This was an incredible year for for DIY photography projects. As the year comes to a close, we look back at some of the best projects that you can you can make with just a few trips to the hardware store and perhaps a few odds and ends that you have lying around the house.

A Simple Product Background

One of the most inexpensive projects may be sitting in your kitchen right now; it may even be preserving your holiday leftovers in your fridge. Simple aluminum foil can make an interesting background that will give your product shot a little something extra – just make sure you use a clean sheet. Read the article here.

Tony Northrup’s DIY Ringlight

Ringlights can be made from anything such as frisbees or fan guards. The DIY ringlight from Tony Northrup more than illuminates the model’s face and it creates a starburst catchlight. It also won him the front page of 500px. The project will run you about $60 and $35 for each light.

Film Riot’s DIY Light Bar

For something a little more simple, Film Riot has a project that will make your films more interesting. A constant light source can work just as good if not better than some speed lights. Photographers are being asked to do more and more video work these days with the added video capabilities on DSLRs and Mirrorless offerings, so this project is definitely worth a look.

Shower Curtain Diffuser

That bare bulb look can be good for some projects, but sometimes, you need a softer touch. A simple frosted shower curtain can soften up the light to get better skin tone and remove harsh shadows and even better, it will only cost you about $5.

Von Wong’s DIY Rain Machine

Benjamin Von Wong’s photos are never short of stunning. During a photoshoot for Smugmug, he used a simple $20 PVC rig for a rain machine. The rig helped create epic portraits.

Egg Timer Panoramic Timelapse

CNET lists simple 3 DIY projects that you can do at home. One easy project involves an egg timer to create panoramic timelapses. This projects can be used by iPhone photographers and professionals alike and requires only a little work to pull off.

The Best DIY Beauty Dish

This happens to be one of the DIY projects that I tacked this year. The project is a bit time consuming, but Todd Owyoung’s beauty dish gives impressive results that speaks for itself.

An Elegant DIY Rhino Slider

In under 3 hours and for $75, you can have a simple elegant slider that yields impressive results and save your hide if you ever forget your gear. Rhino not only provides a video, but a how-to PDF to follow along.

DIY projects might be the furthest thing from you mind after all the food, family and merriment of the season. Keep this list in mind for the “better your photography” New Year’s resolution and be sure to bookmark this article so you can come back for some rainy day ideas.