Introduction: Quick and Dirty Color Gels

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With Halloween fast approaching I found myself wanting more from my cheap little Wal-Mart strobe lights. They needed a splash of color. So I jump on Amazon and it's not long before I realize my choices are limited to professional lighting gels and crafting cello sheets, I quickly decide I'm not spending $9-$12 on either when I'm pretty sure I can make my own.

Step 1: Materials

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  • Ziplock or similar generic resealable plastic bags
    • For my little strobes I'm using Ziplock Snack Size Bags.
  • Scissors
    • For cutting.
  • Permanent Markers
    • In whatever color you want your gel to be.
  • Tape
    • To keep the gel on, any kind will do. I recommend something narrow (Scotch/Cello, Masking, Painter's, or Mini Duck Tape)
    • If you're going to apply it to a solar path light or otherwise going to wrap it around, go the clear Scotch/Cello route.
  • Your Light
    • For measuring, fitting, and color testing. Here I have one of my strobes and solar stake light.
  • Pencil and Paper
    • For your templates

Step 2: Getting Our Base Sheets.

Picture of Getting Our Base Sheets.

Begin by cutting across the bag, just under the "zipper"

Then cut open the side seams and unfold your sheet.

If your lights are small like mine you can cut along the bottom fold and get two sheets from each bag.

Step 3: Measure and Cut Your Template(s).

Picture of Measure and Cut Your Template(s).

For my mini strobe my sheets are the perfect size already.

Place your light face down on a piece of paper trace it.

For a stake light, wrap a strip of paper around it and, allowing for a little overlap, trim the excess on the X and Y axis.

Then trace the shape you've cut out.

Now we have our templates.

Step 4: Add Color

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Lay your plastic sheet over the appropriate template and color in the shape.

No need to stay in the lines, a little spillover is preferred.

Step 5: Cut the Gel Wrap

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If you're making a wrap cut away the excess plastic

Step 6: Apply Gel

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For the strobe, center the tinted portion over the lights and tape down the excess "gift wrap" style.

For a wrap, wrap it then tape it at the overlap and add another piece of tape to keep it from sliding off.

Step 7: Further Color Adjustment

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If the color isn't quite right try adding a second or even third gel.

My blue was fine with just one but for red I might use another or two.

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Bio: Just a fan of DIY projects and occasional writer of them.
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