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How to Make Your Own Demb Diffuser with Common Household Items


Recently I came across the Demb flash diffuser while reading a review of the best flash diffuser over at photo-tips-online.com. After seeing the Demb diffuser at the top of the list, I went to Amazon to see how much it costs and, to my surprise, found that Amazon, Adorama and B&H don’t sell it. The only way to purchase it is from Joe Demb’s site. I then decided to try my hand at making this diffuser myself. The total cost of mine is $0, while the real thing costs about $40.

Here is a list of the stuff I found at home:

  1. White styrofoam plate. You can also use a piece of white cardboard or photo paper. This will be the reflector.
  2. Rubber band or any elastic band. You can also use velcro if you have one.
  3. Bendable disposable fork. Make sure it’s bendable. Don’t use the ones made with hard platic, since they will break if you try to bend them.
  4. IKEA drawer mat (Rationell Variera). You can also experiment with other translucent materials if you don’t have this particular mat.

Refer to the image below for the complete ingredients:

Cut a 5″x5″ piece out of the IKEA drawer mat and make top edges slightly rounded, this will be your diffuser.

Insert the fork to your disposable plate or card, if you have a clip or something sturdy enough to hold the reflector, much better. If using cardboard, cut at least 6″x6″ for the reflector. See image below.

I’m also looking for something similar to a small door hinge to hold the reflector to allow its angle to be changed, just like the original Demb diffuser.

Place your elastic bond or velcro around your flash, and insert the diffuser. If you need the reflector to bounce light you can insert it as well. The final setup should look like this:

If you’re indoors with a low ceiling, it’s better to bounce off the ceiling and just use the diffuser, without using the reflector. Use the reflector if you are indoors with high ceiling or outdoors. This is a first attempt at creating the Demb diffuser, and I’m still working on finding better materials.

Here are some test photographs using this fake Demb setup:

No flash used

Flash fired. Ceiling bounce and no diffuser

Flash fired. Ceiling bounce and fake Demb diffuser

Flash fired. Fake Demb reflector and diffuser both used

About the author: Ness Flores is a Washington, DC-based network and database admin by day and serious photography hobbyist by night. Visit his website here