How to Install LED Strips – Easy DIY Project

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Table of Contents

Do you want to know how to install LED strips in the easiest possible way? Well, if yes, then you have come to the right place.

There’s no limit to what you can do with LED strips. And it’s easier than ever to install them! This tutorial will show you how.

Before we go even a step further and learn the whole process, let’s tell you something interesting. LED strips are cool DIY objects and it depends on your choice and how you want to set them.

There are different methods of installation and as mentioned earlier it depends on where you want to install them too. For the sake of simplicity let’s think of designing a study room with LED light strips.

Note: We assume you’ve already bought your LED strip before searching for how to install them. In case you haven’t, check out our little guide at the end.

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How to Install LED Strips

Here is a step-by-step guide to LED strip installation. We assure you that after reading this guide you will have no problems at all. 

But before moving to the installation part here are some tools and materials you’ll need for this cool DIY project.

Materials & Tools you’ll need:

  • Flexible LED strips/LED tape
  • Soldering Iron (Optional)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler/Measuring tape
  • Screwdrivers 
  • Electric drill
  • Double-sided tape 
  • Insulation tape 
  • Wire
  • Clips
  • Ties
  • Clean surface, preferably dark in color (tiles, cabinets, etc.)        
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Step 1: Choose the Right Location

The location where you want to install these LED strips must be clean and dark in color (preferably tiles). Clean surfaces make the process easier and look nicer too.  

  • Ceramic tiles
  • Smooth plastic surfaces.
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Marble
  • Wood
  • Vinyl

Surfaces to Avoid

  • Rough Plastic
  • Dusty Walls
  • Knitted Wool Fabrics
  • Rough Plastic Surfaces
  • White painted wall

Step 2: Planning the Layout

Planning the layout is very important for good results. If done right, your lighting project will look professional and pleasing.

For a study room, you need light over the table and on each side of the room. To do this we will use an L-shape design.

Start by measuring the width and height (length) of your surface. Also, make sure LED strips can fit in easily without any problem. 

If the installation of the place is not permeable to heat, it is recommended that the aluminum slot assists in heat dissipation.

If the installation place has requirements for the luminous angle, you can also choose a specific aluminum slot to change the direction and angle of light.

By fitting in easily we mean, most of the time let strips come with premade adhesive. However, it is possible that your Led strip doesn’t have any adhesive at all. Under such conditions, you need to use double tape or glue to install the lights.

Now if the layout isn’t perfect then you will face difficulty during the installation process. It is because sometimes your lights may not fit in properly or they may not stick well due to the surface.

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Step 3: Choose the Right Power Supply

Once you have confirmed the location where the light strip is to be installed. The next step is to choose the right power supply for the lights to work properly. 

Your power supply should always match the needs of your light strip in such a way that it can cover the power in its 80% output. 

For example, if the light strip is 80 watts then you will need to choose a 100-watt power supply for this job. 

Step 4: Installation of LED Strip (Main Part)

This is the main step and you should follow it carefully. As mentioned above you must select the right surface before the installation part.

Now there are two main ways to install the lights. One of them is to remove the backside sticker and use the adhesive to mount the strip on the wall.

You can use a ruler, measuring tape, or a pencil line as your guide to install the strip straight. While in the other case if the LED strip doesn’t have any adhesive then you need to use tape.

You can easily install the LED strip on the wall or around the table using double tape. All you need to do is to add a short piece of double tape and then stick the strip to it.

Also, pay attention to the order of arrangement of the light bar, make sure to avoid crossing the wires, which can cause short circuits, uneven brightness and other phenomena. Try to follow a certain order in order to line up.

if you encounter corners or other places that need to be cut, you can refer to our other (how to cut and connect the light strip) article.

Here’s a general guideline on how to install the LED strip

  • Remove the sticker from the tape on the backside of the LED strip 
  • Start applying the strip on the wall and make sure to avoid any wrinkles during the process
  • If the surface is not suitable for the tape or adhesive try not to install the strip directly but use mounting screws instead
  • Mark the place using a pencil and ruler and drill a hole for the screw
  • Place the LED strip light and gently add the screw to the hole using an electric drill. Make sure to prevent damaging the light
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Step 5: Stripping & Testing

Once you’ve started applying the LED strip, you might see that there’s not enough length to complete the L-shape. Sometimes you may have an excessive amount of strip and you need to cut the excess part.

In such cases, cut off the excess and solder them together. (Scully, 1969)

However, if you need more strips to fulfill the length then you will need to connect another piece. You can read our complete guide on cutting and joining LED strips here.

We highly recommend using a connection clip and avoid the soldering process. It is because the soldering process may be difficult for newbies. Apart from that non-technical people will also face a lot of difficulties.

Whether you join new pieces or cut an excessive amount you need to constantly test the whole strip. You can test it by simply powering the LED and see if they are glowing or not. 

Step 6: Tidy Up!

To tidy up use some sticky fixer or double-sided tape. This will keep the LED strip fixed on the surface of your choice. The surface should not be covered with stains and other objects as far as possible. They could adversely affect the final lighting effect.

After installing the strip the last step is to check if the LED is working fine or not. You can directly power the lights and observe the light condition in the room. 

Modern LED strips are IOT based and they are mostly connected with software. These softwares can act as dimmers as well as light controllers. You can set different colors, blinking conditions as well as moods of the lights. 

If you are a professional light-box or advertising signage user then it is recommended that you use software to simulate the installation. Use of the light bar and continuous adjustment can achieve very satisfactory results for customers. The amount of light bar is also more reasonable, has better cost performance, and improves customer experience.

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Precautions

People mount LED strips on the wall. Sometimes you will have to install them on different surfaces and it is possible that they can come in contact with water. Under such conditions, you will need to get waterproof strips.

However, you will need to be more careful when installing waterproof LED strips. It is because you will have to properly secure the wires to prevent short circuits and damaging the whole strip.

If it is a waterproof series of light bars, we should pay attention to the power connection. This will ensure a good job of waterproof treatment. There are two things you can do: 

A: Placed the strips in a dry place to connect the power 

B: Connect the light bar with a waterproof wire and power it. 

This time 3M tape can not be used, you need to use the snap to fix the installation. The main tool needed is an electric drill.

So by now, the installation of the light bar is done and we hope that you’ve learned the basic method of LED strip installation. Let’s take a look at some common issues. 

Are LED strip lights easy to install?

Well, yes. This is one of the most commonly asked questions by beginners. And to answer this, YES they are! You can DIY LED strip installation at home easily and effectively. The next question you might ask is how long it takes to install LED strips.

The answer to that is it depends on how skilled you are in doing such projects at your home. But according to us, it’s a matter of an hour or two.

What is the best adhesive tape to use on installed LED strips?

As we’ve already told you earlier, it depends on the surface you’re putting them on. In some cases, the double-sided sticky tape will do just fine while for others you might need adhesive tapes with extra strength.

We’ve noticed that marble tiles and glass surfaces work best with double-sided sticky tapes. For cabinets and other painted surfaces, you can use adhesive tapes.

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Where LED strips should be placed in a room?

Most people put LED strips under cabinets or shelves. Doing this will give you uniform lighting across the entire surface. Also, they’re mostly used for backlighting purposes with professional setups.

However, when it comes to designing a study room, it is best to install them around the table. Make sure you select some light colors that look soothing as they will help you focus on your studies more. Avoid RGB light strips for study rooms because it may be distracting sometimes. (Scully, 1969)

How do you keep LED strips from falling off?

You can use sticky fixers or double-sided tape to keep them in place. Make sure the surface is dry and clean before you start applying adhesive tapes.

Also, consider using some LED strip lights for corners as these are hard to reach sometimes!

Why won’t my LED light strips stick?

A very common problem that most beginners face while installing the LED strips is unsticking. It can be a very frustrating experience especially when you are new to DIY room decor. However, as we mentioned earlier some surfaces won’t accept the strip.

These surfaces include rough plastic, roughly textured walls, and knitted woolen fabrics, etc. However, if you are not able to stick your lights to the wall then you must check the adhesive. (Eugen, et al., 2021)

If your LED strip has built-in tape then there is a high chance that the adhesive will be gone. However, you shouldn’t panic even under such conditions. Why? it is because there are alternative methods such as using double tape, adhesive, or glue to stick them.

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Last Minute Thoughts

We hope after reading this guide you have learned how to install LED strips. Apart from that, we’ve also mentioned answered some basic questions that most people may have in their minds.

Well, the best way to install the LED strips is to clean the surface first. It will help the adhesive of the lights to stick properly. Besides that, it will also give a better look when you turn on the lights.

One more thing that we almost forgot to mention is the selection of light colors. It is very important because it can determine the overall look of your room. You should try to select one that matches the ambiance of your room perfectly to make it look great!

Sources 

  1. Myledy. (2021, May 14). Can LED Strip Lights Catch Fire? Retrieved from https://www.myledy.com/can-led-strip-lights-catch-fire/
  2. Scully, T. (1969, March 01). 7 Things to Know Before Buying and Installing 12V LED Strip Lights. Retrieved September 26, 2021, from https://www.ledsupply.com/blog/7-tips-before-installing-led-strip-lights/
  3. (2020, December 07). Retrieved September 27, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uP1YC7XiZRs
  4. Eugen, Chayma, Tarik, Bonnie, Taylor, Byers, J., . . . Ammitzboll, J. (2021, July 02). Do LED Light Strips Damage Walls? – LED & Lighting Info. Retrieved from https://ledlightinginfo.com/do-led-light-strips-damage-walls
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