I have been planning around trying to build a DIY scrim for about a month now but couldn’t think of a frame where I could start my project. First thing I thought of was making it out of PVC pipes (sadly PVC pipes are not as easy to get here), then thought of using wood for the frame. I put it aside for a while until I found the perfect frame for my new project.
A scrim is not a stand alone unit and you want a light source behind it – either a strobe, a strong continuous light or even the sun. The scrim will diffuse that light (and eat quite a bit of it during the process) into a beautiful soft light.
Normally when I go to the local mall I visit the Japan Store because almost everything there is for P88 ($2USD) and there is a LOT of stuff to choose from, so I was looking around the other day and found a portable clothes hanger for around $5.50 USD. WIN! This would be the perfect frame for my next project. (If you don’t live in the Philippines, fret not, they are pretty cheap in the US too)
This is a really quick and easy DIY scrim that almost anyone could do, so you may wanna go out to the dollar store and make one too.
What you will need:
- Portable Clothes Hanger (Amazon, Homedepot)
- White Cloth (preferably Nylon or silk cloth, the one you would used for a softboxes)
- Tape (optional)
- Needle and thread (optional)
How to do it:
Once you get all the ingredients, you just have to follow the instructions in the box or manual to build the hanger. I’ve used a clothes hanger before in my florescent square light. It was a bit more expensive, but the principles are similar. There are many different sizes and frames of portable hangers – they all have this height control thingy. It is just the cheapest one that I found is from the Japan Store. Here is my version of the build manual:
Start off with the base of the hanger.
Then follow with the sides and the top of frame. No need for any glue or tape, it’s pretty sturdy as is.
After building the portable hanger, hang your cloth over the frame. The first thing I did was to tape the cloth so that I could cut the excess pieces of the cloth.
If you like it quick and dirty, you could actually use the scrim with just a ton of tape in the sides to keep it in place.
But to make it look nicer and to stretch the cloth I hand sew the sides of the cloth. I did the top first and started with one side of the frame and kept stretching the cloth as I sew to have a seamless wrinkle-less scrim. I found that sewing is not my strongest talent :) so this part was the toughest part of this project for me.
Lighting through the scrim created beautiful soft light. You can think about it as a huge softbox that is not as spill-controlled as a real one. I did a quick shoot to show you what the final result looks like.
So, that’s it. A really quick way to make a DIY scrim. I am planning to make a follow up article in a couple of weeks with some more creative ideas of using a scrim, so keep on tuning to DIYP.