DIY Lightstand Bag Makes Your Assistant’s Life Easier

DIY Lightstand Bag Makes Your Assistants' Life EasierLagging lightstands is a bummer. They don’t fit in the bag. They are hard and pointy, and in general they create traction. Lots of traction. If you are just going Bazooka with one stand this is OK. But if you have to carry a few of them… Darn!.

Photographer Peter Miesch was dealing with the same issue and came up with a wonderful lightstand carrying system bag much like the Standbagger that puts an end to the photographer’s assistant misery. Of course, if you are like me and you are your own assistant, than the solution is even more wonderful. This project requires some sewing skills, so if words like zigzag stitch and bobbin make you go AUH? ask your grandma for help.

Materials used

This is all metric system, if you go Inches, it may be easier to find 2″ belts, buckles and rings.

  • 1000D Cordura fabric, 155cm X 65cm It’s a trademark. I saw one alternative on Amazon. If you have access to a local Joann and know about other options, please let us know in the comments.
  • Belt strap/ Seat belt strap, 4cm wide, 240cm (cut into 2x80cm, 1x60cm).
  • 2 D-rings, 4cm wide
  • 2 Quick release buckles, 4cm, one side for adjusting other side for sewing in
  • Polyester thread, the heaviest that fits in your sewing-machine

Deciding on Measurements

The first thing you need to do is decide on how big you want it. With the final sheet of fabric you’ll simply fold some of the fabric back, sew some pockets in and attach straps and a handle. Since Cordura doesn’t fray you can skip making a bound hem. The measurements used for 2 Manfrotto Nano stands, 2 Westcott collapsible umbrellas and a tripod are described in the scheme below. Yet we are going to show you how to calculate your own.

DIY Lightstand Bag Makes Your Assistants' Life Easier

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Length – I decided to the pockets 65cm long, which fits the tripods very well. Again, measure your stuff and give it a little slack. The flap at the end is 25cm long, which was an educated guess, but that length works very well.

To conclude: The pockets need a front and a back (with a fold in the middle) so the length should be ([length of lightstand]*2)+[25cm fro flap]

Width – I made a bag with 4 pockets, each one as long and as wide to fit a Manfrotto Nano with an attached umbrella swivel. 15cm wide pockets are a snug fit for the Nanos, but it just works.

You can calculate it yourself for other lightstands easily: the circumference will be 2 times the width. In our case, the pockets are 15cm wide, thus the circumference is 30cm.

Measure your lightstand/tripods’ largest circumference, divide it by 2 and make the pockets accordingly. . Make sure to give it a spare pocket on one side, about 5cm wide. This is where the locks and the handle are going to be.

To conclude the width should be: ([light stand circumference]/2) * [number of pockets] + [5cm for handles]

Making The Bag, Step 1 – Cutting

Cut a sheet of fabric to match your stands (see details above)

Step 2 – Making the Pockets

Fold the fabric at the length of the pockets and sew at the edge of each pocket. Make sure to make a hem for the 5cm pocket at the edge of the bag

DIY Lightstand Bag Makes Your Assistants' Life Easier

You should end up with something like this:

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Step 3 – Locks and Straps

The locks and straps are the most tricky part.

Cut the belt strap to 3 pieces, 2X80cm for closing the bag and 1X60cm for the handle. Sew the locks, D-rings and the straps individually. Each one with a square seam and a x-shaped seam within.

The D-rings and the locks should be attached using just one such seam each. On this DIY, the handle is stitched to the bag, so the weight is carried by the bag itself. On the original Standbagger the belt wrapped around the bag, so the belt carries the weight. Probably a better approach.

DIY Lightstand Bag Makes Your Assistants' Life Easier

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Notes About Sewing

The stitch: the best stitch for this purpose would be an overlock stitch. If your machine does not support that, you can use a regular zigzag stitch with an added straight one in the middle.

Be careful about your bobbin thread tension. Adjust it to the tightest setting for the seam to be good. Since the material is very thick, the thread tension needs to be stronger. If the seam doesn’t look right, check for that one.