Have any of you found a way to make inexpensive gels? I'd like to try using a few colors with my lights but have found most shops are mighty proud of theirs. My son saw me looking at them online and asked if photographers could use either plastic colored/see-through folders or colored page protectors? I'm sure there's an issue of melting and safety. If you've had any success with a cheap way of making gels, where to find them, I'd sure appreciate any tips.
I would pick up the Strobist Rosco collection, $12 gets you 55 gels. You aren't going to be able to handcraft 55 different filters out of things you can find at an office supply store.
If you really want to make them yourself, head on over to instructables.com and read this tutorial.
For subtle colour correction (e.g. matching the available light) then you really want a proper gel with consistent and predictable frequency response.
However for special effects you can use almost anything, candy wrappers, coloured paper, tape, fabric. In fact I have a harder time trying to prevent light picking up colour from mods.
When using plastics melting is a genuine problem, however it's easily solved if you mount your homemade filters with an air gap. An effective way is to create a short cardboard collar round the flash with a slot to slide filters into.