Yet Another Flash Diffuser (designed for a Canon 580EX II)

Introduction: Yet Another Flash Diffuser (designed for a Canon 580EX II)

About: Those who know me know that I've always got some project on the go at all times. My interests are varied enough that I can jump from one to the next and not get bored. I seem to learn by doing and the best way…

I know there is a million of these out there but I designed my own anyway. I wanted one that was cheap and portable but was somewhat professional looking so my clients wouldn't think I was a total amature. This diffuser is designed for the Canon 580EX II flash but could easily be modified to fit any flash, or it may not need modification at all.

Things you'll need:

Posterboard (Black), or if you can get polypropelene sheets even better. ~$1
1 12x15" frosted cutting board (thin plastic, avaiable at most dollar stores)***
Scissors or olfa blade
Ruler & Protractor (not needed if you print out the template)
Electrical Tape (preferrably black)
Velcro with adhesive backing (or you can glue it yourself)

Optional: Glue, if you want to make tabs and glue it instead of using electrical tape

***If you can't find the clear frosted cutting board you can simply cut the same shape out of the posterboard then cut a small window in it and use tissue paper, velum, or even a cutout section of a white plastic bag.

Remember, if you like this instructable please take the time to rate it.

Step 1: Supplies

The image below shows the supplies you'll need, I forgot to put the velcro and the electrical tape in the shot though ;) Also the gluestick is unused in my version but if you want you can modify the project to glue it together instead of using electrical tape.

Step 2: Print the Templates Then Trace Onto Posterboard

I've included the templates in pdf form so you can cut them out and use them to mark the poster board.

When printing these make sure you disable "fit to page", these are designed to fit on a standard 8.5" x 11" sheet. I suggest measuring the pieces after you print them to make sure they weren't changed. The templates should measure exactly the same as the dimensions labelled on them.

Trace the front panel diffuser onto the cutting board. It may be a good idea to make a few ticks to show you the line to fold along as well (template shows the fold lines).

Step 3: Cut Out the Pieces

Using scissors or an Olfa knife cut out the shapes, be careful and don't cut yourself .

(Optional) At this point f you want to go the glue route instead of electrical tape you could leave a tab edge to join them together.

Step 4: Fold the Diffusion Panel

This is a little tricky, I found using a ruler to fold along helped quite a bit. Another thing you can do to make the fold easier is trace a line with a pen along the where you're going to fold a few times, if you push hard it weakens the plastic a little and lets it fold easier.

Step 5: Tape & Velcro and You're Done!

Lay the posterboard pieces beside each other so the diagonal sides line up with each other and tape them. The last seam is a little tricky, if you have someone nearby get them to hold it while you tape.

You may want to do a test fit on your flash at this point, tape is cheap and you probably have lots of it. Velco is more scarce (at least in my house) so rather than go too far make sure it fits and see if you have to make any adjustments. If you're building this for a 580EX II flash you should be safe but check anyway.

I found the best way to do this is to stick one piece on the diffuser using the adhesive backing, then to put the other piece (backing still attached) on so the hooks/loops catch and then peel the backing off. At this point you can line it up and press it down onto the cardboard. This way you're sure it will line up properly after. Repeat for the other 3 sides.

At this point hopefully you have something that looks like the final picture below. Something you could try from this point would be lining the sides with foil or painting them white to increase output. I didn't try this but as I was writing this instructable it popped into my head.

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    3 Discussions


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Nice. thanks, this gave me another thought. I've been looking at flash extenders (better beamer)(google). With this format, slightly modified for size, the plastic duo tangs and a cheap Fresnel lens available at most dollar stores, I came up with a very workable, good looking flash extender for nature photography. Great instructable.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    WOW awesome diffuser! That looks so clean. Once I get a digital flash for my 40D i shall make one of these for sure. definitely going to add to my favorites. Great instructable!


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the comment Alvin, I've since gotten a little more ambitious and am working on come cheap (yet nice looking) softboxes. Once I have a streamlined approach I'll be posting it as an instructable. Oh also, I found some black plastic duo-tangs that would work great for this diffuser and look a little sleeker. They are available at any office supply store, I actually got mine at a $1 store. Once I remake one I'll post it as a followup.