How to Create a Pringles Can Light Reflector

Three Parts:Preparing the Pringles CanCutting the Pringles CanAdding the Light

Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to have all the bells and whistles to shoot some great photography. There is a whole photography culture dedicated to using DIY equipment and it's effective as well as budget-conscious. This article will help you create a light reflector––using a Pringles can!

Part 1
Preparing the Pringles Can

  1. Image titled Find a Pringles can Step 1
    Finish your Pringles and put the can aside. You could wash it out, but since it's made from paper, it's best to shake it out first, then wipe it out with a paper towel or two.

Part 2
Cutting the Pringles Can

  1. Image titled Draw a line Step 2
    Create a 'door' cut. About 1/2 to 3/4 inches (approx. 13mm to 19mm) from the top and bottom, draw a line across the can. It should go about halfway around the can and then finish with another down the middle of the two lines drawn on the can, to form an "I" (see the image).
    • Make sure that the lines match up on their ends. You will want to open these 'doors' when you use the light.
  2. Image titled Cut hole in Plastic lid Step 3
    Cut a hole in the plastic lid to match the size of your light source.

Part 3
Adding the Light

  1. Image titled Push light through hole Step 4
    Push the light through the hole in the lid.
  2. Image titled Use it to light your image Step 5
    Attach the lid to the prepared Pringles can. You can now use the Pringles can light reflector to light your image.
  3. Image titled Diffuse the light If you need Step 6
    If you need to diffuse this light, put a sheet of paper in the reflector, supported by the top and the bottom 1/2 inch (13mm).
  4. Image titled Create a Pringles Can Light Reflector Intro


  • You can also use scissors instead of a sharp knife.
  • If you are comfortable with how straight you can cut, you can do this without the straight edge.


  • Pringles cans are generally mostly flammable cardboard and plastic. Being close to the bulb and restrictive of ventilation, this could be a fire hazard with an incandescent bulb. It would be unable to focus a fluorescent bulb much because that emits light over a broad area, and unnecessary with flashes and LED bulbs because those have built-in focusers. Also, a sheet of paper over the front would insulate it more and block much more light than a lampshade or other purpose-built diffuser. A cheap clip-on lamp with a shiny metal reflector included may be more practical. Never leave unattended and only use for short periods of time.

Things You'll Need

  • Pringles can
  • Paper towels
  • A pen or marker
  • A straight edge
  • A carpet knife or something else that is sharp to cut the can with
  • A flashlight or other light source

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Featured Articles | Photography Lighting | Photographic DIY