DIY Color Changing Raw Wood LED Shelf





Introduction: DIY Color Changing Raw Wood LED Shelf

About: Hello and welcome! My name is Austin. I enjoy creating interesting projects and sharing my projects and ideas with all of you. Please feel free to check out my Youtube channel:

In this Instructable I will be showing you step-by-step how to make this beautiful one of a kind color changing raw wood LED shelf. This project was a lot of fun to make and I am very happy with the finished product. Overall this project won't cost you too much money and you can even use some recycled materials for this build. You may even have some of the materials laying around your shop/workplace. The shelf is controlled by an IR remote and it an be changed to any color that you like!

Before you go through the rest of the steps for this project, you should definitely watch the video that I have posted below. The video will show you plenty of clips of my building the shelf from start to finish. Also, if you enjoy the video you should definitely hit the like button or even consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. Most importantly don't forget to follow me here on my Instructables page so that you can see all of my future projects!

Let's get started with this project!

Step 1: Parts List!

Parts and Materials:

- Two equally sized pieces of wood of your choice

- IR Remote Controlled LED Strip

- 5 mm thick acrylic sheet

- 1" x 4" black steel nipple (x4)

- 1" black iron 90 degree elbow (x2)

- 1" black iron threaded floor flange (x4)

- All purpose cement

- Paint

- Wood stain

- Varnish

- Hardware

- Vinegar

- Hot glue


The bottom piece off wood that I used for my shelf is rough cut piece of silver birch and the top piece of wood is pine. I purchased the silver birch as well as the acrylic sheet from a local second hand construction supply store. I bought the pine from the hardware store and it came in 4' in length and 10" in depth.

The paint that I used for the pipe was "Krylon - Oil Rubbed Bronze" and the wood stain is "218 puritan pine".

Step 2: Squaring/Planing the Silver Birch

Now because the silver birch that I purchased was so rough and not flat on either side I had to do a bit of shaping up. I started by cutting each end flat making it 41" in length and cutting along the back side so that it would be able to sit flat against the wall. The only thing that I did to the front side was remove that bark because it was falling off. The reason I bought this piece of wood was because of the wavy raw edge on the front side. This is what will make the shelf look so unique.

In order the make the wood flat on the top and bottom side I had to run the wood through the planer multiple times. If you don't have a planer you can get around this step by purchasing a unique looking piece of wood from a local wood shop that has already been planed. It may just cost you a little more extra money.

Step 3: Preparing the Pine

Now that the silver birch has been cut to size we will need to cut the pine to match it. I started by cutting the pine to the same length as the silver birch (41"). The LED strip as well as the acrylic will need to be inserted between the two pieces of wood. It is very important the the acrylic that you decide to use is thicker than the LED's so they aren't pressing up against the wood.

In order to make a perfect groove for the LED's and the acrylic I set up my router so the bit could only cut 5 mm deep and cut 1.5" into each side and 2" into the front side. After that I traced to shape of the silver birch onto the pine and roughly cut out the shape using the band saw.

Step 4: Cutting/Gluing the Acrylic

Surprisingly you do not need a lot of acrylic for this project. So there is no need to go out and buy a large sheet of it! I did not have much of it to work with so I cut it into strips that were just over 1 cm in width with the exception of one curved piece. I then sanded the the side that will be glued onto the pine so that the glue would adhere better. I used "Lepage - Heavy Duty Contact Cement" to glue the pieces of acrylic to the pine and clamped it to dry overnight.

The acrylic SHOULD NOT get glued to the silver birch.

Step 5: Smoothing Out the Edges

The next day once the glue was dry I removed the clamps to make sure that the acrylic was stuck nice and secure. I will be using 6 screws to fasten the two pieces of wood together. In order to hide the screw heads I will be using plugs. To prepare for this I drilled half way into the pine using a 3/8" forstner bit and then drilled the rest of the way through with a much smaller drill bit. When you are drilling these holes it is important that you don't drill anywhere into the groove that was made for the LED's.

After the holes were made I screwed the two boards together and then smoothed out the edges with a belt sander starting with heavy grit sand paper. I made sure not to sand any of the rough edge on the silver birch.

Step 6: Adding the IR Receiver

The LED strip lights come with a remote that is used to change the color/dim the lights. This remote sends a signal to the supplied receiver, which will need to be hidden somewhere inside of the shelf. To make room for this receiver I used my router to cut a hole almost all of the way through the silver birch. I then cut a groove for the receiver into the pine that was thick enough for the white wires. The one wire connects to the LED strips and the other has the IR LED on the end. The IR LED needs to be somewhere on the outside of the shelf in order to receive the signal from the remote so I carved out a small hole onto into the front of the pine.

A hole will also need to be drilled into the back of the shelf for the power cable.

Step 7: Installing the LED's

After making room for the IR receiver it can be screwed into place and then the LED strips can be installed. I put two strips along the front and one strip on each side. You will most likely need to add some extra wire in order to make all of the connections. When soldering the strips together make sure to double check all of your connections and test the lights to made sure they work once you are finished.

Step 8: Cleaning and Painting the Pipes

If you have never worked with black pipe before you may not know that this stuff is filthy and it will make your hands black once you start working with it. I am going to give my pipe a coat of paint in order to give it a nicer look. In order for the paint to stick to the pipe it will need to be cleaned off before it gets painted. Pure white vinegar works perfectly for this. I poured some into a bin and scrubbed all of the pieces with a cloth. Once they were dry I assembled the pieces as shown in the pictures and then gave them a couple coats of paint.

Step 9: Staining/Varnishing and Making the Plugs

The shelf is now getting close to being complete. A coat of stain can be added followed by a few coats of varnish after that. To make the plugs I used a 3/8" plug cutting bit on one of the scrap pieces of pine. After the shelf was dry I screwed it together and then pushed the plugs into the holes. I purposely did not glue the plugs just in case some of the LED's burned out in the future and needed to be replaced. This way it would be easy to open up.

A cotton swab works perfectly to stain the plugs once they are in place!

Step 10: Finishing Up!

All that's left to do is add the pipes to the shelf and then fasten it to the wall! This shelf is very heavy so I highly recommend that you use a stud finder and fasten it directly to the studs. I measured the distance between the studs before I fastened the pipes to the shelf and spaced them accordingly.

I also highly recommend that you hide the power wire behind the wall if you are going to hang this shelf up in your house. This will make it look a lot cleaner in the end and when it is turned off your guests would never guess that the shelf could light up.

The power cable comes very short so I extended mine buy cutting the wire off of an old AC adapter and soldering it in the middle of the cable.

I hope that you all enjoyed this Instructable! Don't for get to follow me here on Instructables and to Subscribe to my YouTube channel! Thanks for reading and watching :)

Green Electronics Contest 2016

First Prize in the
Green Electronics Contest 2016

Make it Glow Contest 2016

Second Prize in the
Make it Glow Contest 2016

Shelving Contest 2016

Grand Prize in the
Shelving Contest 2016



    • Water Contest

      Water Contest
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      Creative Misuse Contest
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      Clocks Contest

    35 Discussions

    I'm glad you won contests with this one. Congrats!

    I like the hybridization of rustic and futuristic styles!

    Great idea, so clean yet still rustic. Also, your details and instructions are perfect

    Awesome, I think I would not use pipe, and make it a floating shelf.

    This is pretty cool and gave me some good ideas, thanks for sharing and great details.


    1 year ago

    Is there a way if you want multiple shelves to have them all be on the same controller? I would love to do this but I need probably 5-6 shelves and would like to not have 5-6 controllers to turn them all on

    3 replies

    I've heard of people requesting sets that have matching control frequencies, maybe double check with the seller to see if there is any difference between their sets.

    Usually the control algorithm is the same, so if you take two controllers you can control both with the same remote (but they won't be synchronized when you start an animation)

    Search for signal extender, or rgb led amplifer.

    Great project! Thanks for sharing.


    1 year ago

    Great work! And I'm going to make this for my bathrooms, but without the pipes.

    Would look nicer if I can manage to get two (adjoining) wood planks cut from the same tree. They are easier to find around my place (Colombo, Sri Lanka). It would give the same texture on both pieces of wood, I suppose.

    Thanks for the update!


    1 year ago

    Excellent concept and execution of design. I'd like to offer two suggestions one safety related and the other to improve long-term function.

    The safety issue is that it's very difficult to be certain that the UL and CE certificates are authentic. A major maker of CAT 5E cable in the United States had several lots of there product counterfeited and sold by reputable resellers as legitimate. This has caused fires in computer centers and destroyed the connected computer equipment. Since this design places crucial elements of the electrical circuit in an enclosed environment a properly sized circuit breaker would be wise. This should be placed on the positive power feed just after the power cable enters the shelf.

    The ascetic and functional improvement is to seal the hole that the IR receptor is located in. I'd use a piece of plexiglass to seal this. You'll notice that commercial IR controlled products cover the IR receiver. This prevents insects like spiders building nests in the hole and keep excessive dust from blocking reception.

    You could also switch to a RF controller. This would alleviate the previous step and prevent problems with the angle of the IR receivers reception. An appropriate unit can be found at Amazon here:

    This unit is well reviewed by knowledgeable reviewers as functional when connected according to the manufacturer's instructions. For general information since, the design isn't to be exposed to rain or submerged in water you can use an IP-25 rated led strip. The first number refers to the level of DUST infiltration resistance and the second refers to water resistance. IP-67 is considered impervious to dust infiltration and resistant to the heaviest wind driven downpours and able to withstand submergion in one meter of water for reasonable time frames. If you'd like the complete list and explanation please check

    1 reply

    Thank you so very much for the suggestion on the RF! Definitely using one.


    1 year ago

    I love the idea and your realization. I don't love the pipes, though :). An invisible Wall-Mount would look great.

    Nevertheless: Well done!

    Çok güzel harika

    I'd put a switch on it.

    I'd also run the low voltage wire
    down to the cellar where I have a 12V power supply that runs a bunch of
    other lights and gadgets. Having a wall wart running a wire into the wall doesn't look cool.

    4 replies

    If you do run any length of low voltage wire (>= 100 feet/30 meters) make sure you account for voltage drop by compensating with a larger gauge wire. If you need, I will post a link to a voltage drop calculator upon request.

    The switch part is handled by the IR remote, and could easily be integrated into a smart home type appliance to be turned off/on when other devices are activated.

    Having many many LED strips and different controllers here, I can say with confidence that the Chinese one in this vid won't last forever. It's a matter of when, not if. And the when is usally messured in months...

    How about a recommendation of a better led strip?