Instructables

LED light tape to light a dark clothes chest

Picture of LED light tape to light a dark clothes chest
As I get up before my wife and don’t want to disturb her by turning on the lights, selecting clothes from the shelves inside my clothes chest is hit or miss.  Even when the lights are on, it's dark in there.  I used a small LED flashlight, when I hadn’t misplaced it. 

This photo was taken in daylight.

 
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Step 1:

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One Christmas I bought a set of White LED Christmas wreath lights powered by three AA batteries.  While removing them after Christmas, it struck me that I could use them to light the top shelf of the clothes chest!  The top front of the 40-inch wide chest has a lip that would conceal the lights.

Step 2:

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I modified the wiring in the battery case and extended a leg so that it could be connected to a normally closed magnetic switch.  The light strand was long enough that doubling it gave me LEDs about every 2 inches.  Hot glue bound the strands together.  Aluminum foil tape against the inside lip top of the chest would reflect the light into the interior.  I used a staple gun to loosely attach the strand of LED lights against the foil tape.  If you stick your head in the chest, it isn't pretty, but it worked.

Step 3:

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The magnetic switch was attached close to the hinge so that a small magnet, hot glued to the hinge, would open the circuit when the door was closed.  When the door opens, the magnet moves away from the switch, closing the circuit and powering the lights.

This has worked OK for the last three years, but only for the top shelf.  The second shelf has no lip and I couldn’t figure a way to mount these type lights so they wouldn’t hang down and be in the way.  That shelf remained in the dark!

I bought the magnetic switch at an electronics parts store for less than $3.  The magnet is salvaged from a Phillips electronic tooth brush.

Total time to put together, less than an hour.