Home Theater LED Lighting & Speaker Set-Up




Introduction: Home Theater LED Lighting & Speaker Set-Up

About: Hi I'm Linn and on my Youtube Channel I have lots of great videos about building, construction and fun projects. You can also check out my site @ http://darbinorvar.com

A great home theater set-up can be quite awesome! To create my perfect setting, I decided to tackle curtains, speaker shelves & lighting. I had two small rear speakers that I wanted to get up on shelves behind the seating, and then I had one center speaker that I wanted to get up on a shelf below the TV. On all of these shelves, I also wanted some nice balanced lighting.

Step 1: ​Fabric

I'm really going for a theater feel in here - so the first thing I did actually was to sew some curtains to block thliving room from the dining room. It's amazing what a change you can make with fabric, adding more curtains made a huge difference from before. Not to mention, you can really get it super dark which is nice when watching movies. I chose red linen blend fabric which I lined with white linen on the other side, for a thick feel which blocks out the light.

Step 2: Shelves

For this project, I'm using some Sapele mahogany, which is just beautiful! However, this would also be a great opportunity to use pine and stain it to get this darker affect.

I first worked with the wood, cut it to size, resawed it, planed it - first with the machine, and then I also planed the sides to glue up by hand.

I did two glue ups - first the wood for the mantel which is thick - then the wood for the back shelves which is thinner.

Step 3: Sconces

For the back shelves, I love the idea of sconces, because it's not just a shelf you barely see, it's a whole back and shelf. I was debating about how to connect these two pieces together, and I decided to go for a sliding dovetail, because it's really strong, and it's just an elegant joint. For this I'm using the router table with a dovetail bit. I routed a dovetail joint in the middle of the back piece, and then a corresponding joint on the shelf that slides into the back.

And once the two pieces are routed, one slips into the other.

Next I was thinking about the lighting, and I'm using LED strips, so I decided to route a groove to hold the lights in place on the shelf. And I'm just raising the bit up a little, so a shallow cut. So that fits two strips pretty good.

The wood for the sconces was a little lighter in color than the mantel piece. So I did a test, and first just finished it with wax, and then I also tried a stain to see which one I liked the best. And I thought the stain was a little nicer.

Step 4: Center Speaker Shelf

Now for the mantel shelf, I'm going for a very simple design. I want the wood to really be in focus, and I don't want anything too decorative. The shelf however is pretty heavy, so after going over a couple of different options, I decided to make a simple back connected to matching support pieces. The back will be screwed into the studds, and the top will be screwed into the back piece. Now the shelf will lean on the brackets automatically because of the weight, so no need to secure the shelf to those pieces.

This wood is pretty dense to drill through - but it's a really simple design, which I really like. When I had that in place I marked out the studs, and then put it up on the wall to see if I liked the concept. I need to cut out a groove in the back for the wires, and I actually decided to cut back the support brackets a little bit, so they don't stick as far out,

So simply cutting a channel in the back for the wires to slip into. And using a chisel to remove the material.

Step 5: Lighting

So to illuminate these shelves, I've decided to use colored 12 volt LED strips that are all connected so they can be controlled with one remote. The lights came with a 60 watt AC/DC adapter and remote and I'm attaching the strips to a piece of thin aluminum. It attaches better to that than the wood, plus any heat will be dispersed as well.

For each light section I'm having two strips, so soldering the two strips together, and there are four to solder, since this is a colored strip. To protect the wires I'm just adding some electrical tape. And I'm feeding all the wires into this plug barrier strip which makes it a little easier to connect right. I tried to make that mess a little neater with tape, still looks kind of messy though.

Step 6: Sconces

Now, the sconces have lighting above and below and I'm doing the same design as for the big shelf - attaching the LEDs to aluminum strips, and to make it easier I have the wires feeding into this plug barrier system here which makes the system more modular, so I can add more units in the future if I want. And it also allowed me to solder smaller wires directly to the LED strips while going over the longer distances with larger wire.

Step 7: Wiring

Now to assemble everything I screwed the shelves to the wall through the studs. I used a lot of wire, remember I need four wires per connection because of the color LEDs, so all in all I actually used about 250 feet of wire, or about 70 meters give or take. First I started with white wire, but I ran out, and had to move to colored ones as well! I'm also running speaker wire, and I'm connecting everything to the molding with white tape, so that hides it all pretty good. This is actually white duct tape, and I ended up using about a roll and a half.

Step 8: Conclusion - Watch the Video!

This project came out really cool - make sure to watch the video to get the full effect and see how it turned out!



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    20 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Nice job but really the only way to do a home theatre is with a projector. best option would be a optimax as the bulbs are 1/3rd the price of what other companies charge. I would then use a basic pc tower with 2tb drive and store all my movies digitally so you can pick from your chair. lastly get erics movie database on the pc and then you will have bookshelf view of all your films including trailers and being able to search by genere

    Very cool - I might have to try it! Instead of using tape, which will eventually give up and leave you with a mess, I recommend wire mold. It's fairly cheap and can be painted to match your walls.

    Really nice, learned a lot, great wood work. Only one thing electrical connection should not be covered with duct tape, if they get loose & heat it may be a fire hazard. Always use electrical tape or other electrical isolation that is approved for such use.


    1 year ago

    i hidden the lights on the back of my 55 lcd tv, just used double side tape. and they look very good and a good room illumination.


    I use black blackout curtains. They work quite well also.

    'You're awesome, you know things... But your movie choices are really bad except Ex Machina.

    How annoying!

    У девушки руки выросли из нужного места. Но, мужика у неё явно нет. Пропадает сокровище.

    It is ironic that you put bookshelf speakers on the wall instead of the existing bookshelves.

    I think the finished product looks great. If you are able, and want to, those wires could be actually hidden behind the molding instead of taped to it. All you'd have to do is pull it away from the wall, stick the wires behind and tap it back in to place. You used a lot of different tools and methods in this 'ible, which I have to say "kudos". I might have given up halfway through! I love the use of red and the darker wood. Congratulations!

    The concept is fabulous.

    Your wood working skills are a pleasure to watch. It feels like the LED's needed some finishing - like a nice diffuser to hide the elements and make the light smoother and softer. Wire management is a not fun topic - you did what was acceptable for you and worked quickly. There are other ways to hide wire that look better and are closer to your skill level with the wood working.

    The barrier strips are really not a problem. They use those in Europe for just about everything. They're the equivalent of European wire nuts.


    1 year ago

    Great job....until you put white duct tape on the wires. You have Base Boards and Crown Molding, just pull them away from the wall an inch and stuff all your wires behind it, then replace the molding. All wires are completely hidden like that.


    1 year ago

    It was a pleasure to see how you work with wood and what wonderful, beautiful shelves you got at the and of woodwork, but i nearly cried when i saw how you manage all those cables. You can actually put the cables inside the shelf - the wood itself will remain solid if you drill couple of holes inside it. You can also disassemble the RGB-Controller, it is only a tiny flat board inside, which you can also hide inside the shelf and leave only the IR-Receiver outside. Btw. those open cable-connectors are not only looking awful, they are also dangerous. You are right, 12 volts will not kill anyone, but 12 vols can cause a fire if you shorten the screws.


    1 year ago

    Can you add a link to the video? On mobile it doesn't do video, just a thumbnail of the video so I can't watch the final result. it looks amazing though!

    Great design! And you have a wonderful taste in cinema. I'm going to make this for my (future) recording studio.
    My dad used this concept in our bathroom. Basically he attached a plank of wood to the cellar with magnets, and run LED stripes on each side.

    Nice work! Congratulations!

    Awesome 'ible. One little niggling point: some basic pics of the finished shelves would be cool. Might be some stuff in the video, but I can't watch the video(at work) & it would be cool to see the finished product.

    That turned out really nicely, I like how you used so many different skills in one project. If you took that strip of lights you removed from under the shelf and put it behind the TV near the top it would balance out the light across the wall.

    You might want to experiment with NeoPixel lighting strips, you can get any color out of them and the prices have gotten really reasonable.

    What an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing and for the really well presented instructable. This is a bit beyond my abilities but truly inspiring. Well done :-)