In this Instructable, I'm going to show you how to make your own LED strip. This is an extremely cheap option compared to commercial LED strips that go for $9.99 per ft. I actually built this for free because I had all the parts on hand. You can go longer or shorter, but for this example, I'm going to be building a length that is 10 in. long, and holds 8 LEDs.
The Materials/Tools are as follows:
- Any even number of LEDs
- Packing foam
- 1 230 Ohm (Red-Orange-Black-Black-Brown) resistor for every 2 LEDs
- Switch (optional)
- Wire Strippers
- Wire Cutters
- Poking Implement 3000 (Make sure it is big enough for the LED to go through tightly)
- Hot Glue w Gun
- Soldering Iron w Solder
- Electrical Tape and/or Heat Shrink
- Heat Gun (optional)
- Needle Nose Pliers (optional)
- Helping Hands (optional)
Step 1: Preping the Foam
To start things off, let's get the foam ready. The foam not only acts as a mount for the LEDs, but it also acts as a diffuser (is that a word?) for the light.
First cut the foam in a 1in. by 10in. pattern. Next, mark a 1/2in. in from one of the ends, then mark the foam for holes 1 - 1 1/2in. apart down the middle.
After that, take your Poking Implement 3000 (In my case I had a 3mm steel shaft that worked fine) and poke a hole all the way through where you just marked.
The last thing we are going to do with the foam is going to be using the scissors to cut a long slit in-between the LEDs and the bottom of the foam to slide the gnd wire in.
With the foam ready, we can get to the LEDs now.
Step 2: Mounting and Wireing the LEDs
Now, we will mount the LEDs. Take the first 2 LEDs in your strand and stick them into the mounting holes in the foam. Make sure that both positive leads on the LEDs are facing the same way.
Next, solder the positive and negative leads that are pointed toward the middle of the two LEDs together. Then solder wires to the two remaining leads. Repeat this 4 times.
After that, take all the wires that are soldered to the gnd leads, and solder them to the gnd wire that is going to be directly connected to the power.
Step 3: Resistors
Now, since we have 4 sets of LEDs, we need 4 resistors.
Cut a long wire that will be connected to the + of the power source and solder the 4 resistors to one end (making sure that they are oriented the right way). And cover the joints with heat shrink or electrical tape.
After that, take the opposite ends of the resistors and solder the + wires of the LEDs to them.
To rap up, take the bundle of wire/resistors, and hot glue it to the foam.
Now would be the best time to add a switch if you wanted to. I did not because of my planned application for this.
Step 4: You're Done!
Congratulations! you just saved $10! :P You can use this to light your work-bench, as a decoration, or anything else you can think of!