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This article is not so much a guide. It’s more about keeping your eyes open and briefly thinking and testing whether what you are about to throw away would be suitable for light painting. I always carry at least one torch, usually an Emisar D4V2. If something could be suitable for a light painting brush, I put the torch in and test whether it is suitable. In a second step, I take a test shot of the new light painting tool. Some people have been amazed at the strange things that have appeared in our light painting case.


lightpainting, light painting, tools, diy,

lightpainting, light painting, tools, diy



Bottles made of various plastics or even glass are well suited as light painting brushes. The Universal Connector fits most bottle necks like a glove. PET bottles for drinks are available in different sizes and colours. Blue 0.5l water bottles or even poison-green Mountain Dew bottles save us the colour filter foils. The only disadvantage of the Mountain Dew bottles: the stuff is undrinkable and therefore ends up in the sink, at least for us.

The lower bottle originally contained crushed fruit and vegetable waste, smoothie, as it is so nicely called in new German. The neck of the bottle is larger than most drinks or detergent bottles. I simply used the Universal Connector “the wrong way round” here. The small Convoy S2+ fits well in the side for the tool; and the tool fits well in the side that is actually intended for the torch. Alternatively, you could also insert the Universal Connector with the small side into the bottle if you want to use a thicker torch.

In the picture above you can see an empty Fit bottle. Bottles of detergents sometimes have very interesting structures. Some detergents are sold in opaque bottles, these are particularly suitable as light brushes because they distribute the light evenly over the entire surface. You can see this quite well on the workbench in the cover picture. In the middle is a PET water bottle, in front a 1l detergent bottle and in the back a bottle with a handle that originally contained orange juice, if I remember correctly. All three bottles were partially filled with different coloured liquids. If you close the bottle well with foil, you can also use it to paint light traces into the picture. Apart from liquid, you can of course also put other things in the bottles. Small pieces of aluminium foil, strips of colour filter foil or similar. Just try it out.

The advantages of such light painting tools are obvious. They are easy to obtain almost everywhere, they hardly cost anything (in the worst case, I waive 25 cents deposit), they are light and robust.


Empty film cans are the perfect light painting tool to paint thinner traces of light, such as the lines of an orb. The light is very diffuse. This means there is little danger of the light burning out.

Admittedly, I bought the blue film can empty. So this is not an empty box that would otherwise have been thrown in the bin. The opaque can in the picture is actually a normal film can. Actually, the white cans are quite sufficient. If you want to make it colourful, you put a piece of colour filter foil between the torch and the tool, which is then usually brighter than with the coloured can. The coloured cans are not very translucent. You can see it well in the picture: perfectly diffuse, even light. The P5R was at the highest level (420 lumens). When using film cans, it is advisable to use a torch with focus and set it as wide as possible. The cans also fit well into the Universal Connector.

The torch manufacturer’s diffuser does not make a nicer light than the empty film can. However, it fits directly on the torch, but usually only on exactly one torch, like the Convoy S2+ here.

If you don’t have any film canisters at home, you can also buy them empty:

25 pieces coloured

20 pieces white

10 pieces gold

lightainting, light painting, light art photography, tool, tutorial

lightainting, light painting, light art photography, tool, tutorial

lightainting, light painting, light art photography, tool, tutorial


lightainting, light painting, light art photography, tool, tutorial

lightainting, light painting, light art photography, tool, tutorial

lightainting, light painting, light art photography, tool, tutorial

lightainting, light painting, light art photography, tool, tutorial

In the picture above you can see an empty bubble sword. These containers come in different sizes, shapes and colours.

After the party, the funny coloured test tubes for serving alcoholic drinks often end up in the rubbish bin. They can also be used as light painting tools, especially if they are scratched. The piece in the picture above was sandpapered to diffuse the light. Again, the advantage is that I can work without colour filter film. In contrast to the coloured film cans, the test tubes let a lot of light out.

A marzipan blanket for the birthday cake that Erik and Marla baked for me was rolled onto the opaque tube. The tube is a bit too thin for the Universal Connector, it would slip out if I moved it quickly. A little gaffa tape will help. If you don’t want to use the tube with two torches like in the picture above, you should close one end of the tube with some aluminium foil and gaffa tape.

This kitschy little plum is actually a salt shaker. The part is made of plexiglass, the red flower is attached and can be removed easily. Similar creations are also available for other purposes such as garden or balcony lights, Christmas or Easter decorations and the like.


Very simple and cheap tools are often enough to create impressive light painting pictures. I painted the picture on the right with a soap bubble sword. Of course, you can also make beautiful pictures with the purchased tools from the light painting shop, but the satisfaction is usually greater if you build the light painting tools yourself or use things for other purposes. And it’s not as much of a strain on your wallet. The only thing I haven’t been able to find is an inexpensive replacement for the Universal Connector. But the idea that Jason Page had is as simple as it is ingenious, so I think we can support him a little.

I wish you good light all the time


Sven Gerard

Sven Gerard, Jahrgang 1969, geboren und aufgewachsen in Berlin. Er fotografiert seit frühester Jugend mit großer Leidenschaft. Neben dem fotografischen Erkunden zahlreicher beeindruckender verlassener Orte, widmet er sich seit mittlerweile 10 Jahren intensiv dem Lightpainting. Sein umfangreiches Wissen teilt er auf seinem Blog „“, weiteren Publikationen und in seinen Workshops. Darüber hinaus organisiert er Veranstaltungen zum Thema Lightpainting, wie „Light Up Berlin“. Gerard lebt gemeinsam mit seiner Lebensgefährtin in Berlin und hat einen erwachsenen Sohn. Sven Gerard was born in 1969 and grew up in Berlin. He has been a passionate photographer since his early youth. In addition to photographically exploring numerous impressive abandoned places, he has been intensively involved in light painting for 10 years now. He shares his extensive knowledge on his blog ‘’, other publications and in his workshops. He also organises events on the subject of light painting, such as ‘Light Up Berlin’. Gerard lives in Berlin with his partner and has a grown-up son.

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