DIY: All-in-One Light Grid Diffuser and Cool Background Made from Plastic Bottles


We wouldn’t exactly describe it as ‘elegant,’ but this little DIY project by Instructables user pizzidave is both functional and extremely easy to make. Requiring almost no DIY ‘skill’ of any kind, you can create a cool background and grid diffuser for yourself using some plastic bottles and rubber bands.

There are only three materials you’ll need to create this from start to finish: a bunch of plastic bottles (he used 144), about as many rubber bands, and a halogen lamp or slave flash for when you actually use the final grid.



You’ve probably already guessed the rest of the steps: strap the bottles together in rows and then strap those rows together to form a stable grid using the rubber bands. That’s it. About as easy as a DIY project ever gets.

After that, just set up the grid however/wherever you see fit, and place your slave flash or hot light behind it. You now have a makeshift grid diffuser that doubles as a cool background (shallow depth of field suggested) that we could see coming in handy for some neat product photography.


For a detailed step-by-step — pizzidave describes how he chose to connect the bottles together for stability and offers a few tips — head over to the original Instructable by clicking below.

And, as with all of the DIY project we share on the site, feel free to drop some suggestions for how you would alter/improve this design in the comments down below.

Easy Plastic Light Grid Diffuser/Background [Instructables]

  • zachk

    I appreciate the DIY project. Its interesting and could be used for the forces of good.

    But a word of advice to anyone making a tutorial and providing “example” photos: please put at least some effort into the sample images. I’m shocked anyone would assign their name or brand to the provided images.

  • jaakewilson


  • Randy Wentzel

    Come on PetaPixel… Keep your standards up. This looks terrible. The example photos are so awful that I looked back at the before/after shots a number of times and still couldn’t see why the after shot was better. *puke*

  • arachnophilia

    she’s smiling more and it’s underexposed. so… yeah.

  • Sean Lucky

    I really try not to waste time writing negative things in the comments section of a website, but this one really needs calling out… It’s garbage, plain and straight.

  • Brandon Rechten

    Agree that DIY stuff is great … but I’m really not seeing any evidence that this works. The “after” photos seem like a strong indication that it doesn’t.

  • tiny11231

    Imagine the diabeties they may get from drinking all of that soda!

  • Aezreth

    This is terrible and idiotic on so many levels.

  • Adam

    No no, it’s RECYCLING.

  • ninpou_kobanashi

    Maybe it’s just a gag to see how ridiculous a project can be and still have people pay attention to it?

  • Brian Calabrese


  • Brian Calabrese

    for $7 about the amount he would have got for recycling the bottles he could have bought a frosted shower curtain

  • Sean Lucky

    HAH! Well played!

  • tyehill

    Never posted on petapixel before – but I just had to, today. This is probably the worst DIY photo project I’ve ever seen. I don’t know why I would spend so much time and effort to build something that will apparently destroy any aesthetically pleasing qualities in my photography!

    I think the problem might be that the photographer that built this is a beginner. It’s possible, that in the right hands, this could have been cool. But again, it’s not worth my time to try it if I don’t see some sort of promise in the sample photos.

    This article should probably just be removed altogether.

  • Courtney Navey

    when petapixel misses…they miss bad. they seem to be missing more than hitting, lately. what a waste of article. this blog is for professional photographers and not 15 year old kids, right?

  • Denis Germain


  • RMJ

    I have no words. I fail, too.

  • Eric

    I Agree.

  • Zos Xavius

    Well, they got the description right at least. Truly no skill was involved in the making of these pictures.

  • CS

    The white balance tho…

  • joshsouzaphotos

    This is the kinda post that gets you banned on Facebook when you respond to how awful it is……

  • docholliday666

    Wow, horrible photography, horrible lighting, horrible concept. A sheet of foamcore with a 100w utility light would have done better…weak.

  • whoopn

    That’s pretty hilarious, I almost thought I was reading The Onion when I saw those example photos but then I remembered The Onion actually puts effort into their images…

    I’m sorry if this is rude but cmon, this is a photography blog BY photographers FOR photographers, not just “clicky shooty” people with too much money on their hands.

  • Nick

    Save your time. Recycle the bottles and get some money back.

  • OtterMatt

    I’ve seen a lot of bad DIY before. This one wins.

  • ajfudge

    True. I kinda lost interest because the “example” just isn’t convincing and only makes the project look like a failure.