HOWTO: Make a DIY Ring Light

About 10 bucks and 30 minutes.

Inspired by several other people online, including a specific thread on Flickr, I set about making my own do-it-yourself ringlight to use with my camera. A ringlight can give a very cool look, even if it is a bit overused and cliche at this point. The light I used was only 35 watt, so you'll need a wide-angle lens and close position to your subject. It gives very cool catchlights though. Hopefully this how to will give others an inspiration to build their own ring lights.

List of parts:

There aren't many steps here, this really is quite simple.
Steps to Create a DIY Ring Light
assemble materials First I had to assemble my materials. The last three items in the above list were things I already had lying around the house. You do not have to have the kitchen twine or the garden hose, those were just what I had and used.
cut out center of pizza plate This was the hardest step, cutting out the center of the pizza pan. I started by finding the center of the pan and then tracing around the outside of the PVC adaptor tube. I used a Dremel with cut-off wheels, I think it ended up running me 5 wheels to get this. Fortunately for me I did ok, it was a nice snug fit when I was done.
put pvc into center Push the PVC pipe into the hole you just created. This will be where your lens goes when using the light.
cut pipe T Drill mounting holes in the pizza pan, surrounding the light. I used 4 mount points, you can use more or less depending on how you want to do it. I just drilled a small hole on each side of the fluorescent light. I used the rubber hose bits to help the light stand off the pan a little bit and hopefully give a better reflection. Tie the light (and adaptor) on with kitchen twine. I originally used bailing wire but the stuff I had was thick and stiff and had very pointy ends on it that caught things like shirt sleeves and skin. So I went with kitchen twine, especially good since it will not burn at the temperature that the bulb gets up to (not really hot, but warm enough.)
cut to fit Bend up the edges of the pizza pan. I could have done this a lot nicer but I let myself get into a hurry to use my new toy so it didn't come out as clean as I'd like. If you cut the edges of the pan in a bit of a spoke pattern you'd get much nicer bends.

The mount works surprisingly well, and it would likely work for a bicycle handlebar as well. Unfortunately for me when I have my motorcycle gloves and helmet on it is extremely hard to see or hear if the camera is actually running in video mode. This is something that I will need to work on, many times I just hit the button to "record" and hoped for the best.

Completed Light Photos:

ringlight straight on

ringlight backside

ringlight activated

Sample Photos Using the Setup:


Jane and the Ring Light


desi says: do you think its possible to make one for a smaller lens?

van johnson says: i went to lowes and they thought i was crazy...can u provide stock numbers or sku's please

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