It’s December. So it’s safe to talk about Christmas now, right? While the technique isn’t specifically related to Christmas, these videos obviously are. The music kinda gives it away. In this pair of videos, YouTuber Eva Landry builds up two DIY ringlights from scratch. One in the shape of a heart, the other a star.
The construction is pretty straightforward using only cardboard, tinfoil, a string of Christmas lights and some gaffer tape. For a quick build, though, they seem to work very well. You’re also not limited to just hearts and stars, obviously. You can make them whatever shape you wish.
First up, the heart.
And now, the star.
As you can see, the build for both is pretty much the same. Cut a shape out of cardboard with a hole in the middle where your camera lens pokes through. Then, glue tinfoil over the shape to provide a reflective surface to shine as much light back at your subject as possible.
Then, using a leather or hole punch, cut holes in the tinfoil-clad cardboard into which the lights will be mounted. Using scissors to snip a line from the edge of the card to the centre takes care of the wiring. Then, just secure from the back with a couple of small pieces of gaffer tape.
Then once all of the lights are in place, cut 3 or 4 more of those shapes out. These are then hot glued together together to create a stable rear frame. Just layer them together with hot glue.
Then a few 2.5″ (6.5cm) strips of cardboard allow you to build a cavity between the front face with the lights, and the rear triple-ply cardboard face made earlier. As well as letting you hide extra lights, this also helps to increase the strength of the structure.
Then, attach the front face, seal the edges with gaffer tape, and you’re almost done. The final steps are to build a holder for the on-off switch, and to attach a tube that lets you easily mount it on a light stand. While not essential, you can also paint the exposed cardboard on the back and sides black to neaten things up a little.
Now all you need to do is mount it on a light stand and poke your camera through.
The lights used here aren’t really the best if you want colour accuracy. Sure, you can adjust your white balance, but it’s only going to do so much, so I’d consider going with some higher CRI LED strips instead. I’d also take a little more time with the cutting and probably use black foamcore instead of painted cardboard.
But, for a basic light that’ll do the job, it’s a quick option you can build yourself in no time at all. And if you’re going to be sending it black & white or changing the colour completely in post anyway, it doesn’t matter if the lights are a bit off colour.
The titles of these videos suggest that there are 10 more to come between now and Christmas. They may be more lighting builds, or they may be something completely different, I’ve no idea, but keep an eye on Eva’s channel to find out.
Have you made your own ringlights for photography or video? Did you build shapes other than the typical circle? How did you build yours? And what lights did you use for it? Let us know and show us your builds in the comments.