Alex Suber from Oasis Church in Round Rock, TX brings us these awesome DIY fixtures.
From Alex: We have an extremely small auditorium with low drop ceilings, but want to have a modern feel for our worship experience. Since we launched our church we’ve had several different stage designs that everyone could tell were very DIY. The goal for this design was to do something that was a more professional look that we could keep for at least 6-9 months and one that was fully programmed into our lighting system.
I wanted to have LED bars that could be programmed individually and that would be independent of each other so that we could change the design easily if we wanted. We’ve used led strips in the past but I was never fully satisfied. I wanted something that was more wide and diffused.
After researching sites like this, I decided we would need to build the fixtures ourselves to get the effect.
Cost: Around $400
4- 10ft Metal Studs
1- DMX RGB Strip decoder
1- power supply
8- 5050 RGB LED strips
2- 1/8”x24”x48”HDPE plastic sheets
120ft of RGB extension wiring
Black spray paint
Black Gaff tape
Black electrical tape
Flat head screwdriver
Razor knife and extra blades
Heavy duty scissors
The first step was to create the housing for the strips. To do this we cut 4ft lengths out of the metal studs. Then we painted only the exterior a matte black. Leaving the inside silver helps with the reflection of the light. Then we cut 3.5”x48” strips of the HDPE plastic. This is what will cause the light to be diffused and will be the front of your fixture. Use a straight edge with a marker to mark your line. Then use a razor knife to cut the plastic. The HDPE strips should not be attached until the very end.
Next we placed the LED strips inside of the metal studs. We used the adhesive that is already on the strips. We used 16ft strips so we were able to put 4 rows of LEDs inside of each fixture. Make sure you keep these as evenly spaced as possible and that they will the full 3.5”. If not your fixtures will be brighter on the sides or in the middle instead of uniform.
Next we wired each fixture with 15’ of RGB extension cable. Depending on how your stage is setup you may need more or less but having extra is always helpful. For this step you will need wire strippers and electrical tape. Simply strip the wires on the led strip and connect them to the extension cables.
Next we placed the HDPE cover on each fixture. We used black gaff. This makes it easy for repairs if needed. You will also want to tape the top and bottom of the fixture to prevent light from leaking.
Lastly you need to wire your power supply, DMX decoder and fixtures. There are a lot of tutorials on this site and YouTube so I won’t go into depth. But please use caution. You are working with electricity.
That’s pretty much it. It’s a simple project but somewhat time consuming because you’re customizing the parts.
We gained inspiration from a variety of posts on this site and also from the stage design of the Cause Church in Kansas City.