DIY a Large Silver Reflector Panel For Your Studio

Didn’t know it at the time but this project started during a London Open House 2017 and came to fruition in 2020 with a large homemade silver reflector panel for my new photo studio.

One of our Open House visits in 2017 was the Antepavillion, a temporary structure designed and built by PUP Architects on the roof of a building. In the architects’ own words…

The pavilion invites discussion about the occupation of the city’s rooftops by highlighting relaxed permitted development rights. It suggests that if dwellings could be disguised as air conditioning equipment, thousands of micro houses could be built across the city providing new homes.

The wooden structure was clad in reject Tetra pack material that was turned into shingle tiles. Attaching the tiles to a simple wooden structure gave it a futuristic feel. I loved how something could look so futuristic using such a simple material. To be honest I was thinking the idea might work as a privacy screen in our back garden and stored it away for future reference.

A year or so later my partner and I had mostly given up drinking dairy. We then started going through litres of Oatly to make our cappuccinos in the morning. At the time our local council didn’t recycle the cartons and I was annoyed with all the waste going in the bin. I then remembered the Pavillion and opened one of the cartons up and found it was silver on the inside. I started keeping them to make into something useful…… like a big silver reflector panel for my studio.

A couple of years and 1000’s of coffees later I’ve now got myself a big bag of silver tetra packs*. Time to set about making things. I thought a large silver reflector panel might be useful for the shoots and in general. It would also make a good prop for a Sci-Fi themed portrait project I’m working on.

How To Recycle Drinks Cartons Into A Studio Prop

  • Wash the packs Out, Pull The glued Flaps Out And Flatten The Carton
  • Trim Top And Bottom Sealed Edges Off Then Cut Down vertical edge
  • square off the panel edge with a scalpel
  • Scrunch them up to give them some texture – this is the hard bit
  • Flatten them and stick some double-sided tape on the back
  • stick them to a rigid material – A 1m x 2m x 4mm thick acrylic sheet worked for me

How To Use the silver reflector panel in the Studio

I’ve used the panel in a couple of photoshoots before the pandemic shut everything down. Its works as a tabletop, wall surface and also a backdrop. Its should also work as a bounce panel for flash units.

silver reflector panel as fake wall surface

Behind The Scenes of the Above Right Image

* I reckon you could acquire the cartons a lot quicker if you asked your local coffee shop to keep them for you.

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