Resource links courtesy of Mayumi Lake, Associate Director of Photography Facilities and Senior Lecturer in Photography.
[Click the links in the list below to navigate this guidance.]
Any light can be your light source! The sun, household lamps, phone light, etc. If you do want to get more controlled light sources, consider basic clamp or work lights. Something like these clamp lights available through Amazon or Home Depot, or these work lights from Home Depot could do the trick.
There are a few ways to address this in your home environment. The easiest may be white & black form cores, which you can get from any store besides art stores (including office sections in local grocery stores). Alternatively, you can even just use white paper or black paper clipped to cardboard.
Here are some other DIY options:
There are a lot of household items that can be used for diffusers! Such as:
"Used" dryer sheet
Parchment sheet (portion of parchment paper commonly used for baking)
Empty picture frames + white bed sheets
White kitchen trash bags/liners in cardboard frames
Check out How to make a DIY Light Grid or Egg Crate for under $5 dollars on YouTube for step-by-step instructions for paper grid alternatives.
You can create light paintings using an LED flashlight (Mayumi notes: “I use around 1000 lumens ones, but you can get more powerful ones depending on subject size”). An example of this flashlight can be found on Amazon. Check out Masterclass’ Complete Guide to Light Painting Photography for a full tutorial on creating light paintings. To see examples and see some of the community, check out Light Painting Photography’s Links page and YouTube channel.
Consider these DIY options for alternatives:
You can use Tabletop Plexiglass as an alternative lighting cover (and there are several textures and sizes available). See this example from Home Depot.