Commercial flash diffusers are quite expensive for what they are—light-weight pieces of plastic designed to help cut down the harshness of the naked camera flash. Turns out run-of-the-mill drawer liner makes for an effective diffuser.
Over at Instructables, user Artur Gajewski has put together a guide to making an incredibly inexpensive but effective flash diffuser. After experimenting with everything from milk bottles to bubble wrap, he found the holy grail of cheap diffusion in a roll of IKEA drawer liner. Ever on the lookout for new material to try out, he stumbled upon the Rationell Variera clear silicone drawer liner at IKEA and took it home. It turns out the clear material, dotted with little dimples, makes for fantastic diffusion.
Even better, it takes almost no effort to make one. You’ll need a $4 roll of matting, some Velcro, a razor knife, and a straight edge for cutting. The rolls are significantly bigger than the amount you’ll need for a single diffuser, but if you were to use up the entire roll and give them to your friends your cost per diffuser would be around a quarter.
Check out his tutorial for additional photos, including a comparison of shots taken with his DIY diffuser versus popular commercial brands.