DIY 1-Meter Reflector

Written by D. Eric Franks on 16 October 2009.

Jared Bouck over at has plans up for constructing a 40" reflector (1 meter) for $8. In summary, you need:

  • "Scary Springy Steel Wire of Doom" (actually "fish tape" used to fish wires through narrow conduits)
  • metallic fabric (nylon backed - Mr. Bouck is short on detail here, but he got it on ebay for $4)
  • nylon webbing (for the edge)

Oh, and you'll need a sewing machine (and know basically how to use it - not hard, I can assure you). I am extremely impressed with the results he got, including the collapsible part. Of course, this ain't rocket science and the quality of the light the DIY reflector can bounce in will be equivalent to the most expensive reflectors on the planet! Which raises the question: what do you get with a commercial reflector and how much do they cost?

Mr. Bouck's design costs roughly $8 and an hour of your time (assuming you have a sewing machine). It is two sided (silver and white) and collapses, but doesn't have a carrying case. So add in the price of an hour of your time and compare with an equivalent-sized 5-in-1 sided reflector from Hong Kong for $25 (shipped) that comes with a carrying case and is ready to use. Subtract out the satisfaction of doing it yourself and it's still a good deal for folks that don't enjoy DIY projects, so there are options for all of us. And for those of you that believe that "professional" equipment is necessarily expensive, you can buy really expensive 5-in-1 reflectors for $185 if you really want to. (Please, before you do, however, drop me an e-mail: I can definitely sell you the most awesome 5-in-1 reflector ever for $185, with free carrying case and lifetime warranty.)

Please, go visit inventgeek for the whole story - and donate to the site if you find it useful! From what I can tell, they have a bunch of photography DIY projects in the wings, so this is a site to watch.

All of this begs the question: Why do I need a reflector? Easy answer: Light, light, baby. Reflectors (especially 5-in-1 collapsible ones) are almost endlessly useful, last forever and, at $25, I might rank this as the #3 required accessory every videographer should own (with #1 being a clear UV filter for your lens and #2 being a tripod of any sort at all). I use mine (I own three, including one that lives in the trunk of my car) for fill in the studio, to bounce sunlight outside, as a flag, white balancing, diffusion for product shots, as a frisbee, to keep light rain off the camera, etc. etc. etc.

* DIY 40 Inch Silver Reflector {mos_fb_discuss:10}

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0 # Josh 2014-09-28 16:45
Stunning quest there. What occurred after? Take care!

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