Introduction: DIY LED Ring Light for Miniatures/Macro Photography for Less Than USD$10

About: Miniaturist. Watch me make stuff at: Cogito Ergo Ouch! Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the …

I have always struggled with lighting for my miniature photography, and decided to go with making my own DIY LED ring light after seeing this instructable:

It took me about half an hour to put it together as I had all the items at hand, but it was an ad hoc project, forgive the little boo-boos!

Materials Used:
25cm (or 5 x 3-LED light segments) 12V LED Light strip (Bright white, available from ebay)

1 x Battery Holder for 12V 23AE sized batteries

1 x Self Locking 6 Pins Torch Push Button Switch (available from ebay)

1 x 12V 23AW battery

1 x plastic sauce container cover (9 cm diameter)

Tools Used:

Soldering Iron (30W, my 60W wouldn't work today :( )

0.3mm, 1mm soldering lead

3rd hand soldering stand

Reversible Tweezers

Circle cutter

Double sided Tape

I think the hardest bit would be waiting for the light strips/battery holder/switch to arrive from ebay, but I had everything lying around as I build miniature roomboxes and stuff. This project cost me no more than USD$10 to put together.

Step 1: Preparing the Base

I opted to go with a disposable sauce container lid, approximately 9cm diameter wide, as it was thin and sturdy enough to fit between my lens and the lens adapter.

Using a circle cutter (from Daiso), I measured the inner diameter of my favourite lens (EFS 18-55mm) and cut out a circle.

Test fit it against the step down ring adapter that I use for my macro clip-on lenses (had purchased the wrong sized clip-ons hawhaw -_-" ).

Step 2: Measuring and Test Placement of LED Strip

Measured against the circumference of the cap, turned out to be approximately 25cm or 5 x 3 LED light segments.

At this point, I wondered if I should face the lights inward (allowing the plastic cover to diffuse the light) or outwards (since the lights weren't outward facing, wondered about the strength of the light).

Decided that I could just flip it over if I wanted to, but the sides of the lids also slanted outwards, (visible in the last step) so I went with outwards.

Step 3: Soldering

Soldered the battery holder, tested the circuit, then soldered in the switch.

I know the soldering is.....uhm. yeah.., and even accidentally melted part of the plastic switch, but eh. Everything works. For now. :E

(btw, I tested all the connections before soldering, kind of had to figure out which 2 prongs on the switch were the +ve and -ve, but I guess that varies with the type of switch you get)

Step 4: Putting Everything Together

The LED strips came with double-sided tape on the back, good enough to stick to the inner rim of the plastic lid.

Additional double-sided tape was used to hold the battery holder to the back/flat surface of the ring light.

(not pictured) Cut a slit in the lid and pushed in the prongs of the switch to hold it to the lid.

Step 5: Test Shots!

I tested a few shots with my camera and the +4 magnification clip on lens. Did not adjust any other settings on my camera between shots, but am sure with a few corrections (white balance especially), and maybe some soft background lighting, this ring light will do for my product shots :)

Hope this helps anyone who is looking for a cheap, quick and easy project for miniature or macro photoshoots!

(oops the photo tags aren't working, from test shots 1st to last - Overhead lighting only, Overhead lighting and ringlight, Ringlight only)

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