Thursday, September 4, 2008

8 craft store items every DIY photographer needs

Back in November I started making DIY photography stuff. First I made a PVC backdrop stand and some muslin backdrops. Then I made my Magic Arm. Followed by a whole bunch of projects. In the last 10 months I've stumbled across awesome stuff that has a million and one practical uses in diy photography. Here's a list of some of my top picks, and practical uses for them.

1. Foamies - These flexible multi-sized and multi-colored foam sheets (I use the 2mm thick ones) have a lot of uses, and I have just started to discover them. I found out about Foamies from the "Nice LoupedeDoupe", which is the first thing you should make with your Foamies. Next there's a whole host of flash mod's you could use these for, I used a 9x12 sheet to make a snoot, I lined the whole 12" side so it would wrap around my flash and then added 2 strips of velcro to it, so it could then attach to itself and close. Then when I made my straw girdspot, i glued a foamies around it, and when I want to use it, I put it inside my snoot.

2. Adhesive Backed Velcro - You can use this for everything, hanging photos on walls or all your DIY photo projects. Remember that snoot I was just talking about, that uses velcro. use it to attach gels to your flash, or you're cactus trigger to your flash. I keep about 5 ft of velcro in my camera bag for on location shooting and everything. You never know when you will need it. get at least 15 feet of the black stuff.

3. Velcro Cable Ties - I recently used these for my speed strap, I also used them for the cables in my camera bag. When I was at office max yesterday I decided I would use them a lot more, because I saw 50 of them for S4.69. I have a few up and coming DIY projects these will be shown in.

4. Mylar - this stuff I've read is like 3x more reflective the foil, and its also cheap. $0.50 nets you 5084 sq inches. Why use this, its cheap, and its more reflective. Use it in you're softboxes or hang it up on a wall and bounce a flash into it, really good way to light a room.

5. Coroplast (Corrugated Plastic) - this is corrugate plastic, use it for gridspots or softbox sides. use it with some foamies and velcro to make some new divider inserts for your camera bag. Use it as a gobo, or make some barn doors out of it.

6. Foil - Use it for quick snoots on the go, as a reflective surface rather than buying mylar, because I'm sure you have it lying around. make a hemlet to shield yourself from radiation. make some props out of it if you're taking a futuristic style photo.

7. PVC Pipe - Make Backdrop Stands, or a reflector holder . Use the stuff to re-create the entire California Sunbounce line
. Or, as you'll see in an upcoming project, make a PVC rain machine, which I am making for video, but you could use the concept for photography.

8. Painters Tape - If you're like me $23.00 is way to much to spend on 60 yards of Gaffers Tape so why not buy painters tape, its not super sticky, and you can get cheap stuff about $1.00 a roll. Its not as versatile as gaffers tape, its a little weaker and less sticky. but also its blue, which could cast some odd color reflections if its in the wrong spot.

I'm gunna have that wrap up my post on 8 craft store items every DIY photographer needs. So now what I want you to do, is in the comments show some photos and a description of your use of one of those. Got another item we all need? post it to, and share the practical uses. In a few weeks I'll make a new post of user submitted needs. (not limited to craft store items.)

Hope you enjoyed it and learned something!


udi tirosh said...

Loved this post. add Rosco Gel pack to the list

eB Photography said...

Great list. Foam core board is great for flags, reflectors, improv barndoors. It's a bit more rigid than "Foamies" and photos can be mounted to it for display. Unless you need huge sheets and are good with a blade, have the store cut them down to workable sizes.

Anonymous said...

A couple of notes:
-Mylar can't possibly be more reflective than foil. A good portion of the light goes *through* mylar instead of being bounced by it. Whereas with foil, none of the light goes through the material (meaning, it's all bounced)

-You can buy mylar blankets at WalMart in their camping section for about $1.50


Jake said...

@eb-photography - How could I forget foam core! You said, if its to big, have the store cut it for you, how big does this stuff come? and where can we get such big sheets?

@anonym- I'd say thats a very neat read for anyone, mylar or Biaxally oriented PET film had a million and 1 uses.


Anonymous said...

Instead of gaffers tape, try cloth hockey tape from the local sporting goods store/ice rink. It's pretty close to the same thing, and waaaaay cheaper.

Chris said...

Nice post. I second the foam core board suggestion.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't live without black pvc electricans tape. Lightproof and cheap!

Ron Mylar said...

This blog shows a view into the mind of a young amateur photographer with craft store items. It also made a PVC backdrop stand and some muslin backdrops.

Jacob O'Connell said...

Ron your point is?

Flip Jork said...

I cannot wait to show you the inside! Come back on December 18th! Jianxin coroplast