 34

You will now have a side like this.


Step 35

I cut off the bottom where it is strongly curved, so it is easier to work with.


Step 36

Now, lay your flash over the milk jug piece and make marks at the top. (I forgot to take the other cover off before taking the picture.) This is where you will cut.


Step 37

Next, where you made your mark, cut a straight line all the way across the milk jug piece.


Step 38

Next, wrap your piece around your flash and mark where it overlaps.


Step 39

Now, cut along your mark, all the way across your piece.


Step 40

Next, wrap your piece around your flash again and tape where the ends meet.


Step 41

Now place this piece over your flash and mark where the front corners are on each side. These marks will be where you put a crease in the cover so it fits better on your flash.


Step 42

Now, along your mark, fold and make a crease. Do this on both sides.


Step 43

It should now look like this. If your flash is like mine, you can go on to the next step. If your flash has nice squared edges all the way around, you will want to crease the back also. The back part of my flash is just slightly rounded, so I will not crease the back corners.


Step 44

Next, put the cover back on the flash. Along the same creases, cut a line until your scissors meet the flash, as shown.


Step 45

Repeat the step above on the other crease as shown.


Step 46

Next you will fold and crease the front as shown.


Step 47

Next, put the cover back on the flash.


Step 48

Now you will turn the flash to the backside and make cuts down to the flash, as shown, just like we did for steps 44 and 45.


Step 49

Next, you will fold and crease the sides as shown.


Step 50

As you can see here, it is starting to look like a box top over your flash.


Step 51

Next, fold the back side over the top and crease it.


Step 52

Next you will want to put a piece of tape over the top of the folded edges to keep them in place.


Step 53

You now have a cover!


Step 54

You can diffuse the cover even more by cutting out a scrap piece of milk jug and placing it behind the cover as shown.


Step 55

As you will notice, my switches will be covered if I pull the cover all the way down.


Step 56

Make a mark on the cover on each side just above the switches.


Step 57

Next, cut along these lines part way up the cover.


Step 58

Fold this tab up and snip if off with your scissors as shown.


Step 59

You will now be able to use your switches.


Step 60

You now have two CHEAP diffusers for your flashes. And you should still have enough room in your milk jug to make one more diffusers as a spare.
Thanks for checking out my tutorial.



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5 Comments:

no avatar
[banned] says:

That's awesome! I'm going to try it as soon as I can get my hands on a milk jug!

(5 years and 634 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Very creative...! With a range of diffusing the brightness, just by adding cut-outs of the same material. I like it. I'm not a photographer but got the idea. Am sure its very effective.

(5 years and 626 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Excellent article..!!!

(5 years and 215 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

I cut out one that fits the lens so that the pop-up flash opens and closes normally, with the homemade diffuser staying attached with double sided tape. Does this work of does the diffuser you make HAVE to be bigger than the lens in order for the flash to be diffused?

(4 years and 365 days ago)
no avatar
bobm says:

Just finished making the popup flash diffuser per your tutorial. Works great.

(4 years and 354 days ago)


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