The Square Ring Light under $10


I got the inspiration for the square ring light from a trip to Vegas. The hotel bathroom had a light that ran the perimeter of the giant rectangle mirror.  I noticed the square ring catchlight in my eye and found it really interesting and wanted to reproduce this. A dozen (ok, maybe 2-3) different ideas ran through my head on how to build something the square ring light.  I settled on good ole fashioned Foamcore for the test run.

Square and Ring? I know, it’s not exactly the best term for it, but I couldn’t think of what else to call it. So here it is, the Square Ring Light.

Here are the materials I used:
$4 – Foamcore x4 ($1 each at local dollar store)
$1 – Aluminum Foil (dollar store)
$4.50 – Spray Adhesive (walmart)

Items I already had:
White Duck Tape
Double Sided Tape (not needed)
Straight Edge Ruler
Utility Blade
White Tablecloth (plastic)

Light Sources:
2 speedlights

If you don’t have some of the materials already, I imagine the entire project can be put together for $15-20, minus the speedlights.



Cut/score Foamcore  into thirds longways. DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH. In my case, the foamcore was 20″ on the short end, so I cut it at 7″ in on both sides, leaving 6″ in the middle. I figured I’d make it more narrow than equal.


I had to reinforce my cuts with the duck tape because I cut a bit too deep and went through…


Here I used the double sided tape, but ran out real quick (make sure to double check your supplies!) Then I tried rolling my white duck tape. THIS TAKES TOO LONG!


I went to my local Walmart and picked up Spray Adhesive. oh yea. MUCH BETTER and FASTER!

To attach two pieces, I measured in 6″ on one end and made a cut so I could bend that into the other piece and tape it down as shown here.



Step and repeat and here it is!


After testing a bit, I rested one speed light on the top-left pointing down and tilted towards the back slightly. I rested another speedlight on the opposite corner pointing up and tilted towards the back slightly.




Without any diffusion, I got hotspots in the corners. I had an extra white plastic tablecloth from a past party which was perfect for the diffusion material. I laid it down and placed the square ring light on top and cut out my diffusion panel.


A little MacGyvering with Binder Clips and here’s the final diffused Square Ring Light.  As far as mounting the Square Ring Light, I just rested it on top of a table.



And a shot from my side:




And the final results:




All in all, I had a blast building the Square Ring Light and shooting with it. It really does produce a unique catchlight!