Introduction: Accent Lighting/Decorating RGB LED Lighting Strips

About: Hi there my name is Alan Hatch I am a DIYer, an artist and love making decorations for my yard for the holidays, My instructables site allows me to show you how to do it in the hopes that you will explore your…

If you have not hopped on the RGB bandwagon your missing out on what could be the next wave of lighting for all your needs. It's versatile, bends around anything and has the ability of thousands of different colors. Decorating your house with these strips of LED RGB (Red Green Blue) is a breeze and you can leave them up year round. Each strip of lights that come in 5 meter rolls(approximately 15 feet) will last about 5000 hours. I have made this handy guide to show you how to attach them to your roof the easy way for holiday decorating and to basically get you pumped up about this awesome light.

You can buy various versions of this light and I will tell you which one is the best buy, which ones to stay away from and what these lights are capable of. I am positive you have seen them on the Christmas Light Night Fight. The addressable RGB lights are capable of messages and designs that were never thought of ten years ago. Although those lights are probably out of most people budget the lights I will be posting here are affordable and can be used in any application. \

What if I told you, one can get what they call the DUMB RGB light strip for less than 25.00? This light strip though not addressable is capable of thousands of colors and can be hooked up to controllers for Christmas decorating. While they are capable of designs they cost way less than the average twinkle light led that you buy in any store and are ten times the brightness.

Step 1: History of the RGB (RED, GREEN, BLUE) Lighting Phenomenom

Taken from wikipedia: The RGB color model is an additive color model in which red, green, and blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colors. The name of the model comes from the initials of the three additive primary colors, red, green, and blue.
The main purpose of the RGB color model is for the sensing, representation, and display of images in electronic systems, such as televisions and computers, though it has also been used in conventional photography. Before the electronic age, the RGB color model already had a solid theory behind it, based in human perception of colors. RGB is a device-dependent color model: different devices detect or reproduce a given RGB value differently, since the color elements (such as phosphors or dyes) and their response to the individual R, G, and B levels vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, or even in the same device over time. Thus an RGB value does not define the same color across devices without some kind of color management. Typical RGB input devices are color TV and video cameras, image scanners, video games, and digital cameras. Typical RGB output devices are TV sets of various technologies (CRT, LCD, plasma, OLED, Quantum-Dots etc.), computer and mobile phone displays, video projectors, multicolor LED displays, and large screens such as JumboTron. Color printers, on the other hand, are not RGB devices, but subtractive color devices (typically CMYK color model).

RGB has come a long way, it's affordable, easy to use and has the abilities within it to create anything you can imagine.

Step 2: Where and What Kinds of RGB Light Strips to Buy

Any number of online retailers sell these strips of light. Amazon has good pricing on them if your in the market for The DUMB lights I'm posting here.

Do your research online retailers sell these items for a hefty price. Big retailers like amazon can get you a price that is reasonable and won't break the bank. They run on a 12 volt power source so usually on places like amazon you have to buy these separate or pay a ridiculous price. But here is what I did. I went to my local thrift store and raided all the 12 volt power supplies that I could find. I ended up with more than a dozen of them for right around .35 cents each. If I bought these online like at amazon I would have paid anywhere from 7.00 to 13.00. If you can find an old phone set at the local thrift these types of phone usually runs on 12 volt power. If you can't find any lose power supplies you can always buy the phone and discard it and use that power supply and your only out a couple bucks.

Online Specialty store like light in the box, lightorama and others charge upward of 40.00 plus for these same lights you can get on amazon for less than 15.00 in some cases. Doing your research means it won't break the bank, especially if you are buying a lot of them.

Different types of RGB:

3528 RGB Strip: these are the cheapest of all the light strips, you can buy them for right around 8-10.00 for a 15ft roll, while they do offer many color options they are made very cheaply. they are waterproof perfect for a under the counter accent lighting in the kitchen or bath. Each LED has it's own color RED GREEN BLUE, depending on which color you choose to use depends on how the lights will react. For instance if you choose blue you will only light the blue led, spaced every three lights apart. if you choose say a purple red and blue will light etc. yellow all three you get my point? These lights don't give versatility like others on the market do. The 3528 is a good way to go for small areas that you want that extra accent for not much else.

5050 RGB Strip: By far, better than the 3528. Each pixel is capable of RED GREEN BLUE capacity, they blend the colors to a smooth fade rather than using individual pixels to accomplish it. They also come in water proof or not water proof and are capable of thousands of colors. There's no space in between colors so you get a rich color seamlessly. They are bright and dimmable as well. These are my picks if you want to get a good strip of lights for your money

Generic 5M 16.4Ft RGB 5050SMD 300LED Waterproof Flexible LED Light Strip lamp + 44Key IR Remote (Supports Max 5 meters of RGB LED flexible strips) ">RGB STRIP LIGHTS


There are literally thousands of projects you could do with these lights, they are almost limitless in their possibilities. Whatever your imagination can come up with you can do.

Place them under your countertops for accent lighting.

Behind pictures or a television

Along the eves of your home for an any holiday lighting scheme.

On the next few pages I will show you how I used them some of my DIY craft projects a little about them and more. But no matter what you do with these amazing lights there is no limit. If you have ideas I would love to hear them in the comments section.

or you can contact me here

Step 4: DIY RGB/LED Color Changing Name Signs

Every Christmas I hand make gifts for friends and family. This year was no different.

RGB /LED Color Changing Name Signs

To Make

I took a blank Artist stretched canvas for these and with a small piece of wood paneling used a jigsaw to carve out some names.

I attached the RGB/LED strip to the back of the canvas with some double sided tape

I attached the front of the canvas to the wood paneling with brad nail gun about every three inches all around the outside.

For the frame I used cedar furring strips and cut them to fit all around the outside to give it a finished look

Then it was as simple up securing the power source and adding some Velcro to the remote and to the finished sign and plugging it in

I sell these on my website for 55.00

Step 5: DIY Color Changing Pallet Room Divider

So for this creation, inspiration came from some old ugly run down pallets I had out in my yard that I just had to do something with. I own my own home but decided that I could no longer afford the house by myself. The house had a somewhat small retail space (less than 1500 square feet) I spent the next two years converting the retail space into a studio apartment, and started renting out the house to make the monthly mortgage payments. I have been renting out the home for almost eight years now and am still nowhere near completion on the studio. I am however living in it and it is quite comfortable.

you can see an instructable about this post here

or you can contact me for some DIY Inspiration

Step 6: DIY Under Counter/cabinet and Pictures

Accent lighting done easy in any part of your home from cabinets to counters to TV's to picture frames

simply attach them to the underside or backside and walla you have some accent lighting anywhere you want

Step 7: Christmas Lighting

One of the best uses for these strip lights in my opinion is the way they can transform your Christmas decorating.

I had some 20 year old blow molds and hated that they used so much electricity. I installed some strip lights in them and what happened was amazing the blow molds diffused the lights perfectly. I have never seen a Christmas decoration glow the way these did. you can kind of see them in the picture above.

Another way to use these were the eves on the house itself.

Step 8: Lanterns Pathway Lights and More

you can use these anywhere