Introduction: Super Simple $1 Light-Painting Wand
This light wand - great for light painting or adding color to dark photos - is created from a flashlight and a dollar store bubble blower (also $1 at Walmart.)
Bubble blower tube - they come in several colors and cost a buck
Duct Tape, liquid electrical tape or tool dip
Optional - Silver spray paint
Step 1: Prep the Open End
All you need is the tube - this needs to be modified to work with a small flashlight. The first step is to dump the soapy water, rinse, and dry. Next, cut off the threads. I used a serrated knife to saw them off - use whatever works best for you. The cap and wand can be discarded.
The open end - where the threads were - needs to be reinforced so it won't crack when inserting the flashlight. The opening can be *slightly* enlarged or shrunk before strengthening. To enlarge, dip the end in boiling water and let it soak for a minute or so. This will soften it enough to allow it to stretch - insert the flashlight you intend to use about 3/4 of an inch and let it sit. Remove the light after the tube has cooled.
To shrink, do the same thing as above - but after inserting the flashlight, wrap duct tape tightly around the tube surrounding the flashlight head.
Alternately, to make the opening smaller you can wrap the open end in duct tape, folding about 1" inside and 1/2" outside. You could also wrap duct tape on the flashlight head, but I like using my flashlights for other things as well and that tape could be a mess.
The final step for the open end is to wrap about 1" of duct tape around the outside. This helps prevent splitting.
Step 2: Prep the Tip
If you leave the tip alone, light will shine through it. This can be a pain especially especially when light-painting as it will cast unwanted light. You need to cover the tip to prevent this. Wrap it in duct tape or dip it in rubber - tool dip and liquid electrical tape work great.
Step 3: Optional - Paint the Back
I sometimes paint the back half of the tube with silver spray paint. It takes several coats and the part you don't want painted needs to be masked. You can leave a slit, larger opening, etc. This allows more control of the light.
Here the blue one is painted, the green one is not.
Step 4: All Done
I have made several of these in a variety of colors. It's literally a 10 minute project (except drying times if you use liquid rubber or spray paint!) These have tons of uses - lighting scenes for photos, light painting, directing traffic :-)
The ends tend to be the bright spots, with a dimmer section in the middle. You can cut the tube shorter for a more even light.