Jeremi Lamberson from GracePoint in Valparaiso, Indiana brings us this these cool DIY LED lights.
This design was inspired by Sean Bolinger from Christian Faith Center in Federal Way, WA and was used for their Christmas Service. They ended up taking 2×4’s and building frames 2 feet tall by 4 feet wide. They added a 1×3 furring strip to give them a 1 inch lip that concealed the LED light strips. They painted their 2×4 frames with a flat black paint that you can get from any local hardware store. Once those were dry, they tacked LED strip lights purchased from Amazon. The shortest length was 16 feet, which you can cut down to length if you prefer, but they simply doubled up the bottom to give the light more pop. The final touch for the frames were adding a white Coroplast back to really bring out the color of the lights. You can tack the LED lights in the frame any number of ways. They simply stapled them to the wood. If you choose to go this route you have to be careful that the staples are wide enough and that you don’t damage or short any of the strips as they found out the hard way.
They used DMX decoders to tie into their current light rig which allowed them to do some chases and effects with them. They had a total of 18 boxes which they used two 24 channel DMX decoders powered by 400 watt power supplies each. They used two 4 channel DMX decoders with 100 watt power supplies to each for the last 2 boxes. The LED lights were connected to the decoders using thermostat wiring as it allowed to keep wiring simple (it had white, red, green, blue and yellow wires, they doubled up the white and yellow for power).
To hang them, they simply used threaded rod cut to length, washers, and nuts. By using the threaded rod and nuts it allowed them to make simple adjustments to making sure their set was level.
The wood and paint you can pick up at any local hardware and lumber supply store. The cost for pain and wood ran them about $300. Thermostat wiring ran about $75 in a spool of 250 feet so obviously your need and length would vary your cost. The lights and decoders they picked up on Amazon. Lights were $13 per 16 foot line. The 24-channel decoders cost $170 a piece and the 4 channel dmx decoders ran $28 a piece. The power supplies we got from LED wholesaler. The 400 watt supplies ran $70 a piece and the 100 watt were $27 a piece. Together they spent about $1200. But it also allowed them to expand their lighting rig for future sets and stage designs.
Special thanks to Sean from Christian Faith Center for taking time to talk them through the logistics of the LED lights and DMX decoders.