Tactical Handyman: “Scotch” Tape Light Diffuser

This may be the simplest Tactical Handyman DIY post yet but it is a pretty handy trick. I am going to show you how to do something that you already have around the house, transparent “Scotch” tape, to enhance the functionality of your flashlight.

Many LED flashlights today have beams that are too narrow for certain tasks. Sometimes it is more important to have a diffused light that lights abroad area. A narrow beam is great for illuminating objects in the distance but not as helpful if you are trying to look at a map right in front of your face or do a task at arms length like reassembling a rifle in the field. Fortunately, you don’t have to buy a new light to get a wider beam profile. All you need is a bit of tape (not duct tape, surprisingly).

Here is what you will need:

  1. A thin bladed knife with a fine point
  2. Transparent tape with a frosted finish aka “Scotch” tape


The procedure for applying the tape is simple. Apply some tape to the lens of the flashlight then carefully trim the tape to size with your knife. That’s it.

It is extremely easy, but there are some cautions to keep in mind:

  • Many lights have plastic lenses, so use a very light hand when trimming the tape to avoid scratching the lens.
  • Use quality tape. Cheap tape will leave more residue and will lose its stickiness over time.
  • You may also want to change the tape every once in a while. Some tapes can become tacky or brittle over time.
  • I wouldn’t try this on weapon lights that are mounted near the muzzle. The tape can melt so I would hate to see what hot gasses coming from the muzzle would do to it.

If you want to retain some of your light’s throw, you can cover just a portion of the lens with tape. This will diffuse part of the beam but leave the rest of the beam untouched. You can also try layering the tape to diffuse the beam even more but keep in mind that you are losing output with each layer.

Next time you are frustrated with the narrow beam of your flashlight, try this quick and dirty trick to diffuse your light. It is a really only a temporary fix, but it works. Try it.


One Response to Tactical Handyman: “Scotch” Tape Light Diffuser

  1. Dan November 18, 2011 at 22:35 #

    Cool idea Matt. I’ll give this a try!

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