Introduction: LED Desk Light

About: recent C.E. Graduate entering into Embedded Software Development.

I didn't like the light angles in my room or my touch lamp taking up desk space, so I made my own light

I had some leftover rgb led strip from adding under-dash lighting in my car. I used a moderate amount (50-60 LED) for this little project. I didn't use a controller, so it doesn't change color. I don't really need it to.

My desk is the kind with a matching shelf. The LED are hidden behind that bar on the front.

Step 1: Materials


12V Power Supply (recycled)

LED strip (leftover)


Electrical Tape

Strong double-sided tape

On/Off switch

-Optional- LED controller


Soldering Iron


Wire Stripper


Step 2: Materials 2.0

You'll need a 12V power supply. I got mine from a box of old appliances. The hdd that it worked with is long gone.

Once you pull out an old power supply with a higher amp rating than you need, (while unplugged) cut the connector and strip the wire.

Separate the wires so that they don't touch. Plug it in and use your multimeter to test the voltages across the wires. When you're done, unplug it and set it aside.

Next is the LED strip. Solder different colored wires for positive and negative. To get white on a rgb strip, connect the red, green, and blue to one wire so that all three colors light up.

If it's a waterproof strip, you'll have to peel back the waterproofing a bit to solder to the contacts. Go ahead and solder one wire to positive and one to negative. Note the colors that you used.

After the solder cools, wrap the contacts with electrical tape. Don't worry if you cover one of the LED in the process

Step 3: Assembly

Time to get it working.

Place your LED wisely. I used double sided tape to mount it just out of sight.

For your wire, if you'd like to avoid drilling, you could run the wires along the corners and cover them with your electrical tape. You could also try to match the color of your desk if it bothers you too much.

While unplugged, pull the 12V end of your power supply through to wherever you need it. Connect the switch between the +12V of the power supply and the +12V of the LED. Connect the 0V (or rgb) of the LED to the 0V/ground of the power supply. Keep the wires separate and plug in the power supply. Turn the switch on and off. If it doesn't work, check the polarity first. Unplug it.

Twist the wires and solder. Cover each contact with electrical tape and then cover that end up with tape.

Step 4: Final Product

This was a simple little project that I made out of cheap/recycled stuff, but it'll help a lot with late night work.

The touch lamp is now on my nightstand as a reading lamp.

My power supply also had 5V out, so I used that as a usb out. It does have some interference with the 12V in some situations (specifically my wireless charging pad), but not when I plug in my phone

It's been my desk light for about a month now.