Built-In Entertainment Center: Lighting

Built-In Entertainment Center: Lighting: how to install tape lighting under shelves

How we installed LED tape lighting under our bookshelves.

We got a quote about getting LED tape lighting installed and while I'm sure they would've done a much more put together job, it was out of our price range. I found this tutorial explaining how to DIY the project so we decided to try it... my husband saw it and didn't read through fully because he knows how to solder... not sure how much we did similar, but I'll explain in the dumbed down way I understand it. This would be great for under kitchen cabinets too and if I recall would be cheaper than what we bought in our condo kitchen.

The following items were purchased from Amazon for this project:
  • LEDwholesalers 16.4 Feet (5 Meter) Flexible LED Light Strip with 300xSMD2835 and Adhesive Back, 12 Volt, Warm White 3100K, 2026WW-31K: $11.88 (x2)
  • AC Power Adapter with 3-Prong Plug 12 Volt 4 Amp with 5mm DC Output Jack, 3228: $10.99 (1)
  • My husband also bought 100' of 24G Speaker Wire for $6.97
  • We had all the equipment for soldering so we didn't need to purchase that. (wire strippers, wire cutters, solder, flux, soldering iron)

    Total Price: $41.72
By purchasing using the above links, you support my blog. Thank you!

This is what the tape lighting looks like off the roll.
My husband, showing how the wiring is split so it can run
to the two different bookshelves.
This is the beginning of the set of lights which
plugs into the AC adapter. He cut a short strip
of the light strip, then soldered the wires so
they'd would split to both bookshelves.

Soldering 101

We put some soldering flux on with a toothpick.
Here he's touching the solder (the wire) to the
"dots" on the end to give himself something to
attach the wire to.  

We realized we shouldn't be doing this on our
granite counters and grabbed a piece of wood
to put underneath. I used a piece of masking
tape to keep it still. Here's my husband,
connecting the wire to the "dots" of solder
to form the connection between the wire
and the light strip. He did this with every strip
of lights. So this part attached to the AC adapter,
he split this wire to go to two separate wires (one
for each bookshelf). Each wire ran through the
cabinets (see how we drilled holes in my electric
post) and ran up to the bookshelf. Once wire got to
where we were installing the strip lighting, he attached
(using soldering) another strip of lights that then was
"taped" above the shelf so it'd shine down. On the other
end of the light strip, he'd connect another wire so he could
run that up to the next shelf through a small hole he drilled.
And so it continued until he got to the top of the shelves.
This means the drilled holes are on opposite sides for each shelf.
This is how he split the wires for the beginning of the lighting, near to the AC Adapter.

(from Daddy B) The speaker wire is 2-conductor wire, meaning there are two wires stuck together. Each wire is two different colors (in this case copper/silver). The objective of the splitting is to divide 1 of each wire into two. Simply explained, you have to match the end of the wire coming from the power source to the ends of two other wires (matching all the colors). There are several ways of doing this, one easy way without soldering is to use wire caps. With a wire cap, you just twist the wires you want to connect together and put the cap on by pretending the wires are a screw and you are twisting/screwing the wires into the cap. In our case, the caps we had on hand weren't small enough for the 24 AWG speaker wire, so we used some solder first, added the caps, and added electrical tape.


He drilled holes tucked into the corners of each bookshelf so the wires could run up along the side, but mostly remain hidden. Then he used a staple gun (my really cheap one I got at the craft store) to staple them in place so they wouldn't show.


Picture from bottom up. 



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DIY Danielle: Built-In Entertainment Center: Lighting
Built-In Entertainment Center: Lighting
Built-In Entertainment Center: Lighting: how to install tape lighting under shelves
DIY Danielle
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