Flat-Pack Lantern Attachment for Any Headlamp (DIY Diffuser)

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Camping involves trade-offs: the more you bring with you, the heavier your pack becomes. When forced to choose between a headlamp and a lantern, the headlamp wins every time. However, sometimes I find myself missing the warm glow of a lantern; the harsh, focussed beam of a headlamp is great for lighting up the outside, but isn't so pleasant inside a tent. That's where this diffuser comes in; it packs up small enough fit into a pocket, and spreads the light of the headlamp throughout the area, creating more pleasant ambient lighting.

Thank you to everyone who voted for me in the Outside Contest!

Step 1: What You Need:

- 4L milk jug

- Scissors

- 4 paper clips (small binder clips would probably work just as well, or better)

Step 2: Cutting

- Download the diffuser template and print it out. Make sure it is dimensioned correctly (the red bar should be 1 inch long) and cut out the two templates.

- Cut the two larger panels out from the milk jug.

- Trace the templates onto the panels, and cut them out.

Step 3: Folding

- Attach the templates to the pieces you cut out in the last step.

- Fold the pieces along the templates' dotted lines, so that the two pieces resemble Images 3 & 4.

Step 4: Testing

- Place the long & thin piece of plastic over top of the wider piece, as shown in Image 1.

- Attempt to fold the wider piece's "tabs" around the sides of the long & thin piece, as shown in Image 2.

- As shown in Image 2, the tabs of the wider piece may be too big to fold around the thinner piece without interfering with the bent ends of the thinner piece. If this is the case, trim the edges of the wider piece until the tabs fold around without issue.

- I chose to have the tabs fold around the thinner piece rather than leave them on the inside of the "box" formed by the two pieces because, after testing multiple designs, I found it to be the most structurally stable option (even thought doesn't look as clean in the end).

Step 5: Assembling

- Fold the bent ends of the thinner piece over the tabs of the wider piece.

- Use paper clips to secure the ends.

- Place the diffuser over the headlamp to make sure it fits.

- You can increase diffusion by lightly abrading the plastic with sandpaper.

- To store the diffuser, remove the paper clips and fold the two pieces flat.

Outside Contest 2017

Judges Prize in the
Outside Contest 2017

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    18 Discussions

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    DavidE341

    1 year ago

    I made this (no photos) but did not initially understand that it is basically a small 5-sided box (the top being 2 layers). May be OK for backpacking where every ounce and square inch makes a difference. Seemed too involved for what I was looking for. Instead, I took an empty 32 oz (946 ml) #1 plastic coffee creamer container (this plastic is much more opaque than the other listed plastic so light is more diffused), rinsed out thoroughly, removed brand wrap, and cut off the upper part of the container where the container narrows for the screw-on/pop-top lid to fit the LED flashlight/headlight of your choice. This creates a very nice 7" or so "tube light" that is not too large but works well. If you really need a more compact form, you could cut it in half lengthwise so both halves nested in each other and then use rubber bands to hold it together when using.

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    M3GDavidE341

    Reply 1 year ago

    Interesting, thanks for sharing!

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    JTBrwr43

    1 year ago

    Great Idea! Howabout extending the tabs on the wider piece to fit in slots, cut in the narrower piece,? A rubber band can be used to hold it together.

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    M3GJTBrwr43

    Reply 1 year ago

    Good idea! I'll have to give that a try.

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    sunlitho

    1 year ago

    Couldn't you just use the milk bottle the way it is?

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    M3Gsunlitho

    Reply 1 year ago

    Certainly! However, it would be very big & unwieldily; this way, you can fold the diffuser flat & fit it in your pocket.

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    LittlestWorkshop

    1 year ago

    It should be possible to make the parts lock together to avoid the need for paper clips, there are some folding bowels and things that use that concept.

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    M3GLittlestWorkshop

    Reply 1 year ago

    That's a great idea, I'll have to look into those designs.

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    mikaleon

    1 year ago

    shades of origami! I love it, esp the comment of scuffing the inside to get more diffuse light. perfect. My headlight has a red and green feature.I can't wait to try it.

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    M3Gmikaleon

    Reply 1 year ago

    Cool, what kind of headlamp is it?

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    M3Gseamster

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks! It makes a surprisingly big difference.