There aren't many solutions for softening the harsh flash of a point-and-shoot digital camera. I've tried holding a piece of paper in front of the flash - and that works to a point - but I get inconsistent results, probably because it's hard to consistently angle the paper correctly. There's a commercial solution, but it costs $20 and the manufacturer actually makes two models to fit different cameras, which means it may not be easily interchangeable from one camera to the next.
I show a way to cut a medicine cup to hold a piece of vellum or paper at a consistent angle in front of your flash.
Step 1: Materials
*A medicine cup with a bottom diameter smaller than the diameter of your camera lens (measured where the lens enters the camera body)
*A squarish piece of vellum about 2 inches on a side. I imagine other translucent material would work too, but vellum works well because it's lightweight and stiff. I used a piece salvaged from a fancy invitation.
*Clear packing tape
*A piece of paper about the size of a 2 to 3 inch post-it
*Something to cut with (scissors, exacto knife)
Step 2: Cut the medicine cup
Cut the medicine cup into the shape shown - a ring with a tab. The ring should fit around the lens just tightly enough to keep it from falling off. You want to be able to rotate the diffuser on the lens easily without tugging on the lens too much. If your ring ends up being a little too loose, use packing tape to narrow its internal diameter.
Step 3: Attach diffuser to the tab
Tape the piece of vellum to the tab. My piece of vellum is about two inches on a side. You will probably have to do a little experimenting to size the vellum. I considered making mine bigger, but I was limited by the size of my old invitation.
Step 4: Mount the diffuser on the camera
Slip the ring around the camera lens such that there is some distance between the flash and the diffuser's flat surface.
Angle the diffuser so it doesn't block the autofocus beam or the viewfinder if you're using one.