DIY flash grid | Straws + Glue + Time = Cheapo Perfect Grids!

In keeping with the low-budget nature of the Hawaii Trip, I decided to actually make some of my own gear. I didn't get to do everything I had hoped (time has a way of slipping by quickly when you're planning something big) but the flash grid project I was able to do the night before we left.

The grid actually worked out PERFECTLY. I was amazed at how great it was. I am making two more, one with longer straw pieces for a tighter beam, and one that's a little wider as well. The one I made was right in the middle... and ended up being perfect for a general flash grid that lasted me the trip.

What you'll need:

  • black drinking straws (I got mine from Panera Bread)
  • Quick Grip glue (I got it at Michael's)
  • black duct tape (I bought black Duck Tape from Michael's)
  • cardboard (I used thin product packaging cardboard
  • scissors
  • a ruler is good, but I didn't use one
  • black marker (I was going to use it to black out the edges of the cardboard, but didn't show that in the video)

The Quick Grip Glue was very key to the success. I've read a number of posts (the one I used to make mine was HERE) and a lot seem to have trouble with durability. The glue I used made this thing nearly indestructible, it's holding up perfectly by being completely strong without being brittle... and using the duct tape around it makes the cardboard somewhat tear-proof.

This first example showed me that if you truly value your time and don't have a lot to spare... this probably isn't the most cost saving project. If you have a little time on your hands, however, you're easily able to make 3 of these in less than a couple hours... saving about $70. To most amateurs and even quite a few professionals this is TOTALLY worth it.

You might also be worried that the final product will look too unprofessional... but if so... you're likely worried about the wrong things. Cover it with black and it's good enough, no one will look closely enough to see that it's homemade... and if they do you tell them that you make your own because no one out there makes exactly what you need. If YOU are professional... and you deliver professional results... that's truly all you need to worry about. Pros jimmy-rig things all the time, it's a constant necessity.

Here is the glue I used (I get 4% of purchases if you buy):

Quick Grip Glue 2 Ounce

If you prefer purchasing grids and want the same results, I recommend HONL Photo's grids. You can purchase them below through Amazon:

HonlPhoto Speed Strap for Shoe Mount Flashes - you need this to attach the grids to your flash HonlPhoto 1/8 grid HonlPhoto 1/4 grid

Stay tuned for actual results from the grid in Hawaii!

This post is part of the Hawaii Fusion Trip 2009.

This video is brought to you by:

Smug Mug LogoThe Bui Brothers Logo

Special thanks to Know How Cafe for providing accommodations and tech for the trip.