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Like many North American woodworkers, my shop is located in our two-car garage underneath the house. Most garages include two ceiling-mount bulb fixtures that accept a regular light bulb. While it’s possible to hire an electrician to add additional light fixtures, there’s another way to increase the brightness of the space. LED light fixtures, which have become increasingly popular, offer a new type of bulb that has entered the market. These bulbs feature 3, 4, or 5 fold-out panels with LED lights. However, the direct light intensity of these powerful LED lamps can be bothersome to the eyes. To overcome this issue, I devised a lightweight and easy-to-install structure that acts as a diffuser for the direct light emitted by the LED bulb.

I used a found faux wooden muntin grill from a glass door to create the diffuser, but you can also make a dedicated lightweight frame. I chose to use mylar, a synthetic, plastic-based drafting “paper,” to diffuse the light. Mylar can be purchased at art supply stores, and it is lightweight and easy to clean with a damp cloth. For suspending the frame, I utilized dowels. I installed a steel nail at the tip of each dowel, and on the ceiling, I anchored neodymium magnets. This allowed me to connect the frame to the ceiling and easily detach it for cleaning if necessary, ensuring the mylar remains debris and bug-free.

The found faux wooden muntin grill

Here are some images illustrating the process:

I used repurposed steel nail-like fasteners and glued them into holes I drilled into the dowels.

I used thick steel washers from a Lee Valley set and anchored them to the ceiling. To ensure that the hanging screw is flush with the disk’s surface, I countersunk it.

I then introduced a strong rare earth magnet to the disk.

To suspend the wooden grill under the ceiling, I used dowels. I drilled holes in the grill and inserted the dowels into them.

To prevent the mylar membrane from sagging, I folded its brims to create a box-like diffuser.

Here are some other simple designs for a diffuser frame.

By following this method, you can enhance the lighting in your garage shop while reducing the direct light intensity and its impact on your eyes. This upgrade provides a more comfortable and practical workspace for your woodworking projects.

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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