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DIY Softbox Storage Hanger

If you own a softbox, or two, you understand how bulky and unwieldy they can be. Imagine owning several in different sizes. Storage becomes an issue. One solution is to break them down and store them flat, but that becomes a pain after the first few times struggling to put one of these things together. It is more convenient to just grab one "off the shelf" and go to work.

Allocating shelf space seems like such a waste of valuable storage space. In my case I have two square softboxes, three striplights and soon two more rectangular ones. That's a lot of real estate. Time to come up with a storage solution that doesn't require floor space or shelf space.

The solution I came up with is a compromise of an idea I originally had of hanging them from the ceiling on pulleys so they would be out of the way until needed. I still like that idea, but for now I will be suspending them from a wire rack shelf system in my studio. Here is what the system looks like.



As a DIY solution, this one is both easy and inexpensive to make. All you need are a couple of items from the hardware store and a few tool you probably already have around the house. Here's a breakdown of the items;

Materials (in red):

  1. 1/2 inch PVC pipe (8"-10" per hanger)
  2. Paracord (several feet, depending on how many you want to make and what you're hanging from)
  3. Small carabiners (these came from a key ring with eight 1" mini clips on a ring)

Tools (in blue):

  1. Tape measure
  2. Wire tie (or any piece of junk wire)
  3. Saw
  4. Lighter
  5. Scissors (or utility knife)
  6. Drill

How to make the hangers

PVC pipes

Depending on how many softboxes you will be hanging will determine how much PVC you need to buy. You will need a length of at least double the diameter of the mounting ring opening, plus a little bit. This will prevent the pipe from slipping out as the softbox shifts on the hanger. In my case I bought pre cut lengths of pipe at two feet and cut them in half with a saw. 12" length is way too much but I was too lazy to cut them down. 8" to 10" is about average for any softbox.

PVC is easy to cut with any type of saw. If you have a PVC cutter feel free to use that. If you don't have a saw you can use a utility knife but it's a bit tough cutting so be very careful.

Once cut to length, drill a hole through the pipe in the exact center. Use a drill bit that will allow your cord, doubled over, to pass through. You don't need to make the hole so small you have to fight the cord through. It's not that critical.

When you have all your pipes cut to length and drilled out set them aside for later.

Cord hanger

The length of these hangers will be determined by what you plan on hanging them from. In my case I am hanging them on the side of a wire rack shelf so I didn't need anything too long. My finished size was roughly 20" clip to clip.

Tie a loop on one end of the cord and attach one of the small carabiners to it. You can use any type of hook of you don't have carabiners, or just leave a longer length to tie off to something. I suggest using a lighter to heat seal the cut ends of the paracord so it doesn't fray. You can look at the image below to see how I tied off on mine.

Measure out enough cord for your hanger plus some for the second loop. Tie off a second carabiner on the second end and heat seal it. You should now have a length of cord with two hooks on each end.

Make as many cords as you need softboxes to hang and set aside.

Putting it together


Take one of your finished cords and fold in half. Use a wire tie (or any scrap piece of wire) and hook it through the loop you just made in the cord (see image). Use the wire to help fish the cord through the hole you drilled in the center of the pipe. Pull through just enough to make a loose loop and set the wire tie aside. Loop the loose ends (clip ends) of the cord through the loop you just made and pull tight.

That's it. Hanger is made.

Clip (or tie off) the ends onto whatever you're planning on hanging your sofboxes from and you're good to go.

Hanging the softbox

To hang, insert the pipe through the back mounting ring hole of the softbox and rotate it until it catches against the inside of the ring. Let the softbox hang. Adjust the softbox on the hanger as needed.

To remove the softbox simply lift the softbox to relieve tension off the pipe. Reach inside the softbox through the side access panel and rotate the pipe out the hole.

Enjoy!

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