The quality of LED lighting has reached a point now where colour balance is good and the illumination is even and flicker free, great for photos and video. I bought a couple of small LED lights to try out and was very pleased with the results, especially as they were only around £35/$50 each. The small size of the package meant that the light had a crisp edged shadow, useful in some situations but I thought I would have a go at making some softboxes from bits I had around the house to give a more even light.
I started with a couple of these lights. There are lots of similar designs of lights out there so rather than giving exact dimensions I’ll explain the design process…
I’ve made the sides of the softbox from corrugated card. x1 and y1 are the dimensions of the light. x2 and y2 the size of the diffuser you would like. I made mine 380mm square. The diagonal sides that join together need to be the same length. You could use maths to work out the dimensions but I used a string and pencil to draw a section of circle (in blue) making it easy to ensure the sides are the same length.
The material I used for the diffuser is marketed as a floor protector. It is a kind of transluscent corrugated plastic. I cut off my 380mm square piece.
Having cut out the sides I made a second set of of sides exactly the same size from white paper. I taped the card pieces to the diffuser using scotch tape. The inside of the softbox needs to be white so that the colour balance of the light is not distorted, that is where the white paper copies of the sides come in.
I put strips of double sides tape on the card.
And a second set of double sided tape along the edges. (with TC helping)
I made a 50mm wide strip that that would wrap tightly round the light with the corrugations running long ways. I needed two pieces piece so I glued and clamped them.
Here’s the finished light surround clamped up and ready for final assembly.
I taped the various parts together with brown paper tape then added a shark-fin hook on each side.
And that’s the softbox complete. An elastic band hooked over the shark fins hold everything into position and you are ready to go!