Make Your Own Colored LEDs





Introduction: Make Your Own Colored LEDs

There are many instructables about how to make 'Throwies'.
For this to have a nice effect you need loads of different color LEDs.

I found it a bit frustrating to find colored LEDs. And when I found them they were more expensive then a normal white LED.

Thats why I thought there had to be an easier and cheaper way. Though thinking about it for a long while the answer was more simple then I thought.

Follow these simple steps to create your own colored LEDs!

Step 1: Materials & Tools

All you need for this is:

- White LEDs
- Sand paper (fine, between 200 and 400)
- Color markers

Once you've got these things you're ready to start!

I bought 100x 5mm LED white on eBay for only $7 (including shipping).
So that's only $0,07 for each LED. You won't get colored LEDs this bright for that price!

Step 2: Diffusing a LED

You can use any size of LED you'd like. In this instructable I used 5mm LEDs. But you can do it with a 3mm or 10mm LED as well.

The LEDs I had are 'water clear'.
To make the effect of the color work good we need to make the LEDs 'diffused'.

1. We need fine sandpaper to get the diffused effect we want. The best sandpaper to use is some between 200 and 400. The one I used was 240.

Sand the whole LED till you get the diffused LED effect. You can see the difference of a 'water clear' and 'diffused' LED on the photos below.

2. Clean the LED so all the LED 'dust' is removed from it.

I've also attached a battery and made a photo so you can clearly see what the difference is and what cool effect we'll get.

Step 3: Coloring the LEDs

Now we've prepared the LEDs for coloring.

1. Get a color marker and color the whole LED.

Be sure that you cover the whole LED with the marker so there won't shine any white light through anymore.

2. Wait till the LED dries up with the color.
If you want to be sure that it will glow nicely in your desired color, give it another coating. This will guarantee you it will glow great without any white color shining through.

Let your LEDs dry up good so you wont get colored fingers when picking up the LEDs :)

Step 4: Finished Result

Now just hook your LED on a battery and see if you did a good job (see photos).

Once you light it up and you see there is still some white shining through, just color some more over those white spots.

Colored LEDs are more expensive then white LEDs and harder to find. So now you can easily create your own colored LEDs in any color you like!



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    80 Discussions

    Hi, Can you tell me that by coloring in such way, The output of LED Lumens change? Actually I have two white LED strips 5 Watt each, I want to paint them in blue and red and use them in my Planted aquarium so support my primary cool daylight bulb. Will it help?


    1 year ago

    Im intersted

    Looks more like science


    1 year ago


    Thats colorful

    Everyone would be interested in that

    Color leds

    Just like my DREAMS


    1 year ago

    Wow bright

    Thatts amaizing

    bright and shiny

    Do you like being shiny?

    Instead of using sandpaper for diffusing try white suncatcher paint sold in many stores it creates a diffuse look without the risk of breaking the housing of the bulb.

    2 replies

    tried this, does not work at all. whatever color you use, it doesn't make the led look different, the colors are too transparent.

    I sooo wish it did work!

    nice Instructables!
    especially the diffused LED.
    and i thought LED lighting can't be different (until now that is).

    one question.. using sand paper on LED, will it reduces its quality?
    cause i keep having mine get burned or its brightness reduced after a few days on normal condition.

    thanks, sorry for bad english.

    7 replies

    I don't think that sanding the led will harm the it, unless you sand it so much that it breaks the acrylic housing. If your are having issues with the led's burning up or becoming dim, you might be applying too much power to the led. (if you are using a power supply that is too large for the led you need to use a resistor to keep from over powering it.) You may already know that or are already do this. It just sounds to me like that might be the problem you were having. Maybe not. Just a thought. Hope it helps.

    Current is drawn by LEDS to cross a gap. The current won't climb higher than it can achieve in the materials provided. It is the voltage that will affect current draw. Lower volts mean more amps, and too low means no arc. A voltage regulator and a rectifier are all that most LED "drivers" contain.

    If the LEDS are dim, it's because you are having voltage drop from length of run or excess LEDS, or the power supply is too small.

    Adding a resistor to the circuit will surely increase the total amperage.

    Too much power, verify that your power source is true and actually putting out the proper voltage. My guess is either the LED you have is not rated for the power it is receiving. ALso not all LEDs the same they might look the same but can be very different.... ie 1v, 3v, 5v, 10v, 12v, - 24v. I deal with 12v and 24v leds . the picture is me holding my TRUE - 200 watt LED light. presently not available in usa because shipping is very high for me so I only make this for europe and asia regards. or


    I dont think the sand paper affects the led....
    try using resistors always!!!.....normaly i use 220 ohm on each led, no matter the number of leds....maybe u already knew that but still

    not really understand about resistors actually, since i'm a beginner in LED stuff.
    and that's a big help, thank you.

    when u use a resistor on a LED....u basically just protect ur LED from burning out or draining your battery too quickly......of course not all resistors are the same, u have to choose ur resistor acording to the type of LED your using, and the volts and amps ur source gives out

    wow, i didn't know those little thing could make big difference to LED.
    in that case, i'll work on my upcoming projects with resistors.
    thanks again.

    I am looking for a way to dim or diffuse and maybe color a bit my new led dualbrite security floodlights. They are so very much brighter at half strength than my old halogen fixtures at full power. And so very stark white.

    1 reply

    remember that these commercially available bulbs are not suitable for fully enclosed fixtures because they can catch fire. Coating the bulb would trap extra heat, so be careful about it.
    You might do better to make a vented lens to put in front.

    Any coating, such as paint and marker ink, on the LED lens is going to trap heat.
    Keep that in mind, because heat is the enemy of electronics like this.

    When I was in electronics class in high school we were taught to use a heat sink on the leads of an LED in order to prevent heat from reaching the ends of the cathode and anode; while soldering. That kind of heat ruins it fast (260-400 degrees F)
    The normal heat it produces will wear it out over it's lifetime. Trapping any extra heat, raising the internal temperature, will shorten the life exponentially.


    4 years ago

    Great article! any ideas to turn cool white (regular ) into warm white? I hate cool bluish leds and I have tons of them! just coat with yellow marker?