Introduction: How to Extract LEDs From LED Christmas Lights

Picture of How to Extract LEDs From LED Christmas Lights

This Instructable will cover the extraction of LEDs from molded LED Christmas lights

Step 1: Items Needed.

Picture of Items Needed.

The Following items are needed:

*Led Light Strand

Step 2: Purchase LED Light Set.

Picture of Purchase LED Light Set.

Purchase a set of LED Christmas lights. I purchased mine from Walgreens but you can get them fomr ACE, Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, and many ther places.

Please Note:
These Instructions have ONLY been tested with the set i bought from Walgreens. They MAY work the same with similar models but I cannot be sure. I plan to update this later to determine if it works with other brands.

Step 3: Remove Bulb From Casing.

Picture of Remove Bulb From Casing.

The Strand i am working with has little tabs that secure the bulb to the strand. Your's may or they may not. After taking the bulb out of the strand bend the leads straight so that you can pull it from the green housing.

Step 4: Remove LED From Bulb.

Picture of Remove LED From Bulb.

Grip base of LED with pliers and bend back and forth until bulb separates from the LED.

Step 5: Remove Rest of Plastic.

Picture of Remove Rest of Plastic.

To do this I simply slid the piece down over the leads until it came off. You might have to squeeze it with the pliers to loosen it up.

Step 6: Your Finished

Picture of Your Finished

You should now have a LED that is separated from its casing. If you have any questions send me a message. I will update this later with a video and Find out if this works with other brands.


friendshiprulez (author)2013-11-10

does the same work with skinny chistmas lights

DJNASHA (author)2011-11-03

i'm going to what u did u

pcooper2 (author)2011-09-13

How does this compare to simply buying a bag of new LEDs from Digi-Key or Mouser Electronics? Sure, you can find LEDs at places like Radio Shack, but they charge too much due to the expensive individual packaging and the quality is inconsistent.

67spyder (author)2010-12-06

Great idea, I have about 10 strings of LED lights that the squirrels have chewed apart. Good thing my OCD won't let me throw anything out ;-)

dilleylh (author)67spyder2011-06-10

I think the term for your condition should be CDO.That way the letters are in alphabetical order. ;-)

Richone (author)2010-12-29

Go to your local recycling center and see if they will let you go through the wire bin.I've had good luck there.

civicgsr (author)2010-12-13

Great idea :) my question is, how do you know what type of led it is after you take it out of this, i'm still learning about leds, and have read lots about voltage drop, forward current etc etc.

how do you figure out those numbers when you don't have a... data sheet for the led

I'd like to pull apart some of my led xmas lights and use them for a 12-14 volt application


rambutan (author)2007-12-28

P.S. Where can I find LEDs online (cheap, bulk, colored, RGB, etc...) ? I live in the USA. Thanks much.

ledlightmaker (author)rambutan2009-10-01

Please contact me We are a manufacturer. The bulk price will be very competitive.RGB,colored,etc.

Sure electronics sell leds in lots of 100 with a resistor for 5v and 12v (200 total) they can be found if you want lots of 1000 try Angel edeal on eBay Less than $20 for 1000 leds
Just be aware that the white leds on eBay don't last anything like the 100000 hours they quote the phosphor they use is crap.

momsgonnafindme (author)rambutan2009-04-15

i purchased 50 ultra bright blue 3mm from hong kong for 8 bucks they took about 2 weeks
email me if you want the seller

DYLEGO (author)rambutan2008-12-30

go to walgreens right after christmas during 75 % off(like right now) and buy LED christmas lights. I got 600 LEDs for 10$ a few hours ago!

DYLEGO (author)DYLEGO2008-12-30

i know its not online, but it works

marc92 (author)rambutan2008-10-14


Derin (author)rambutan2008-07-23

dean-101 (author)rambutan2008-03-20

i get all mine from this shop on ebay. you get 100 ultra bright leds 5mm with 200 resistors 100 for 4.5v and the other 100 for 12v. goto and type "100 ultra bright leds" and then look for them it cost about £10 for the lot.

look on

w00ty32 (author)rambutan2007-12-31

this is a pretty good site, they got just about everything including like resistors and all that crap

brandegor (author)2009-08-18

Just wanted to say how great it is to see some who knows that the phrase really is "Jerry-rigged" as opposed to the omnipresent and incorrect "jury-rigged." A little history lesson: in WWII, the Germans - referred to as "Jerrys" or "Gerrys" by the Americans, were famous (if you want to call it that) for using anything they found to wire, tape or otherwise repair their beaten-up equipment.

poi_pai (author)2009-05-24

This is good to know! Each winter the city covers the trees downtown with LED lights, and each spring, they use tree cutters to rip them out. I know, not very cost effective, but the weather in Denver kills the plastic on the wires, (3 feet of snow one day, 75 degrees and sunny the next) so unwinding them is next to impossible. They just throw them away and i was wondering if the bulbs actually were removable (I thought they were glued in place) so thanks!

pogoman12345 (author)2009-05-24

you can buy stuff like that at radio shack also known as the source.

N1CK4ND0 (author)2009-03-14

lol I didn't even think of that, I'ma go steal all the red ones out of my christmas box in the basement hopefully the christmas tree will still look good next year :P

Wesley666 (author)N1CK4ND02009-04-07

steal the green ones from the neighbors. The green never seem very bright so no one will notice.

chaoszerom (author)2008-09-19

Is there anywhere IN AUSTRALIA that i can buy LEDs for cheap prices? (also looking at IR LEDs and resistors)

!Andrew_Modder! (author)2007-12-27

:-) good instruction. Anyway, it actually is cheaper to just buy a big pack of LEDs online tho... :-\

not always, I got 100 bright white leds for 2 dollars I did this about a week ago

ok :-)

DYLEGO (author)!Andrew_Modder!2008-12-30

i got 600 for 10 bucks!

DYLEGO (author)guyfrom7up2008-12-30

i got 600 for 10 bucks!

rambutan (author)2007-12-30

Hey, can anyone tell me where I can find LED christmas lights? *SALES!!!* Like retail stores, I didn't see any at Target! THnx

DYLEGO (author)rambutan2008-12-30

i got 600 LEDs at Walgreens during 75% off after christmas for $10! what a steal!!!

wolf555hound (author)2008-08-31

i'm soo buying tons of these during christmas season, and sell them for profit! mwahahaha...wait, hmm..bad idea to post this everywhere..?naw!

maker12 (author)2008-01-31


westfw (author)2007-12-27

Interesting. The string I bought (25 white LEDs) at the after-christmas sale ($5) was constructed quite differently... (one reason I bought them is that those plastic bulb parts that do the diffusing are pretty difficult to duplicate on your own...)

rambutan (author)westfw2007-12-28

Hello instructables! I just found this place tonight and wow I'm so amazed!! Forgive my ignorance, but can one take apart the LEDs from a regular string of LED christmas lights (hoping to score some on clearance...) and use them for any of these projects asking for LEDs on here? Are they the same LEDs or different? I want to try that ice ball project first, put a whole bunch of them outside (it's super cold here and we have a ton of cold they may last 4 hours inside my room, haha). Thank you very much for this tutorial, and once again plz forgive my ignorance, I would love to learn more about LEDs, circuitry, electrical engineering, etc.. way cool. Thanks for your comments :)

westfw (author)rambutan2007-12-28

> can one take apart the LEDs from a regular string of LED christmas lights and use them for any of these projects asking for LEDs on here?
In a word, yes. Since the LEDs in christmas lights are intended for viewing from all directions, some of the LEDs may have specially shaped lenses that make them unsuitable for, say, flashiights (where you WANT a directional beam), but they'll work fine a "general purpose" LEDs.

kelor90 (author)2007-12-27

I understand that it is not the best deal around but I put this up for people who don't want a hundred.

GorillazMiko (author)2007-12-27

Great instructable! I already knew this, but thanks for showing because some people might not know this.. thanks!

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