Fast, Quick, Cheap, Good Looking LED Room Lighting (for Anyone)




Welcome all :-) This is my first instructable so comments are welcome :-)

What i hope to show you is how to make quick LED lighting that is on a TINY buget.

What you need :

Resistors (510Ohms for 12V)
Soldering iron
Cutters and other basics
Hammer and a nail!

(NOTES FOR n00bs)

LEDs need about 30 milli amps (0.03 Amps) or they burn out
To work out your resiance use:


Voltage (V) = 12
Amperage (I) = 0.03 (30*10-3)
Resitance (R) = ?

SO :


or more...
i used 510 so my LEDs arent running at the brightest they could be

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Step 1: Costs


Cable : 8.51GBP high grade white cable per 50m ($13.99)

LEDs: 6.18GBP (Cheaper by the 1000) (the LEDs i used are 13,000 and 6,000 mcd with a angel of 25 degrees)

Resistors x100: for 0.99GBP

Staples: Well cheap...

Which works out at:
0.89 per metre!

Spacing of 1 LED per 10cm is enough (get the spacing right or it looks strange)

which isnt bad for really nice lightening that on average the leds will last 11+ Years!

I used a power adapter i had lying about but anything that is 12V and lying about will do fine :-)
Just as a general rule you need 30mA per LED. (this isnt strictly true, but it will keep you within tolerences)

so if you had 20 leds you need (30*10-3)*20=600mA or 0.6 A

Step 2: Cable Up the Room

Quick and easy you need to run 2 cables and make sure you dont cross them over at any point or itll get messy

Seen in the picture is what your cableing should look like all the way around the room (or where ever you want the LEDs)

Step 3: Make the LEDs

Now what i love about this system is that you can switch, move and change colours so easily!

How to ready the LEDs...

Bend one corner of the resitor and the + (positive) leg of the LED and hook them together.
Then put on the solder.
Then cut the extra off.

And who said soldering was hard!

Then bend the legs like shown in the picture so that both the legs point downward and make them the same length. about 4mm not long

ok now do that as many times as you want... Its easy...

Step 4:

Put it all together!

Ok so LEDs only work one way around so make sure all the LEDs + (positive) legs (the end with the resistor) goes in the same cable.

Take the nail and puncture the cable cover so that you can stick the legs of the LED into the cable

Now do the same every 10cm...

Step 5: POWER ON!


Enjoy and thanks for reading.

Future upgrades:
Use of capacitors for a glowing as the power is turned on (gradual lighting on)
and a motion sensor so as i come in the door the lights come on.

Thanks to all for reading :-)

if you want any parts (shown in the instructable i can sell them to you)
also any donations (as i an a poor student) are very much appriated!

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    261 Discussions

    Great guide, looks nice. Very simple, practical, flexible, and easy to understand instructions. Good luck in your future projects, this first effort is a success.

    1 reply

    4 years ago

    Another question! I remember some things about the las question, but I have no clue on this one. Are all LEDs colour-editables? How can I change their colours? Does it depend on the resistor? (I don't know, but there are some colours on the resistors so...).

    That's all for now (I think), thank you!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, most leds are not colour-changing. those that are need a special controller etc, making the project more expensive. (also those leds are a lot more expensive)

    Colour doesn't depend on the resistor. the brightness however does, but you could also regulate this with the voltage.

    If you would want a switch other than the plug itself, there are things available that are just a switch for plugs. Or, you could wire pretty much any lamp switch using the instructions it comes with into the wire.

    I hope this helps! if there's anything else, let me know.


    4 years ago

    Hey! I know it's going to sound "nooby", but I have a question. Do I have to connect the cable to a plug? (Or output or whatever).

    If I have to, how can I turn it on/ off instead of connecting/ disconnecting? Is it possible to connect the cables and stuff with a switch? Then, How can I?

    Yes, I know, I'm noob. I'm 15, and I've done just a year of technologies at High School. I'm more on Biology.



    9 years ago on Introduction

     Great 'ible! I have a few rooms wired with a few LED's for mood/low level lighting. 

    Ive been saving these babies from the trash at work for over a month and now I have over 30 feet of em. I think im gonna see if I can find some decent sized crown molding and go around my whole living room.

    9 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Are those surface mounted leds? Is there someplace you can buy the flat mounted and ready to go?



    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    you can get them in any color or RGB with several types of silicone coating for $5-6/ft or even un-coated ones for just over $4/ft


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, they are surface mount warm white LEDs mounted to a thin, flexible PCB strip with the resistors already mounted. The circuit board is lightly coated with a varnish and is water resistant. Normally it comes in rolls, and can be cut at designated cut marks. It runs on 12v, no matter the length. You can order a roll of them (In colors too) on the internet. Just google "LED strip lighting"


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Heh, I have a whole box of them now! I think im saving most of them to go around my porch's railing for some nice low level lighting at night. Meanwhile im finding handy places around the house to put a few. I just finished refinishing my bathroom's medicine cabinet. It was old and rusty looking inside. After all the sanding and priming and painting, I figured what the hell, a few strips inside with a tiny reed switch mounted to the door would be pretty sweet. What do you think?

    2010-08-31 03.15.58.jpg

    10 years ago on Step 3

    I'm a bit confused with the resistors here. Everything is in series, right? So you have a 12V battery, and let's say (just for a clear example) 10 LEDs that can have 1.5V across each. Why do you need a resistor, and why one resistor for each LED? Isn't the voltage across each LED going to be the same without a resistor or am I wrong? Thanks.

    4 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Each LED will be receiving 12V when they are wired in parallel. So each LED will need its own resistor in order to work with the higher voltage. It is important to note that the more LEDs that you use the more power they will draw from the battery.


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 3

    oh crap it is in parallel cause of the 2 cables, didn't put that together. I'm a little confused about the cables though. You use 2 of them: one end of each of them gets hooked up to +/- of the power adapter, but what about the other ends of each wire?


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 3

    they are left untouched and seald possibly with tape, if they were connected it would just create a short.


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 3

    I would just stick a female plug on the end, just to make it a little neater in appearance, plus, you could connect another string, assuming your power supply is capable of it.