Whether you wanted to add some backlit brightness to your kitchen, up the ante in your basement, or just wanted to be able to make your room different colors depending on your mood, LED’s are going to elevate the atmosphere. The only problem is that they arrive in long strips that are usually too long for the designated area. It would really help if you knew how to cut LED strips to make them work for you.
Cutting Led Strips
The first thing that you’re going to want to do is to make sure to plug in the lights so that you know they all work. To be super safe, go through all the different lighting colors to make sure they all show up the color that it says it is.
Then take the lights and measure them with the space you want to place them in. When you find a section that has to be trimmed, find the part of the strip that has the copper connection that has a dotted line with a scissor or just the dotted line. These are areas where it’s safe to cut the strip and it won’t disrupt the circuit pattern. It won’t cause damage so when you switch the colors, they all change.
While the measurement may not always be perfect, you’re going to want to find the section of the strip where cutting it would make it the most beneficial for the area you’re placing it.
Remember, measure twice (maybe even three times) and cut once. If you cut off too much then you won’t be able to use that strip unless you want to use a new strip connector or solder a new connector onto it.
When you cut the strip make sure to keep the line straight. If you cut diagonally then you might disrupt the circuit pattern and ruin the strip.
What Happens if I Cut it Too Short?
Let’s say that you did cut the connector too short. You have two options: buy and use a strip connector (the easier method) or you can solder a new socket onto the strip.
Strip Connector Method
This is the easiest method of the two. Start by taking a knife and cutting away the clear plating or silicone covers that are on the copper pads. Then take some rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab or small brush, to clean the strip. Make sure there’s no silicone or any leftover gunk on top of the copper connectors. If it’s not cleaned up properly then the strip won’t work. After it’s all cleaned, take the connector and make sure to match it up with the components of the strip. All the colors need to match their counterparts.
This method requires you to have a steady hand, and preferably some soldering experience. It starts off by melting the solder on the copper pads and creating a small puddle, then you’re going to want to line up the polarity. Black wire with the negative mark and red with the positive. When properly connected, check the LED strip to ensure it’s working. Make your way across the surface, slowly to make sure there are no air bubbles. Once done, connect the strip to its connector and plug it in, make sure it’s connected properly so the strip works.
Placing Led Strip Lights
Make sure the area you’re going to place them in is clean and dry. Measure the area to ensure the strip will cover it. When ready, tear off the adhesive backing slowly and only do a small portion at a time to make sure the strip goes on evenly.
What are the Benefits of Using Led Strip Lights?
They’re able to fit the space you need them for and don’t take up too much space. They’re also maneuverable and can wrap around corners. With their adhesive backing, it makes the installation process easier than many other colored lights options. Many of them can be found single-colored or multi-colored, plus they can also create some fun color sequences. Many also have a dim option on their controller or you can connect them to a home system to be able to control them through your own voice.
A fun experience with a few of them is how they are able to change color based on the music playing in the general vicinity. LED strip lights are able to cater to your own wants, it’s what adds to their appeal. A bonus is that if you need to make them longer you can just attach more strips, this process doesn’t involve cutting them.
How to Cut Led Strips: Conclusion
Whether you want to throw your own personal rave in the comfort of your bedroom, deck out your kitchen with sweet ambient lighting, LED lights are worth the fun. They’re customizable to your preference. Just make sure to cut accurately!
Written By Hannah Lindenberg