DIY: Pringles Can Strip Light

Categories: DIY, Photography
Comments: No Comments
Published on: 2013.04.17

Inspired by another Flickr member’s project (which is a very cheap, homemade version of the expensive Saberstrip), I took a few minutes and made this Pringles can strip light.

DIY: Pringles Can Strip Light (Second Test Image)
(Copyright © 2013 by Wil C. Fry. All rights reserved.)

Materials:

1. Empty Pringles can
2. White sheet of printer paper

(Must already have a flash unit and a way to fire it off-camera.)

Tools:

1. Ruler / straightedge
2. Utility knife
3. Pen / marker

DIY: Pringles Can Strip Light
(Copyright © 2013 by Wil C. Fry. All rights reserved.)

I used the ruler and Sharpie marker to mark a rectangle on the side of the can. I matched my vertical lines with the edges of the nutritional information table, just for ease. I marked the first horizontal line 1.5 inches from the bottom of the can, and the next one 5.5 inches beyond that. Then I used the utility knife to cut along the lines. (It’s easier if you cut around first, and then up.)

DIY: Pringles Can Strip Light DIY: Pringles Can Strip Light
(Copyright © 2013 by Wil C. Fry. All rights reserved.)

DIY: Pringles Can Strip LightI rolled the sheet of printer paper and slipped it into the can. The paper’s a little too long for the can if you roll it standing up. Use the width of the paper to fit into the length of the can.

The paper will spread on its own to fill the cylinder.

Then stick a flash unit into the can’s opening. I used a Canon 420EX Speedlite in the images below; its head was the perfect fit for the Pringles can. (It’s not snug, but there’s very little wiggle room.) For a larger flash, like my favorite LumoPro LP160 or the Canon 580EX, you’ll be out of luck with this project. And I’ve been told that several Nikon flash units are smaller, so you’ll want to cut the lid to help hold the flash’s head in place. (See image below).

Now you’ve got a cheap strip light, ready to work.

Note: The Canon 420EX that I used here doesn’t have any manual settings. So the flash is just as bright as it wants to be. I controlled the brightness with camera settings (ISO and aperture). Another option is to move the flash further from the subject. You could also slip a second or third piece of paper into the tube.

DIY: Pringles Can Strip Light (Complete)
(Copyright © 2013 by Wil C. Fry. All rights reserved.)

My first attempt to light something was way off (ISO250, f/5.6):

DIY: Pringles Can Strip Light (First Test Image)
(Copyright © 2013 by Wil C. Fry. All rights reserved.)

I wasn’t expecting that much light to come through the paper. So I reduced my aperture to f/13 and the ISO sensitivity to 100 to get the result you see at the top of the page.

The idea is to provide a diffused soft light on a small portion of the room, just lighting the subject as you intend.

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