Well, I thought I’d change my normal format as several weeks ago I mentioned to some people on the internet that I was planning on making a DIY beauty dish for my flash gun. Well I finally got around to doing it. I spent about $25 to do this, though I already had a spindle of cd’s to use so if you had to pick up another spindle of 50, you should be able to get it for about $10 if on sale. 

These beauty dishes are great for spreading the light and reducing the harsh light cast by off shoe flash guns. The light will shoot from the rear of the bowl, hit a mirror on the inside of the cd spindle and reflect back out onto the bowl which then spreads the light reflecting out onto your subject. 

So here is the list of items I used: pvc coupler was used for a strobe DIY beauty dish. It’s not part of this project.

  • 1 empty cd spindle case (50 pack size)
  • 1 Gutter attachment
  • 1 14″ Terra cotta colored plastic planter
  • Roll of Velcro. – I paid extra for this but you can buy smaller quantities.
  • 1 3.5″ convex mirror
All of the items I purchased at Home Depot with the exception of the mirror which I picked up at the local auto parts store. I also picked up a couple cans of Rustoleom (not sure on spelling) spray paint for plastic outside furnature (white and black).

Start by tracing around the gutter attachment for where you want your hole to be. Then cut it out. I used a drill to pierce through and then I scrolled it out with the drill as well. Be a bit careful as the plastic seems to be a bit brittle. I fine tuned the hole with an exacto blade.

This next pic show the hole cut out and the gutter attachment inserted. As you can see I also used the bottom of the spindle case and cut the same hole through it as well. I also drilled 4 holes which I then used 4-40 sized screws and nuts to secure to the bowl.

Here are a couple of photos showing top and bottom views after the spindle case bottom and gutter attachment are mounted. I used washers on the top side as my screws were a bit small. Just use whatever works for you. These I had in a jar in the garage so I didn’t spend any extra for these.

The next 3 shots show the painting process at various stages. I painted the bottom black and put a few coats on until it was solid black.  I did use masking tap around the top edge to prevent too much over spray.

This next shot show the inside painted white. With the top part of the spindle case shown with mounted mirror. 

This shot shows a close up of the mirror mounted inside the spindle case. I had actually fully masked it with tape and painted the inside bottom white as my mirror didn’t fit fully as you can see.  If you can find a better mirror then that would be better for reflection of the light. The mirror had double sided foam tape mounted already so I just had to peel and stick it on. Just screw the spindle case top onto the bottom part which is screwed inside the bowl.

Here you see the final product with my flash gun mounted inside the gutter attachment. I used velcro as the attachment to this. I’m using a Nikon SB-800 so your flash may be bigger or smaller depending on the brand and make. The gutter attachment I used fit my flash gun perfectly so if yours is different you may have to find a different type of holder. This should at least give you a good start on the process and bits I used.

If you want to take it a another notch up as I did, you can make a DIY sock to help diffuse the light more. I used some white fabric I bought for about $3 at a fabric store and pinned it as you can see here. I then sewed around the edge with sewing machine leaving about 1/2″ of a hem for feeding a 1/8″ elastic through.

Here you see it being lined up getting ready to sew it up and finish it off.

Here is the final product stretched over the top. It makes a great light source for much less than what you can buy in the store.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to post them here. I also made a DIY strobe beauty dish which I will post the instructions on in the coming weeks.


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