How To: Build A DIY Softbox Grid Out Of Gaffer Tape

Here's a how-to on making a custom sized softbox grid out of everyone's favorite sticky stuff.

Gaffer's tape

Gaffer's tape

With enough finesse, gaffer tape, and its cousin duct tape, can be used to hack together just about anything on the planet. Here's a nifty DIY on how to use either of these tape types (or potentially just about any other) to make a custom sized, collapsible softbox grid. Created by Flickr user ☣ cUKi, he describes it as:

Using a cardboard template cut to the required size, make rings out of tape, sticky side out (1). Stick them on a smooth working surface, they will come out easily (2). Remove the template and press flat the cell with your finger. Stack the cells to the right half-length apart to make a row (3), in my case a row would be 10 cells long. Start the following row half-length to the left, carefully aligning the current cell's right edge to the left edge of the second cell on the row below (no pic, sorry). Keep rolling and laying cells for as long as it takes. Don't give up, don't rush it, and DO NOT unfold the grid until it's finished and no sticky surfaces are left uncovered. If you carefully align all the edges on all the rows, the structure unfolds as a pretty regular grid (4). You only need to add some velcro on it's edges (I've put the fluffy side on the grid; I'm not sure it was teh right choice) and install it on your box.

Now, if that's a bit hard to parse, this picture might make it a touch easier to understand. You use a carboard piece to make a series of cells out of gaffer tape, sticky side out, and then strap them together into a grid. While a tedious process, the result should be fairly robust, collapsible, and the perfect size for whatever your shooting situation is. You can use just about any material for this, one person even adapted it into cloth, though you should probably stick with black matte with whatever you're using.

So while it might take a while to put together, it's a hell of a lot cheaper than buying one new.