How to Use LED Strip Lights

Updated March 28, 2017

LED light strips are made for a variety of uses. Interior and exterior strips allow custom coloured lighting to windows, doors, cars, trucks or walls. Depending on your LED strips, power comes from 9-volt batteries or internal batteries much like those found in modern digital watches. Most LED strips allow you to cut custom lengths and sizes. Some LED strips have adhesive backs allowing you to place them onto clean surfaces.

Wash the surface onto which you want to place the LED strips. If attaching them to a car running board or bumper, use soapy water and sponges to clean the surface of grime and grit. Dry the surface using rags or paper towels. Clean any glass surfaces prior to adding the LED strips.

Measure out the distance you want LED lights added. Cut down the LED light strip using scissors or a knife. Measure twice, cut once. If your LED strips (and most have this) uses adhesive backing, peel off the tape from the back.

Place the LED light strip onto the surface, sticky side down. Use your fingers to push out any air-bubbles under the strip as you place it onto the surface.

Plug the red and black wires into the 12-volt battery tab, typically included with the LED strips and plug the tab onto the top of the battery to turn on the lights.


Some household strips come with 110 volt plugs instead of battery power. Make sure you do not cut the side of the strip with the 110 volt plug.

Things You'll Need

  • Warm soapy water and sponge
  • Rags
  • Utility knife
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About the Author

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.