3 inventive lighting projects using LED strips

LED strips. Incredibly useful if you know what you're
going to do with them. Chances are though you'll buy some and end
up just sticking them to a wall or something which would be a bit boring and that's a shame
as you can be really quite creative with what you do with them. So in this video we're going to be making
3 unique lighting projects using, you guessed it, LED strips. Let's get to it. The first project is particularly awesome
looking, yet is also incredibly useful, and you'll see why as the design comes together. So the first thing we'll need is a thin sheet
of aluminium from which we can cut two long thin lengths. The easiest way to do this is by scoring groves
in the aluminium with a craft knife and then bending them repeatedly until they break free.

Once you've got two of them they can be joined
together using a spare piece of aluminium with some screws and nuts. With that done we now need to start working
on the wiring for the LED strip lights. As we want to be able to adjust their brightness,
we need a little dimmer circuit. This needs to have a power jack soldered to
its input terminals, and two loose wires soldered to its output terminals, which will be connected
to the LEDs later. We're now going to set this into cement, so
to prevent cement and moisture getting to anything important we can use some blue tack
to shield the power socket solder tabs, and then some electrical tape around the dimmer
itself. They can now be mounted inside a little plastic
mould of some kind – I used an old business card holder. The power socket needs to be securely stuck
to the side with some more blue tack so that it will be accessible later.

So now it's time to have some fun as we can
now mix up some cement and gloop it into the plastic mould, making sure it surrounds the
electronics completely. The aluminium strip can also be inserted,
and as you can see I added some screws to its end to give it more grip so that it won't
pull out later once the cement as set.

To finish it off we plop on a few small pebbles
to give it some more interest. The same can be done to the other end of the
aluminium, only this time without any electronics. Again, we can add a few pebbles on top for
visual effect. Once the cement has set, we can pull the moulds
off and as you can see we've got some pretty snazzy looking weighted feet. All we need to do now is pup off the blue
tack that we used on the power socket, and use some superglue to attach some rubber pads
to the bottom to give it some grip. As you can see, it's taking shape and is starting
to look very special indeed. I left the protective film in place until
this point simply to prevent fingerprints, as having it fingerprint free will allow the
LEDs to stick to it more reliably. I'm using a brand that has good colour quality,
and looks like daylight.

Now just a quick warning about LED strips
and that's DON'T GET CHEAP ONES. Cheap ones tend to get dimmer over time and
have abysmal colour quality so just spend a little extra and get some decent ones. I've discovered these ones recently and they're
pretty good – links in the description, CRI of 90+, so pretty decent for the price. So again, just avoid cheap ones and get something
that's a lot better. Once they're fully stuck down they can be
soldered to the output wires of the dimmer. I used a multimeter to check the polarity,
but if you don't have one just use trial and error and swap them around if the LEDs don't
light up. One final touch is to add some finishing oil
to the pebbles – this gives them a glossy appearance, as if they're still wet straight
from the beach. Looking good! So now a 12v power adapter can be connected
to the power socket, and the brightness can be adjusted using the dimmer.

As you can see, it looks incredibly awesome,
almost like something out of Star Trek… but, what is it exactly? Well, put simply, it's a work light. As the LED lights surround whatever is underneath
them, they illuminate everything with a soft almost shadow-less light that is easy on the
eyes yet provides absolutely fantastic visibility. Pretty useful for homework, tinkering with
electronics, sketching drawings, or even sewing. You get the picture. Excellent visibility from a single power efficient
and cool looking device. Keeping with the modern si-fi lighting scheme
going on here, it's time to start on the next project. Again, we'll need some aluminium for this…

I know, I know, but while I do admittedly
like working with aluminium, there is a practical reason for using it so much in these projects
because it wicks heat away from the LED strips mounted to it, keeping them cool and increasing
their lifespan significantly. Just as before, I got my pieces from a larger
sheet, using the knife and bend technique to trim them down to size. Now we need some lengths of angled aluminium,
from which we need to cut off two smaller pieces. These need to then have a variety of holes
made through them, which will be for mounting the aluminium angles to the aluminium sheet,
as well as providing space for two power sockets, and an on/off switch. The power sockets can be wired up in parallel,
as there are two of them simply for daisy chaining multiple lights together if desired,
and then the on/off switch can also be added to the circuit. I'm using a toggle switch for a nice tactile
feel. We can now use some PCB standoff pillars and
accompanying screws to mount them both to the aluminium sheet – one at the top, and
the other at the bottom.

As you can see, I've threaded the power wires
through some holes to the front, so we're again ready to add the LEDs. We want two short lengths of these, so cut
them down to an appropriate size and solder them together in parallel. Before mounting them I added some electrical
tape underneath at the top and bottom of the aluminium. This shouldn't strictly be necessary, as you
may have observed in the previous project, but it is good practice in order to prevent
short circuits with the aluminium.

Now technically this could be just plugged
in and the LEDs would light up… but would look pretty boring and having a direct unobstructed
view of the LEDs would be very uncomfortable on your eyes, as these strips tend to be very
harsh and glaring to look at. This isn't as much of a problem on the work
light project because the LEDs face downwards, but this time we need to do something about
it. So, this is where this project's special trick
comes in, for which we'll need two clear a4 acetate sheets. These are super cheap, and you can find some
links to them in the description.

Now, we're going to use these to diffuse the
light, and to make them suitable for this purpose we need to spend a lot of elbow grease
sanding them down on both sides to make them super frosted. It takes quite a while to get them to this
point, but it's worth it for such a good finish. We can now fold over the edges of these sheets
and glue them to the aluminium like so, with one closer, and the other further out to make
a gap between them. Once dried the light is complete, and it looks
significantly more interesting now that the diffusion sheets have been added.

As there's a hole on the back of each piece
of aluminium angle, they can be hung onto a wall either vertically, or horizontally. Now for the grand switch on – again using
a 12v power adapter. As you can see, the diffusion sheets do a
fantastic job at softening the light and making it much easier on the eyes, while making the
whole thing look quite modern as well. You can even daisy chain more than one together,
like I mentioned earlier, to provide illumination to an entire room.

Right, now it's time for the third and final
project, and this one is very unusual, and should be extremely practical for home lighting. I'm pretty excited about it. So for this one we'll first need a length
of aluminium tubing, and after clamping it in a workbench we can use a bolt to thread
it for mounting later. Now it can be trimmed down to roughly 11cm,
and a hole drilled through the end furthest from the thread we just made. After we've got four of these short rods,
we can now get a long length of angled aluminium and drill some holes at each end through which
we can mount these rods in place.

After making two of these, we now need to
get some tin foil and bunch it up to make tiny ridges and crevices. I'm using gloves here so that I don't accidentally
make a hole with a fingernail, as it's quite fragile, and to also prevent natural oils
from being left behind on the foil as it needs to be glued down in just a moment and, like
I mentioned before, oil can harm adhesion. So now we need to get a large sheet of cardboard,
onto which we can use some spray mount glue to attach the foil in place. Try not to press down too hard as it's important
to keep the rough texture that we've given the foil, so we want to avoid smoothing it
out. Once the whole card has been covered you should
have something that looks like this, and the two aluminium angles can now be clamped to
it on each side using some nuts and bolts.

Now we need some more lengths of angled aluminium,
and as you can see they need to have two small holes at each end. Now some LED strips can be stuck down along
one side like so. Again, I'm using some good quality strips
as cheaper ones just aren't worth using. We can now grab some electrical wire, and
thread it through the holes we made in the rods and also through the holes on the aluminium
bars. Once they are pulled tight, we can use some
hot glue to hold it all in place. Any excess can be trimmed off at the top,
but we need to leave a length at the bottom to hook them up to a power source later. To prevent the bars from slipping, add a little
bit of hot glue under each as well. Now we can expose the conductor inside the
wire by carefully trimming off a bit of the insulation, and bridge it to the LED strips
using a short piece of wire.

Each of these long supporting wires will have
its own polarity, so one can be soldered to all the negative pads on the LED strips, and
the other can be soldered to all the positive pads. Once that's done, each of the long wires at
the bottom of the light, which we didn't trim down, can be routed to a longer power cord,
which can have a power connector added to the other end. I added some holes to the sides earlier, so
mounting it is just a case of hooking it onto two nails. So, you'll probably agree that it doesn't
look particularly amazing or anything whilst it's turned off, but don't let that fool you. It is quite special and solves one of the
biggest problems that plague LED strips, which is the glare they produce. So, after hooking it up to a powerful power
source – it draws more than the others because a full 5m length of strips was used – you
can see that it looks actually quite striking now, and the light emitted from it is incredibly
soft and diffused, allowing you to comfortably gaze at it directly.

This is because the tin foil scatters the
light in many different directions, and as the surface area is very large it illuminates
the room very nicely. This method is more effective at softening
the light than the wall light project, making it shallower, and also requires much less
effort for a larger surface area compared to sanding down many pieces of acetate. In fact, the light emitted by this is shockingly
close to that of a window, which would be very useful during the short days of winter
if you want to keep that summer vibe. So there we have it. 3 Unique but very useful lighting projects
made out of LED strips. Before I sign off you might be wondering what
that thing is on the wall and that's the previous project. It's an RGB (colour changing) crystal tower
light – it's pretty cool and I'll link it down below if you're interested as it's a
decent one. Right so other than that I hope you've enjoyed
this video and if you have don't forget to subscribe and maybe share this video with
your friends. Other than that, I'm Matt, you've been watching
DIY Perks, and I really hope I see you next time.

Good bye for now! Don't forget you can find links to the specific
LEDs that I used in the description. They're available in different colour temperatures,
and all have CRI ratings of 90 or above, which I verified myself with a spectrophotometer. Also if you'd like to see another LED related
video, then why not check out this one, which is a guide on how to make a super bright watercooled
LED spotlight. I use this in my studio all the time while
I'm filming, so it is again something that's very useful in the real world..

As found on YouTube

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