Can you cut LED strip lights? The answer is yes, but there are a few things to consider before cutting led strip lights.
LED strip lights come in very long reels. They can get cut down if they are too long to install. Most of the time, they will still work if you cut them correctly.
It is possible to get LED strip lights cut by a professional but, if you follow this guide you will get the answers on how to do it fast and safely.
Can You Cut LED Lights and Especially LED Strip Lights?
LED strip lights will still work if they are cut. It is okay to cut the LED strip as long as you follow the lines that show where it is supposed to be cut. You must not ever cut another spot on the strip because then all of the lights on that circuit will go out.
Whether you’re looking to illuminate your kitchen cupboards or your staircase, cutting LED strip lights is a simple solution.
LED strips are liked for their versatility. They are a series of LED emitters put onto a narrow, flexible circuit board.
Cutting along a straight line sounds simple, right? You might be surprised to find out that this is not actually the case and many people make mistakes when they do it. To help you and keep your lights in good condition, here is an easy-to-follow guide on how to cut LED strip lights (or reconnect two separate pieces).
LED lights are not all the same. They can be different colors, flexible or rigid, some are waterproof, and some LED strip lights are designed to be used in humid conditions.
They have in common that they can be cut to fit however you need them to be.
Learn how to cut LED strips and what you should do if it does not go well.
How to cut LED strip lights
At some points, the LED strip will have a straight or dotted black line.
Circuits are closed at these points, so it is safe to cut your LEDs without any damage.
What is a cutting line?
Cutting lines will be different on each LED strip. A common rule is that cutting lines will be every 3 LEDs. If there are 30 LEDs per meter, the cutting line will typically be every 10cm.
If you are cutting a line, there should be copper soldering pads on either side. These pads will look the same as each other. You can use them to tell if you have found the right line.
So If you found two copper dots, then you’ve found the cut lines and this is the place where you should cut.
The “cutting points” are clearly marked with a straight line
Will the led light strip still work if you cut it in half?
Yes, both sides of your LED light strip will work once you cut them. This is because the point where the circuit stops is a place safe to cut without damaging it.
Each section is a circuit. You can cut it on which cutting point you want, but make sure that your cut is on the cutting point.
This is good news. You don’t create any more scrap and you can still reuse your other strip.
How To Cut the Strip Light Safely
LED lights can be customized so that they are the length you want. Here is a guide on how to do it step by step:
Test the lights before cutting
You should start by testing your lights. This can be done by checking that they work. This is important. If you cut or solder the wires, your warranty will be void and you won’t get a refund if something goes wrong later on.
Length of your led strip
Next, you will need to decide how long your LED light needs to be. To do this, measure where you want the light to go and then make that measurement accurate.
When you are done measuring, choose a cutting line on your LED strip that is closest to the measurement of where you wanted it to be.
What to cut the strip lights with?
To cut led lights you can use a pair of scissors or a craft knife (Stanley knife).
Cut precisely along the cut line with a sharp knife or pair of scissors. Take your time and remember that LED strips are designed to be cut, so you’re not going to get a shock.
Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the LED strip. It is designed to be cut, so you will not get shocked.
You need to decide how you are going to connect the LED strip with the power source. Most people have a pre-fitted socket, but if you cut off the LED strip, then you will need a new one.
You can solder a new socket on the strip or use a strip power connector.
Can you reattach a LED strip light that has been cut in two?
What happens if you cut the strip too short?
It is possible to reconnect the two pieces but we will get into that later. There are many things you can do to reconnect the two pieces of LED strips.
The simplest one by far is to use a connector to connect your strips together. Connectors are easily available from retailers and they come in a range of different shapes, namely right angles, T-taps and there are also ready-made sets available with everything you need.
How Do You Reconnect Cut Strip Lights?
Strip connectors are the easiest way to connect the strips. You need to cut away the clear plastic on the copper pads with a knife first.
Then, just insert the strip into the connector, making sure that they match.
Soldering LED strip lights together
A second way to connect the strip is to use solder. A soldering iron is used and old wires. You melt the solder to form a little puddle and make sure that you line up the polarity too.
The black wire should line up with the negative line, and the red wire should line up with the positive mark.
To strip the wire, use wire strippers. Strip off about half an inch of the casing. Twist the end of the wire to join all of the frayed ends and attach it to a solder puddle.
Testing the lights
Once the connection has been made, plug the lights into a power supply and make sure they work.
I cut the LED strip but it is not working. What should I do?
What to do if you cut your LED strip and it does not work.
First of all, don’t panic. The strip is most likely still ok. We just need to identify the problem and why there is no electrical signal.
If your lights are not lit up, double-check that they’re plugged in and turned on.
Customizing the length of your LED strips may sound easy to do and not complicated. But it is possible to make some mistakes that can stop them from working.
If you make a mistake, check whether your lights were designed so they could be cut.
Was the LED made to be cut?
If your LEDs are not working after they were cut, check if they were made to be cut. If they weren’t made to be cut, but you still cut them anyway, then the damage has been done. In these lights, the circuit runs all the way through them so cutting them will have produced permanent damage.
If your strip was made to be cut, you need to make sure you have cut in the right place.
Cutting outside line
Cutting outside of the cutting line will kill a circuit. So you have to cut back to the closest cutting line and make sure to cut along with the line.
Issues with putting strip lights pieces together
There are some other issues that you will notice, but they are not related to the cut. They are more about how you put the pieces together.
Different brightness at each end
If your LED strip setup is working but is a different brightness at each end, it means that the voltage going through it has dropped.
If the LED strip is 12V, it should not go more than 10 feet. If it is 24V, then it can’t be more than 15 feet. This will prevent the voltage from dropping and make sure that you have enough on each strip.
The RGB LED Strip is not working
The strip is not changing colors when it should. This happens because you connected the wires incorrectly. To fix this, just switch the connection around and reconnect it to make sure that you have lined up the polarities correctly.
Can you Cut and Connect LED strip lights? Yes, absolutely!
Cutting led strip lights is a straightforward project that can be completed with minimal effort. With the right tools(scissors, knife, adhesive) and following these guidelines, you’ll have your LED strips cut to size in no time at all!