Introduction: Bespoke Minimal Ceiling Light Fitting.
I like the minimal interior design style. I don't like how much it costs! So I set about building a long sleek ceiling light, which started life as a piece of skirting board. I wanted it to have 4 halogen down lighters and also some cool blue LEDs integrated into it to make it look cool. I also wanted it back lit, throwing pools of indirect light out onto the ceiling. All of these lights are able to be switched on/ off separate to each other.
I haven't gone into intricate detail in this instructable in terms of materials or specific ways of doing things as there's no set way that things have to be done. Be creative, that's what it's all about!
So first of all, the body of the light itself. This is just a strip of skirting board I had used in another project previously. This is 240cm long. I spaced out and marked 4 holes for the halogen light bulb holders. The light bulbs are 240v 50w GU10 fitting bulbs. Very cheap and cheerful, although all 4 use quite a lot of power for a light and kick out a fair bit of heat. There's no reason why you couldn't use LED GU10's. You can get these with each bulb containing a tiny step-down transformer meaning you can plug them straight into a 240v GU10 fitting without having to buy bulky 12v power transformers.
I then decided how many LED's I could fit (would look OK) into the light fitting. I decided on 40 in one single strip down the centre of the light fitting. About one every 6cm. Marking these out I then drilled 5mm holes for the LED's. The LED's that I have are a string of 120 Christmas lights, which would leave me 80 left over! But these come into good use later....
I then checked that the GU10 bulb holders fitted and clipped into the holes properly. These are available in DIY shops (I got mine from Homebase). They are designed for mounting down lighters in ceiling plasterboard safely and isolating any heat. So they are perfectly suited to this application.
As the back of the light fitting is going to be exposed, it's important to trap in the light escaping from the top of the bulbs, or it will ruin the effect of the subtle back lighting. To do this, I cut down 4 pieces of white drain pipe to the depth that the bulbs stick out the top of the light fitting so when it's mounted on the ceiling, the bulbs are then completely closed in. I then had to saw 2 slits down each side to slide over the GU10 fitting clips.
Now, after a lick of new paint I set to with the LED's and the glue gun! A glue gun is a must have for any budding builder, bodger, DIY enthusiast. It will stick almost anything to anything and sets completely within minutes.
I wanted the down facing LED's to be blue and the back lighting ones red. I had a string of 120 blue and 50 red LED's. After sticking 40 of the blue LED's through the holes in the light fitting (these are my down facing blue LED's), I had 80 left over so I kept them coiled up and down on the back of the light fitting so I could have blue back lighting as well as red. The 50 red LED's were all kept on the back and also coiled up and down.
Now it's time to wire in the GU10 bulb sockets. In the U.K, you MUST get a qualified electrician to either do this for you, or if you are 100% competent yourself, get one to sign off your work as being PAT compliant. I wired them in parallel, a standard practice when wiring in multiple incandescent light bulbs, so when one blows, you can identify which one has blown, rather than the one offending bulb breaking the entire circuit.
Due to the excess of blue LED's, I toned down the blue a little by partially covering each LED with a sleeve of heat shrink like so:
Once everything was working and in order, I then needed to find a way of wiring in the 2 separate strings of LED's and have them so they could both be switched on and off independently of the main light. A remote control would be ideal! Asda sell remote controlled mains sockets. You plug the remote box in between the wall socket and any mains appliance and then program the controller to whichever button you want to control it with and Bob's yer uncle!
Once i'd mounted the light fitting on the ceiling, I then fed the 2 wires for the LED strings up into the loft above the ceiling. I'm lucky in the fact that there is a mains socket in the loft, so I plugged an extension lead in and ran my 2 remote sockets from that as pictured.