Learn How to Make Your Own Dirt Cheap DIY Reflector out of Bead Foam

Reflectors are a staple on every shoot, but if you want to save some cash, here's a great way to create your own on the cheap.

The Slanted Lens has shared a tutorial detailing how to make one out of a sheet of inexpensive bead foam that will give you beautiful soft light. Check it out below:

The 8'x4' bead board, which you can pick up at virtually any hardware store for about $8, is pretty humongous -- unless you have a truck, I can't imagine you transporting that huge, honkin' piece of styrofoam anywhere. However, it can easily be cut down to any size you prefer. They even sell smaller sheets (4'x3' and 2'x3') for about $10 if you don't feel up to the cutting. This means that for $8, you could have multiple reflectors to use at your disposal.

Remember though, you'll want to get the kind that has the silver lining, because you'll be able to peel one side off to reveal the white bead foam, giving you a two-sided reflector with two different reflective materials.

Now, if you're thinking, "Um -- reflectors are not that expensive," you're right, but that's not the only reason Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens wanted to share this tutorial with you. He also shared it because the bead board gives off a unique soft light that works really well on faces, so if you couple that with the fact that you're saving some money, it's really a win/win.     

Your Comment


A 5 way reflector isn't a whole lot more expensive than this and it's collapsible so a lot more portable.

September 10, 2015 at 8:12AM, Edited September 10, 8:13AM

Allan Raffel
Cinematographer & Editor

Yeah, bead board is definitely something everyone should know how to get a hold of at the drop of a hat.
I'm mainly a stills shooter, but still prefer a rigid bead board or v-flat over pop-up reflector any day. The quality is way different, and the rigidity is nothing to discount as well.

September 10, 2015 at 5:23PM