The Nabisco Go-Paks DIY Diffuser: The Making Thereof

How do I make me one?

(I assume you’ve already read this and are here to see how to make a diffuser for yourself.)

I wanted my Canon 430EX Speedlite to give me the nice, soft light associated with certain flash-mounted diffusers; what I didn’t want was to pay forty bucks or more to do it. So I started looking around for the perfect material for a homemade flash diffuser. I didn’t have to look any further than my daughter’s afternoon snack to find it:

With a little modification, this snack container makes the perfect diffuser for your flash.

It’s just the right size, it’s light, and it’s cheap enough to be easily replaced if it breaks or gets lost.

Materials needed:

  • a Nabisco Go-Paks 3.25oz snack container (available for around a dollar at grocery stores and gas stations everywhere, at least where I live)
  • black elastic, 1.5" wide (readily available at Wal Mart and other locations)
  • electrical tape (you probably already have some on that shelf in your laundry room; if not, you can get it at Wal Mart when you go for the elastic)
  • white duct tape (I use Henkel’s Color Duck Tape, which I bought at Wal Mart)

Instructions:

1. Get a Nabisco Go-Paks 3.25oz snack container. The choice of type—Oreos, Ritz Bits, Teddy Grahams—is either of paramount importance, or totally irrelevant, depending on the choice you make during step #2.

2. Open the container and eat the contents. Then thoroughly wash out the emptied container.

OR

Open the container and let someone else—your daughter, for example, or maybe the ducks at the local park—eat the contents. Then thoroughly wash out the emptied container.

WARNING: Failure to fully empty and wash out the container may result in crumbs in your flash unit and a hungry, cranky daughter.

3. Remove the label from the container.

WARNING: Failure to remove the label from the container may result in photos in which it appears that everyone is eating Oreos.

4. Cut the bottom off of the container.

WARNING: Failure to cut out the bottom...oh, never mind.

5. Cut slits in the sides of the bottom of the container. Make sure the distance between slits corresponds to the width and length of your flash unit.

6. Try the diffuser-in-progress on your flash unit to get a feel for how it fits. It should slide at least an inch and a half down onto the flash head. You may need to adjust the size of the slits a few times to get a proper fit.

7. Once you have the slits properly sized, reinforce them with electrical tape. You can also put a ring of electrical tape around the bottom of the container for reinforcement and to improve the appearance of the diffuser.

8. Cut a strip of white duct tape approximately two inches long, and attach it to the back of the diffuser, on the inside of the container. You may want to add a second layer of duct tape if one strip is not opaque enough.

(I'll be adding a picture of this soon.)

The duct tape bounces some of the light forward toward your subject. However, this step is completely optional; the diffuser works fine without it.

9. Cut a length of elastic approximately eight inches, long enough to fit tightly around your flash head.

10. Take the elastic to your mother’s house and ask her very nicely if she will use her Husqvarna sewing machine to sew the ends of the elastic together.

NOTE: If you don’t have a mother who’s good with a sewing machine, or if your mother lives an inconvenient distance away, do your best to get the elastic sewn together on your own. It’s probably not worth buying a sewing machine just for this step, however.

11. Put the elastic over the flash unit and slide it down far enough to allow the diffuser to also slide on the flash unit.

12. Slide the diffuser on the flash unit.

13. Work the elastic band up over the bottom of the diffuser to hold it securely in place.

You can also flip the flash up to use it in portrait orientation (which is especially comfortable if you have a battery grip):

That’s it! For only a couple of dollars worth of material and a few minutes’ time, you’ve improved the quality of your pictures.

There is one final step you might want to work on: Begin preparing witty and informative responses to the inevitable question, “What’s that thing on top of your camera?”

Outdoor Use

“But wait,” you may be saying, “what if I'm taking pictures outdoors, where there's no ceiling for the open top of the diffuser to bounce light off of?”

Good question. For the answer, continue on to the next page.

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