Make a Cheap DIY Ice Light Using an LED Flashlight and Some PVC Pipe


Westcott’s lightsaber-style Ice Light is popular among photographers, but the $500 price tag is a bit prohibitory to some. Fortunately for those who either don’t want or can’t afford to spend the money on the real thing, photographer Simon Ellingworth has come up with a cheap DIY version that’ll only run you about $30.

All you’ll need is an LED flashlight, a 32″ long piece of 1.5″ PVC, a PVC end cap, some zip ties, and something to cut the pipe with.

LED Flashlight Photography @


LED Flashlight Photography @

Once you have all of your materials, just cut open a section of the pipe long enough to place your flashlight in, secure it there with zip ties, place the cap on the other end, and turn on the light. The final product should look like this:


You’ll have to play around with the makeshift Ice Light a bit before you start getting good quality, evenly lit portraits, but as you can see from the sample photo below, the $30 light definitely has potential. Be sure to check out Ellingworth’s blog Lightism for a more in-depth step-by-step walk through and some tips and ideas on how you can take full advantage of your new DIY creation.

LED Flashlight Photography @

LED Flashlight photography: How to make an Ice Light [Lightism via Lifehacker]

Image credits: Photographs by Simon Ellingworth and used with permission.

  • frank mckenna

    Ha ha. This is great. I am going to make a couple of gifts for my nephews. Very creative.

  • Caitlyn Chapman

    I bought two SaberStrips for under $400 last year and I love them. Check em out!

  • SpaceMan

    funny post, I thought the whole point of this was that we didn’t have to check out SaberStrips

  • renambot

    Does anybody know a PVC pipe that would work for this (in the US) ?

  • Jim

    1.5″ PVC is available everywhere in the US. If you can’t find it, you should avoid running with scissors as well. :) Just kidding! Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, your neighbor’s garage – all are potential sources you could investigate.

  • renambot

    Because if you had read the original article, you would know that it’s an article with UK references, and the most common US PVC pipe would be much too thick to let light pass through. It seems that maybe an irrigation pipe would work better…

  • spenno


  • Jonathon Watkins

    Thanks for that. I’ve just ordered the torch from Amazon & look forward to trying this out.

  • herpaderp

    herpaderpa!!!! if YOU read the article you would see that the the pipe is CUT IN HALF. the light doesnt pass through it, it is reflected out of it. idiot, lol

  • n1ck0las

    I was excited about building a light like this until I actually tried to source materials. Here in the US and specifically central Florida, finding thin-walled white plastic tubing that doesn’t give off an odd color is incredibly difficult. I even tried one of the tubes used to house fluorescent bulbs. Well, at least I have a crazy bright flashlight now….

    After getting over my frustration, I ordered an LED shop light. 310 lumen, 4 hour battery life/charge time. I’m going to experiment by wrapping various materials over the front to soften the light a bit. Northern Tool prod# 33893

  • Mike

    I’m all for cheaper alternatives, but LED torches/flashlights are notorious for giving off light that is anything but daylight balanced. Too green, too blue, too magenta. How many hours in post does it take correcting the colour balance before you get to $499 that the Icelight costs? Not to mention flash lights are on or off. Or at most low-mid-high. Sometimes flexibility and ease and slickness has a price. Just ask any Apple-anything owner.

  • yamaha83

    don’t shoot auto white balance and use a grey card…set gray point and synch across your image set… done!

  • UNRELIABLEpistol

    I doubt most apple-anything owners would not know much basic photographic techniques. (save for photogs that use Apple product)

  • Jerry Tosh

    LOL right!

  • Mr. Holman

    White translucent 101 nylon tubing is a good option. It’s cheap on Amazon. If you get it with a 1″ outside diameter (OD), you can slide Rosco fluorescent sleeves over it. They are cheap on bhphoto.

  • Mr. Holman

    White translucent 101 nylon tubing is a good option.