It takes longer, but if you don’t have a power tool you don’t have to buy one. Now you can use your first reflector to mark all your other reflector bowls. I made mine in a batch, which significantly cut production time. For my reflectors I needed a piece of pipe 2-1/4 inches long. Your length will vary based on your light fixture and how you attach it (some examples on mounting are included later).
Keep in mind you are trying to put the bulb below the rim of the reflector (see pictures). I cut the PVC with a power miter saw, but it can be done easily with a hacksaw if you are careful. You can make a flexible ruler from the factory cut edge of a file folder. Wrap it around the pipe as shown and draw the line. Sand and smooth the edges of the pipe with fine sandpaper. If you plan on painting the reflector for a more professional look, lightly sand the outside of the pipe and the outside of the bowl until the finish is no longer shiny. If you intend on painting the inside of your reflector white for a more diffused light, sand it also.
I skipped it because the bulbs diffuser coating seemed to be diffusing the light well. Use your utility knife to score the inside of the knockout cap. Place it on something solid and hit the center with the hammer until it breaks lose. Break off all the pieces and smooth the edges with your utility knife, file, or sandpaper. To secure the reflector drill two or three holes slightly smaller than your screws, spacing them evenly around the top of the PVC pipe and cap. PVC is soft, so the screws should bite into the material and hold the reflector firmly. You could also use PVC cement to lock the pieces together permanently. If decide to go that route, glue everything together just prior to painting. I used screws to make it easier to replace the reflector if I needed to, and since I didn't have PVC cement the screws were cheaper. At this point the reflector just needs a knockout cap to connect to. How you mount the reflector depends on your choice of electrical sockets. Here is one idea that provides great flexibility and fits a wide variety of sockets. Making the socket holder: Take your second knockout cap and locate its center. If you don't have access to a drill, scribe a hole 1-1/8 in diameter and cut it out with a utility knife. Align your conduit hanger in the middle of the cap as shown. Caps vary, so you may need to trim the tab to get the hanger centered. Clean everything to remove any oil or debris before applying epoxy. Following the instructions on the epoxy package, epoxy the screws to the metal conduit hanger. Note: The screws provide a mechanical connection between the clamp and cap. I have had mixed results with epoxy alone, it doesn't seem to stick to PVC well. I like to make my DIY projects look similar to professional products. I also find that if I take the time to make something look nice, I value it more, I treat it better, and it lasts longer. Disassemble and clean the reflector thoroughly with alcohol or mild detergent and let it dry completely. Any moisture trapped in joints will ruin your paint! Paint the back with at least two thin coats of black "Truck bed coating" (Not 'Undercoating') and allow to dry (I usually give it a couple of days to fully harden).
This gives you a durable non-slip textured surface similar to professional photographic equipment. It is less durable but it gives you a smoother finish. Optionally, paint the inside of the reflector flat white to create a more soft diffused light. There you have it, a professional looking CFL reflector for around $3 each. They probably aren't optimized for maximum reflection, but you certainly can't beat the price! Step 14: Blooper Reel: AKA Things I Tried and Rejected. The bulbs fit, but the pipe doesn't allow any air to circulate around the base. The base on some bulbs get hot, and I was worried about melting the plastic and shortening the life of the bulb.
The smaller diameter of the 2 Inch PVC also made mounting the plug adapter version more difficult than it needed to be. I couldn't figure out how to secure well enough without spending a lot of time cutting slots.