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Has anybody tried painting LEDs? Answered

Because the colors available just aren't enough and we want more.

*glances at collection of smt LEDs then at collection of nail polishes* The odds of me blowing up an LED or setting something on fire are slim, right?



1 year ago

It's been a long time since some of these comments, has anyone come up with new ideas for painting LEDs? Thanks!! (and thanks for the comments already here).


8 years ago

I thought I had a bunch yellow LEDs when I was working on a project, but I didn't so I coloured a white LED with a yellow sharpie. It worked, the light was yellow but a bit of the colour did rub of. So make sure it is a permanent ink. As long as the colour is not opaque it should work. As for nail polish, it is flammable.....

"As for nail polish, it is flammable....." Yeah, hence my slight concern of setting something on fire. But LEDs aren't supposed to get hot enough that they'd ignite it, or would they? And how do you find out what markers are flammable, anyway? Any other ideas for good things to color them with?

No. Wait, maybe yes, in that I'm not sure you could set either of them on fire with a regular LED if you tried. Nail polish when wet is flammable because of the solvent, but when dry I don't think it will catch fire as easily as the plastic the LED is made of. Tissue paper is also flammable, but only at the temperature at which paper burns. An LED could run continuously all day and not be as warm as if you tucked it into your armpit- the small low-power types don't emit enough heat to even feel warm. The single LED in my 3W maglite gets warm enough to feel the heat if I run it for a while and touch it , but even that wouldn't be a fire hazard. tl;dr- LEDs aren't nearly hot enough, except maybe the uber-bright ones, which would probably "burn out" and stop conducting before they were hot enough to set anything on fire.

Forgot about that....Ummm, I'll have to go with the sharpie idea.

Dry nail polish isn't terribly flammable, it's the solvent that is flammable. I'd be more concerned about light getting through--nail polish is supposed to be opaque. Sharpie seems like a better option. At least around here, most office-supply stores carry big boxes of a dozen or more colors of Sharpies. It's like Crayola crayons, but different. If you go that route, experiment with mixing Sharpies. The solvent in a second Sharpie will "re-wet" the first layer, and the colors blend surprisingly well. Just don't go over black with yellow, or you'll have smudgy yellow forever.

Actually, a lot of nail polishes are somewhat transparent. Making new colors by painting a second color over the first used to be my favorite thing to do as a preteen. If you only do one light coat, probably 90% of polishes will let at least half the light through. However, I'm talking about polishes of a decade ago. I'm sure there must be some one-coat new ones that would seriously dim your glow. I just did a test with an opaque pastel pink (on a 3mm cool-tone white LED since I didn't have any smt ones wired) to see if it would set fire. The bulb is now a very solid non-transparent pink. When on, the color is a little streaky, but it glows a lovely, diffused, baby pink that's about 80% of the brightness. It's been lit over an hour with no sign yet of explosion. Although I'm sure a smt would be more likely to burst into flame, but I could coat it with some clear electrical tape or epoxy first. Also, I think I'll find an art store and invest in some sharpies. I NEED that "pink lemonade" one, which on my screen is the same exact color as my nail polish test. If anybody already has a multicolor pack, please do some tests and take pictures for us! I'd take a shot of my pink polished one, but all I have is the terrible camera on my phone right now.