Super Bright Tunable Led Light Panels





Introduction: Super Bright Tunable Led Light Panels

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 @

These super bright LED light panels are tunable, so they can go from about 3500 to 6000 kelvin. That means that you can create just the right color temperature you want for the specific setting and time of day. For this build I'm using MDF to create the panels and two different colored LED strips to provide the lighting as well as a few switches and PWM dimmers.

All the products used for this project are listed in the video description.

Step 1: MDF Boxes

I started with cutting up some MDF for these panels. I'm using mostly 1/4 inch or 6mm MDF, with a few pieces being 1/2 inch or 12 mm. I'm actually making three light panel boxes - one large and two smaller, as well as one control box.

Step 2: Assembling the Boxes

Next up I'm cutting up some aluminum here, and this is to attach to the MDF to act as a heatsink to distribute the heat from the LED strips. Once I had them cut to a good size, I stapled them to attach. Then it was simply a matter of assembling the boxes, and I'm just using glue and a pin nailer.

Step 3: Strip Lights

Now for the lighting, I'm using two different types of strip lights, one cool 6000 Kelvin and one warm, 3500 kelvin. I'm cutting them up to the same length, and then I'm alternating the strips on the panel. So gluing on a cool strip next to a warm strip and so on. Just making sure I have all the positives lined up on one side etc....

Step 4: Soldering the Lights

Once I had all the lights attached began the task of soldering them together.

So I soldered all the cool strips together and then all the warm strips together. This is pretty time consuming, because each needs a positive and a negative, so there was quite a lot of soldering to do.

Step 5: Painting

I also connected the two smaller light boxes to a piece of scrap plywood, that way I can later attach both of them to the ceiling in one piece.

And I painted everything white.

Step 6: Acrylic Panels

Next up I connected the two light boxes with wire, and I'm hiding the wire on the other side so you won't see it once it's up in the ceiling.

I didn't want to be looking directly at the strip lights. So I'm cutting up some acrylic panels here. I'm cutting up three pieces, two small and one large. And this material cuts really well on the table saw and the miter saw. Then I took off the protective plastic and sprayed some frosted spray paint to diffuse the lights. And here's the idea. I was thinking I could connect it with some brackets, held by pressure, just screwed to the MDF, not the panels, so you can slide them in and out.

Step 7: Attaching the Fixtures

Putting up the larger unit, and I'm just screwing that in, before putting on the cover. .

Step 8: The Electronics

So the idea here is that I have two fixtures - one over the tool wall, fixture A, and one over the bench, fixture B. Each have two colors that can vary warm and cool. I want to independently be able to control either fixture on or off, cause sometimes I might want the bench light on but not the back light etc.

Step 9:

So I have the two light fixtures, a power source, two switches - one to control each lighting fixture, and I have two PWM dimmers, one will control all the warmer lights, and one will control all the cooler lights. This is how they're all connected - and these are all positive wires. Then the negatives wires are the black ones in the last picture.

Step 10: Control Board

Here are the MDF control box pieces.

Once I had tried the concept out on a test board, I drilled some holes in the MDF, and this is where the various switches and knobs will attach to.

Then I connected the control board unit underneath the cabinet, and then I put on the bottom, also tested out the front.

Step 11: Adding the Lighting Wires

When I knew that worked, I went back to the electronics. I connected the knobs and switches to the front board and put everything together.

Then I brought the wires from the lighting fixtures together, trying to keep them neat here with some cable organizers, so down the wall and into the box. Also doing the same with the smaller panels, keeping the wires together neatly on the beam.

Step 12: Final Assembly

OK, so now I have all the electronics connected on the front piece here and I'm connecting the incoming wires from the lights to the board, and for power I'm using a 10 amp, 12 volt power brick which I special ordered for this project.

The complicated part here is the dimmers each effect the colors of the ligths, but the switches control the fixture. So that means you have to independently switch the colors to each fixture. That requires a switch that can switch more than one line independently.

Step 13: Conclusion - Watch the Video

For a much better perspective, make sure to watch the video that goes over all the different steps and the final result.



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    36 Discussions

    Sorry to be late to the game in posting comments here, but a roll of aluminum roof flashing is pretty cheap in box stores if you need to get aluminum sheeting. You will have to use more than one strip for the box but it does the job.

    So that she can adjust the brightness of either the warm lights or cool lights. This way you get a better mix for different applications. For fine work like electronics you will want a bright cool light in order to read components.

    Its a dust mask. The MDF dust is not so good for you. But a dust mask like this is good practise.

    Any chance you can show me how to make a fantastic, spacious workshop like yours, in a tiny house with no garage like mine?

    6 replies

    =) Nice,

    I can even go back in time when I messed up =)

    I haven't got the 'space' for one...or the 'time' to make one! Thanks for the very helpful suggestion though!

    I do, but it is also small. My question was only a joke, because I envy the space and equipment you have with which to work.

    Putting a groove in the sidewalls would allow you to slide the diffuser in there so you don't have the brackets showing. Then attach the 4th wall and voila. Has to be precise, though.

    Did you test this for a long time ? I think there's not enough surface for heatsink. I build such pannels, (but in constant current where strips have no resistors) some of them can go up to 80W and they do need a profile with a 3cm thickness ! Otherwise strips unstick from aluminium.

    2 replies

    I'd leave the plywood backing off it, and let air circulate off the backside of the aluminum plate.

    I had this problem of the adhesive failing when I used LED strips on a re-purposed 4-foot fluorescent (metal) light fixture. I FIXED it, using strips of hot glue between the actual LEDs. BTW, I want to try this project. Seems like an excellent idea to use warm and cool LEDs to be able to tune the color temperature.

    Does anyone knows the specs of the Potentiometers?? i want to build it right now, but i don know anything about the PWM

    1 reply

    The LEDs run on 12 volts. To get a smooth dimming function, a PWM just chops the voltage going to the LEDs. They get variable width pulses of 12V instead of a varying DC voltage. The LEDs are non-linear and cut off around 7 volts, but the PWM is smooth down to a dim glow.


    1 year ago

    Hello guys new here,,does anyone knows where i can get the parts material list? specially the electronic parts?

    1 reply