This past Sunday it was DIY time again! Max McDonald from mondayshift dropped by and we made a Lowes Depot run (for those times when hitting one store just isn’t enough) for supplies and ideas. Ever since creating the DIY ring flash a few weeks ago, Max has been toying with tweaking the production. He’s still letting that idea ferment, though we made some definite progress on the idea over the weekend. I had something a bit simpler in mind, though, a continuous light makeshift beauty dish.

I wanted something light (no pun intended, I mean lightweight specifically) and cheap that I could hang above the subject/model for a spotlight-type look, so I ran with Max’s idea of using a fluorescent circline light for continuous lighting. I bought another cheap work light shell (this time from Lowe’s) and set to work. The advantage to getting the Lowe’s version of the work light shell, I found, was that it appears slightly sturdier construction-wise, with one huge drawback – there’s no on/off switch. Bummer, but something I’ll probably fix down the line, if I can. Since this was intended to be used in front of the camera, I opted to spray paint the shell a flat black to avoid any light reflecting off of the unit from another flash.

All of the pieces were obtained locally, save for the circline light lamp adapter, which no one seemed to carry (not even Cain’s Electric Supply or Abe’s). But they were cheap and plentiful on Amazon and arrived in two days thanks to Prime (Amazon, not Optimus).

The only real DIY part (aside from spray painting) was drilling two extra holes in the shell so that we could stabilize the circline light with zip ties. Not too shabby. Here are a few photos of the finished product with a sample shot just using the beauty dish (shot by Max).

beauty dish test - mondayshift
beauty dish test – © mondayshift

So what all do you need?

Lowe’s Incandescent Portable Work Light – around $11-12. I opted for the 10.5″ shell.Not entirely sure if this is the one I got, but it’s similar. incandescent work light
Circline Fluorescent Light – around $7. I got the 9″ lamp that fits easily inside the 10.5″ shell. This is the one that I bought from Lowe’s.
Circline Lamp Adapter – $7.12 on Amazon. This is used to connect the fluorescent bulb to a standard lamp socket. Circline Lamp Adapter

That’s basically it, just ~$25 worth of stuff from the hardware store. The only other things we used were a couple zip ties, some black spray paint, and an extension cord (the one that came with the shell was only six feet). Of course, depending on how you want to use it, you’ll need a light stand or something to mount it or hang it from, though with the clamp that is built onto the shell, you could mount it to almost anything around (we secured ours with a small velcro strap).