How to make light reflector easily at home? Please tell me the easiest way to make light reflector at home without spending much on that.

  • 3
    Is this really not a duplicate?!
    – JDługosz
    Jun 25, 2016 at 11:59

6 Answers 6


See the inventgeek.com "DIY 40 Inch Silver Reflector" article for the full low-down, but he shows you how to build a full on, circular, metallic reflective, folds-down-into-a-smaller-circle reflector for what he claims is about $8 in materials. There are lots of pictures on the post.

The outer frame is made of fish tape. To quote:

Scary Springy Steel Wire of Doom:
For this project we will be using what is called fish tape. This is normally used for fishing wires through tight spaces and long runs. The nice thing about this wire is it is extremely springy and strong. Be sure to respect this wire! This coil is like a bomb waiting to go off and it will unwind [itself] violently and completely if you lose control of it taking any eyes in the area with it. The circumference of our 40” reflector is 125.6 inches, so we will be using 129 inches of wire to allow for stretch and overlap. This stuff turns up in dollar stores often, or buy a refill [in place] of a new tape.

He also gets nylon webbing to for the tube around the end that will cover the fishtape, and the main reflector material is a metallic/shiny fabric. (The post says he found it on eBay for $4, but he isn't particularly specific about the type of fabric).

He begins by cutting a 44" circle of the material.

Step one to building your reflector is to cut out a round disk of your reflective material. The easiest way to do this is to take the diameter of the circle, divide by 2 and then make a wire with loops at both ends that length. Then using a block of wood with a screw in its place one ends loop over the screw and a marker in the second. Scribe a circle on the back side of the fabric.

Then, pin the webbing to the circle, and sew it, leaving a gap at the ends big enough so you have room to fish the wire through.

The wire, fished through, should have enough overlap of the ends that you can adjust the tension, and secure the ends together. He used some staples that he straightened out and wrapped around the wires, and then covered everything again with electrical tape, and then (I surmise) sewed another piece of the webbing over the gap to completely cover the wire.


The most available large sheet material is corrugated cardboard.

If you have a single layer sheet, you should first glue at least another single layer sheet on top of it to make it more stable. Rotate one of the sheets by 90° so that the "grain directions" of the layers cross each other. Like plywood.

For the reflective surfaces:

  • White paper provides a nice reflective surface.
  • To get a stronger reflector, you can also try aluminium foil (often called "tin foil").
  • There is a product available for first aid and rescue situations that's a foil with a silver and a golden reflective side. To keep people cold or warm. This is one source for a golden reflective surface. Which gives warm light which can produce great looking portraits.
  • Last but not least, there's black paper which provides the opposite effect of white paper. This is often called a flag. This is handy if you want to pull the dark side of your subject even further into darkness to get very dramatic results. It also helps to prevent light spill or reduce harsh highlights.

These are 4 surfaces. You could make 2 cardboard sheets and get all the different surfaces with one on each side. Or make 4 reflectors with only one surface each if you want to use them together at the same time.

To get the surfaces on the cardboard, use double sided tape. Regular paper glues will not dry under air tight foils. Tape is very convenient to work with for such large surfaces.

If you need something that's more portable, create a hinge in the middle of the cardboard to fold it.

  • Aluminum foil is common and better reflector than tin which is rare and specialized. Normal mirrors use aluminum, in fact.
    – JDługosz
    Jun 25, 2016 at 11:55
  • For flags, matte gaff tape is great and better thqn paper. Also black craft foam, as for the black foamy thing flash attachment.
    – JDługosz
    Jun 25, 2016 at 11:57
  • 7
    @JDługosz the term "tin foil" is often used to refer to aluminium foil. I assume you are not a native speaker (me neither) and just translated literally. Either way, I was indeed referring to aluminium foil with the phrase. I add a clarification to my answer.
    – null
    Jun 25, 2016 at 12:07
  • I am a native speaker of American English. Tin is a different metal. Maybe british uses it as "tins" mean food containers. But that's not universal, and could just be dated: I think early foil was tin. Like, 19th century.
    – JDługosz
    Jun 25, 2016 at 12:11
  • 2
    @JDługosz Interesting, I always heard native speaking people use the term tin foil and assumed it's more universally used. The article states this is regional. Maybe a good question for English Language Learners
    – null
    Jun 25, 2016 at 12:15

Automotive windshield reflectors can function well as photographic reflectors. The best ones are the shiny silver accordion-fold ones (they often have a "bubble wrap" -like core).

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A large piece of foam core board (or mat board) is good for portraits. Clamped on a stand opposite of a soft box (key light) just outside of framing. It could be black on one side for absorbing light for more dramatic shadows. Or paint it gold or...?


For a large reflector go to a stationery shop and buy a large sheet of white paper for card. It's not as portable or durable as a proper reflector, but does the job.


Buy a "space blanket" from a sale bin. Search for that on the web and it will turn up places to buy for a buck or so.

Fold it over any convenient frame, board, wire loop, or in-situ surface. Secure with gaffers tape ('duct tape'). The tape costs more than the silvery material.

This is far more durable than paper, foam, etc. and a whole blanket-sized piece folds smaller than a pocket tissue pack.

  • 1
    Don't you mean Kleenex? Thats what the box reads.
    – dpollitt
    Jun 25, 2016 at 13:30

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