Introduction: DIY Flash Diffuser With Hundreds of FREE Color Filters

Want to diffuse the flash and add some color to your photos at the same time? This quick and dirt-cheap trick will get you there.

Take pictures in hundreds of different colors using free filters

Flash diffuser that holds colored filters, and showing you how to get HUNDREDS of free gel inserts!!!! to take color altered photos

All these pics have NO out of camera modifications, just a colored flash

click VOTE NOW! above if you like this please.

Step 1: Preview of Finished Product

this is what we'll be making today.

Step 2: What You Will Need to Make the Diffuser/gel Holder

translucent white film canister, razor, super glue,

Step 3: Make Your Diffuser

This is really the only thing you need to do, and its easy, cut a slot in your canister just big enough for your pop up flash to snugly fit into.

Step 4: Make a Slot in the Cap to Fit the Colored Gels.

depending on the size of your gels, the length will vary. Use your glue to gently glue the lid back on with the lid slots facing out.

Step 5: FREE Colored Gels, 100's of Em

Seriously i haven't counted them but theres HUNDREDS, and they're 100% free.

they send these out as samples

first off is apollo: and make sure you check "Apollo Gel Swatch Book (single)"

then is Lee"
check "swatch book"

These took about a week to recieve

*UPDATE* the Rosco filters arrived earlier this week. 5 months after i ordered them...
Bad form rosco.......bad form

Step 6: Insert the Gels

Insert the gels, try to get them as far from the flash as possible as some colors may warp under the heat of the flash

Step 7: Take Pics

take pics. Preferably of hot chicks, digg it? So these were all taken with the same setting in a mostly dark room, f3.5 1/60 sec iso400. shots outside at night are particularly interesting.
A lot of the deeper blue(congo Blue) or purple(ultimate Violet) colors make weird shots with plants showing up in red hues while everything else is blue with a pink sky.

*UPDATE* After much time playing with these, I think I have found one of the best applications of using these. Taking the pics in different colors, then when they are changed to a B&W photo, some REALLY cool effects have been coming out, yellow and red seem to have the most effects so far.
Play around and post your results. Ill try to add some of mine in the near future

ALSO if you need a remote trigger for your camera, check my other instructable


Behold the lady in my life, Januari.
Modeling in the name of science

(NOTE: model is not meant to be provocative or offensive in any way, just a great example of white against black for you, the reader to understand what sorts of color changes are possible)


MatthewW36 made it!(author)2016-01-20

Seeing as you're on digital, you can use the custom white balance on your canon to make some really really funky things happen with the colours.

longp2000 made it!(author)2015-01-08

nice cannisters.

Cooley643 made it!(author)2014-12-26

Have got to admit, only clicked this for the first picture

jennyo made it!(author)2013-04-16

Very cool! Almost impossible to locate film canisters though. I did find canisters online at

this one is going to be fun:)

hellmaster993 made it!(author)2013-02-25

nice snapshot colors.

TheNimrod made it!(author)2008-04-03

hey I was just wonder what film brands use the clear canisters?

MrBillG59 made it!(author)2012-07-26


strikeback made it!(author)2008-04-03

i'm pretty sure fujifilm does.

tdawg309 made it!(author)2009-08-07

Kodak uses them.

x7319808 made it!(author)2009-11-22

Sorry but Kodak uses a black top with a grey canister.

topherseguin made it!(author)2009-08-31

so does easypix

frisbeechamp1983 made it!(author)2012-05-15

The Lee filters link is bad. Can't find a new good link.

vandykee made it!(author)2012-06-12

Lee pack seems to no longer be free. $2 USD.

jmerlin made it!(author)2011-09-29

Apollo sent the gel and catalog in less then a week. woot.

yaly made it!(author)2011-07-22

I sent for both filter packages and the one from lee filters came after a week and the Apollo gels didn't come till now.

Stormchaserblue made it!(author)2011-03-20

thanks sent of the filters and going to try when they get here!

Ghost+Wolf made it!(author)2011-02-14

ALIEN!!!! It's trying to get our skin pigment right kill it quick!

patnat made it!(author)2010-12-30

i would stay taken pictures if i could have her in every shot !

Soxbleed made it!(author)2010-12-14

Ordered my swatches from Apollo and they came in about 3 weeks! Im impressed. free free free! THANK YOU

ali1234 made it!(author)2010-09-18

Yes, the green pic is the best. very hot girl. i think its a nice color effect,too.

Batness made it!(author)2010-09-14

Lee no longer sends out free swatches via that link.

twocvbloke made it!(author)2010-08-16

errrrm, what was this 'ible about, I got totally distracted by the interesting piccies at the end... :P

Ubuntu2009 made it!(author)2010-08-07

Photoshop or Gimp could do this?

Shut+Up+Now made it!(author)2010-08-03

she looks the best in the pink photo, imo. I think the majority of the comments on this ible are about the gorgeous girl, and not flash diffusing.. :P

peytonjr made it!(author)2010-07-23

I understand the allure of several hundred free little pieces of colored plastic. That said, I highly encourage anyone considering this to obtain their swatchbooks or gels at a real "brick and mortar" store, perhaps even buying them. I'm sure these businesses - which specialize in distributing lighting equipment would love to have your business, and could even sell you some legitimate and useful lighting accessories. Many of these stores are willing to give you a swatchbook with your purchase. Continued abuse of the gel companies' gracious offer of a free swatchbook has resulted in it being more difficult for legitimate lighting designers to get them, as companies (such as Rosco) decide to stop offering, or instate a charge. If you find the use of a gelled flash absolutely necessary, I'm certain that you could also find a trip to the store necessary.

pukid made it!(author)2008-12-22

lol maybe the model isn't "meant" to be provocative.... but she sure is easy on the eyes. Thanks for the links!! Want to know some more bad form from Rosco? They charge for their sample books... wanted $7.50.

peytonjr made it!(author)2010-07-23

They started doing this because lots of people suddenly wanted free swatchbooks. hmm...

voodoo_chicken1 made it!(author)2010-07-07

This diffuser works very well. I used material purchased from lowes. If you don't want to use tinfoil to project more light, cut up a Mylar party balloon. I used the inside of a doritos bag I ate while working on the project.

aubergine.iridium made it!(author)2010-06-17

Placed an order for a swatchbook with Apollo yesterday under the guise of being a museum lighting tech. They got back to me within 18 hours telling me my materials were in the mail. Thanks for the link and the fine I'ible!! Can't wait to try out my new diffuser gels!!

FumaKilla made it!(author)2010-06-01

yep it work best for shooting in B&W.
BTW the sample shot  force me to write this : she's hawt ! 

ian87 made it!(author)2010-04-20

add a layer of diffusion paper (if unavailable then greaseproof cooking paper will suffice) that will cut out the shadows on the wall.  Great instructable. Thanks!

Five+Day+Forecast made it!(author)2008-10-29

I'm having a little trouble understanding this step is the gel on the inside or outside of the film cannister. Thanks so much for putting this up though. It has saved me a whole lot of money.

donalson made it!(author)2010-04-09

it goes inside.. thats why he cut the arc out in the lid... makes it so you can slide the gels in and out easily

myndliss made it!(author)2010-04-04

So, I did everything you said to do on the instructable, and the color is great, but when it lights up, i can't see the girl in the bikini with mine? Did I do something wrong?

Greenhousegirl made it!(author)2009-05-31

I'm wishing i had not thrown out my roscolux gel book thing... man... It was thick too! >

atrus713 made it!(author)2009-11-18

that's what she said

dungeon+runner made it!(author)2010-03-15

...Please tell me you said that ironically. Please.

eatmadcatdaily made it!(author)2010-03-15

 Yeah had the same problem with my 500D

sjoobbani made it!(author)2010-03-04


kseaa made it!(author)2010-03-01

Damn hottt!!! I forgot what I was here for?!! LED yea that true :P

Jburk0210 made it!(author)2009-11-19

You do know about 10,000 teenagers just reached for the tissues.
I am a fan of the pink photo . She is a Beauty

Toxicity made it!(author)2010-02-12

sadly, this teenager must agree.

klingonprins made it!(author)2010-02-25

perverts..... the green is the sexiest

theking made it!(author)2010-01-31

That chick's BANGING!

smattman22 made it!(author)2010-02-08

thats sad....

codex_corvidus made it!(author)2010-02-02

Yeah she is!!!

so whats this instructable about? colors or something right?

DJ_Brown made it!(author)2010-01-26

 greens and yellows give the look of really faded 35mm's. thanks!

Typogoddess made it!(author)2010-01-22

wondering if a camera without a pop up flash would still be able to work with this 'ible?mine is a cruddy Kodak easyshare i got for xmas:)

darkbudda made it!(author)2010-01-20

Um ? this instructable is about photography?.....SHE IS HOOOTTTTTTTTT!

ddillman made it!(author)2010-01-10

This will not work well for the EOS Rebel series DSLRs, at least my 450D (XSi), as the flash is too wide for the length of the film canister.  It will go on, but you can't cap it to hold it in place.  Works, if you're very careful about keeping it in place.

About This Instructable




Bio: cooler than you.....
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