Introduction: Low Profile LED Shelf Lighting


Add nearly hidden lighting to shelves, cabinets and desk cubbies. It's great for hard to see areas, accent lighting and places where power outlets are not available.

Step 1: What You Need

-12 to 16 high output (8000 or higher MCD) white LEDs per shelf/cabinet

-Small on/off switch, either push button or toggle switch

-3 AA or AAA battery holder or 3.5 Volt DC power supply


-Solder and soldering iron/gun

-Dremel or other grinding tool


-Hot glue gun

Step 2: Grind the LEDs

Use the pliers to clamp the LEDs by the wires and grind down the lens part of the LED. Keep grinding it down until the side profile of the LED is square shaped - about as tall as it is wide.

The reasons for grinding the LEDs is both to make them lower profile, and also to frost the top surface so that the light output is diffused.

After grinding bend all the wires 90 degrees at the base of the LEDs. Bend all the wires the same way - polarity matters on LEDs. This will allow all the LEDs to be soldered together into one chain.

Step 3: Solder the LEDs Together

Simply solder the ends of the pins from one LED to the base of the next LED, and repeat until you have one straight chain using all the LEDs. Typically, 12 or 16 are enough for each shelf or cabinet. Make sure all the LEDs have the same polarity (longer pin on one side, shorter on the other.)

After soldering, check if the chain is straight - resolder the crooked links until the LEDs form a straight line.

Test the string with some button cell batteries or with the 3 AA/AAA battery pack.

Step 4: Add the Switch and Power Supply

Find a convenient place where you will be placing the power supply, power switch and the LEDs themselves within your cabinet and measure the amount of wire you will be needing.

Solder the wires to the LEDs. Solder the negative wire straight to the battery pack or power supply and solder the positive wires to the power switch.

Step 5: Install Lights in Cabinet

Use small amounts of hot glue to attach the LEDs, wires, power switch and battery pack to the cabinet and you're done!

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