There are plenty of fantastic DIY softbox solutions, but this one is definitely something I haven’t seen before. To make it, you’ll need an old bicycle wheel. It doesn’t only make a great softbox, but it looks really cool, too. So, if that old bicycle is just collecting dust in the garage, maybe it’s time to repurpose it. In this video, Prickly Sauce will show you how.
You will need
- A bicycle wheel
- White stretchy material
- White cotton thread and stretch needles
- Elastic cord
- 2 x A1 mount board (one black, one white)
- Tin foil
- Spray mount glue
- LED strip and transformer
- Some wire to extend lead (optional)
- Sash window bolt or a tripod mount
- Waterproof adhesive
- Sewing machine
- Solder iron
- Knife and scissors
How to make
- Start by removing the spokes and the hub from the bicycle wheel. Then, stretch the fabric and mark the circle of the rim. Sew the edges so you can pull the elastic cord through, like in the video.
- Then, mark the circle on the black and white mount board. Cut out the circle from the black board, and from the white cut out a rim that will act as a light baffle.
- Attach a tripod mount to the rim through the valve hole. This way, you’ll be able to mount your softbox onto any standard tripod or light stand.
- Now, remove the backing tape and attach the LED strip to the inside of the rim. You can insert the LED strip connector through one of the spoke holes. When you form a full circle of light, cut off the excess of the strip.
- Now, take the tin foil, crumple it and then carefully flatten out. Glue it to the circle of the black mount board from the step 2. It will serve to reflect and diffuse the light.
- When you’re done with the foil, glue the black cardboard circle to the wheel, with the silver side on the inside and black on the outside. Also, glue the white rim to the rim of the bicycle.
- Finish by fitting the white fabric diffuser, and finally, re-attach the tire.
- Your diffuser is ready, it’s time to bring on the light – wire the LED strip to the transformer and switch it on. And you’re done!
This tutorial requests some sewing, which is not one of my strongest skills. Actually, I even recently sold the sewing machine. So if you’re like me, I believe there’s no problem a glue gun or adhesive wouldn’t solve instead of sewing. Also, you can try and stretch the fabric over the rim and then attach the tire which will hold it. Although, you’ll probably need an extra pair of hands for that. You can try either way, and if nothing works – ask a friend who owns a sewing machine to sew it for you, and you can pay back by taking photos of them and lighting them with your new softbox. ;)