How to Make a DIY Flash Bounce Diffuser

Inspired by a commercial product and the famous youtube video I thought I would make my own flash bounce diffuser.

A commercial bouncer costs approximately £15 in the UK, a little cheaper at $20 in North America. The guy in the video charges £16 for enough materials to make two of his bounce cards which consists of four sheets of foam and two rubber bands. Pfft, I thought. I can do better than that!

How much did mine cost? £1. And I used the best ideas from both, a shape based on the “commercial product” (I don’t want to be sued) and the materials of the youtube tutorial.

First of all, why the modifications?

I tried the shape of the bouncer in the video and it just didn’t work as well as the commercial product. The paid for bouncer has “wings” that trap lateral light, the homebrew one seemed a little narrow. On the other hand I don’t like the velcro fastening, the DIY idea of using a rubber band or similar seems a lot less messy and means it is far easier to put on another flash head. With this in mind I set to work combining the best of the two.

What you need

  1. 5 free minutes
  2. Scissors
  3. 1x sheet Craft Foam (or Glossy Inkjet Paper if you can’t find the foam)
  4. 1x length of elastic (or wide rubber band)

In the UK the foam is called “fab foam” or I have heard might be called “funky foam” in some places. It is like a neoprene kind of stuff like wetsuit material. It comes in colours so you could experiment with different effects but I chose three sheets of white at 45p each. Bargain.

Rather than a rubber band I chose elastic from the habberdabberdasherysewing department. The problem with the rubber bands was getting the right size. I have four flash units with three sizes between them. Too loose and it doesn’t do its job, too tight and you can’t get the thing on. With a length of elastic cut down it is up to me to get the right fit. 1m of elastic 40mm deep, £1.45. More than enough there for several attachment bands.

Cutting the bouncer shape, sewing the attachment band

To make it easy for you I have put together a template. Please do let me know of any improvements you can make to the design, I am sure between us we can make it a whole lot better. For example right now there are gaps that leak a little light, perhaps a tweak to the wing design can sort that?

Print the template on A4 paper at “actual size”. There might be minor variations in size depending on your printer etc but if you print on paper and try it you can tweak as necessary before wasting your foam sheets. Use the paper shape as a template to cut around on the foam (I don’t think it’s worth risking trying to print on the foam but you can try it if you are daring, just don’t blame me!).

The band is a simple loop of the elastic cut to size and sewn or glued. You could probably use staples but that would scratch the finish of your flash. Simply wrap the elastic until you feel you have a good fit then either pin or mark where you need to make the join. If you use a safety pin you can even try the band for size and adjust.

That’s it! Five minutes and about a £1 per bouncer. Easy, eh?


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Comments

  1. Chris Garrett says

    Ha, it might surprise anyone who heard my accent but I am in fact an actual Canadian. I was born in Calgary but raised in England. I guess I am an honorary actual British Canadian ;O)

  2. Chris Garrett says

    I wanted to avoid sticking anything to the flash but apparently you can get velcro on rubber backed elastic

  3. says

    I purposefully avoided any solution that required velcro, hence the elastic. I have a sto-fen and find it *awful*. The light is too multi directional for my tastes. Not saying this is way better but at least it is directional in a controlled way. It’s a fun little thing to do and useful in some circumstances, that’s all.

    My next project I need to write up gives a lot nicer results but then is a lot bigger …

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