How to Create Portable V-Flats That Will Fit in Your Car for Less Than $100

The elusive v-flat. Once you know what a v-flat is, the next question is always: “where do I get them?” For years, photographers were sent on scavenger hunts looking for 4X8’ sheets of foam, sheets so large, truck rental was required. They were anything but portable. Until now.

Photographers Bruce Allen and Tina Leu have done a great job explaining how to create a portable v-flat that will fit in the backseat of your car. There is a premade version of portable v-flats that can be ordered via V-flat World. But, if you don’t want to drop $195 each at V-flat World and are willing to get a little crafty, these will set you back around $75 for two.

What you'll need:

  • 8 32x40" foam boards. Local art stores should carry 32x40" foam boards, but you can also find them at B&H.
  • Photo mount spray
  • Gaffers tape. If you're not familiar with gaffers tape, don't use another type. Try this and thank me later. You will use it on everything. Gaffers tape is amazing and will change your life. 
  • Box cutter or scissors
  • Velcro strips
  • Clamps
  • Cardboard to protect the foam
  • Plastic drop cloth

I plan on making these, as I need a portable option. If you give it a try, I'd love to know.

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27 Comments

Johnny Rico's picture

I quite love what you are doing showing how $200 for a single, non full size V-Flat is a joke. But in all my years, never once have I felt the need to use spray adhesive on gaffers tape..

Gaffer Tape + Spray = Duct Tape???

Kelly Lane's picture

haha touché. Maybe the Spray isn't needed?

Bruce Allen's picture

You know this part was weird to me too. But i gotta say those hinges are still working great to this day!
I did end up taking one apart to use for something else. And put it back with duck tape. Doesn't look as cool or fold as neatly. But does the job.

Tina Leu's picture

The spray mount idea actually (and a lot of the principles) came from Felix Kunze's v-flat video. I used this method on my 4x8 v-flats I have in my home studio and they are holding up like champs. It's just reinforcement.

I don't doubt the durability. If I was making these to leave together, Duct Tape (also available in white or silver) would do the same job without the mess of the spray. That's all I was thinking of.

I'm also assuming you can make these double-sided - white on one side and black on the reverse? I'll have to try it as I have some material kicking around.

Well, it's a quite nice and useful idea, but next time please do it in a 3 minute video

Bruce Allen's picture

Def ran across my mind but its not my style.

Ryan Stone's picture

Couldn’t get past the part where he says unpractical. I’m sure the girl with the fedora can at least speak.

Bruce Allen's picture

Unpractical is practically a word. lol

Musing Eye's picture

It's a perfectly cromulent word.

Nice! But they forgot the last step...spray/paint one side black.

Bruce Allen's picture

Thats always an option!

Tina Leu's picture

That is def an option. Ideally we would have had black/white-side boards available for purchase at our crafts store.

John MacLean's picture

I just found this hinge method too. https://youtu.be/s0UJqhtXHrk

Bruce Allen's picture

Thanks for the repost Kelly! This was a fun video too make.

Kelly Lane's picture

I appreciate the video and hope others find it helpful!

Tina Leu's picture

Thanks Kelly! Appreciate you sharing and can't wait to hear how yours turned out!

Stuart Smith's picture

A useful idea but what a terrible video (out of focus, jerky camera work) and since when is cool to attack someone else’s work in your how to video.

If anyone is watching skip all the self congratulating and disrespecting of others at the beginning and go to about 6 minutes in.

Could have been presented in a 3 minute short.

Bruce Allen's picture

speaking of attacking someones work...lol
Ill remember this for my next martin scorsese directed 15 minute instructional video <3.

Stuart Smith's picture

The central concept you were presenting was useful. And if you had put the effort into that you wouldn’t have needed to be a jerk to the other persons work. It was small minded of you and disappointing that you chose to act in a nasty way.

As for the technical critique, it is a poorly produced film. Lots of out of focus stuff and jerky motion entirely unsuitable for a ‘how to’.

But hey you’ve got the hits and views so clearly nastiness and poor quality work counts for something!

Leigh Smith's picture

Says the guy with the fedora :P

Stuart Smith's picture

It’s actually a Trilby but I wouldn’t expect someone like you to understand the difference.

Nick Viton's picture

Just made one! It took a while though, I'll have to make the second one some other time.
Can't wait to use them! Thanks for the video.

Kelly Lane's picture

Awesome! I ordered everything online and once it gets here I am going to try it out. I will say I am questioning putting gaffer tape around all the edges. That seems like it takes the longest amount of time to do and not sure if it's necessary. Although I am sure it helps prolong the life of the edges. I did buy 32x40 black matboard to try and adhere to one side with the mounting spray to see if I can make a flat with a white and black side.