How to Build an LED Light Panel

A single, blue LED light isolated against a gray background.
  • 2-4 hours
  • Advanced
  • 50-200
What You'll Need
Marking tool
Portable drill
Drill bit
LED bulbs
Soldering iron and lead
Hot glue gun
Male plug
Single pole single throw switch

An LED light panel is a lighting source made of a flat sheet with light created by light emitting diodes, AKA, LEDs. The light is spread evenly through the panel’s distribution system.

As a semiconductor, a Light Emitting Diode (LED) converts electricity into light using less energy. LED lights are easy to handle and since they also save energy and last awhile, they are considered a good substitute for conventional fluorescent tubes and incandescent lamps for indoor as well as outdoor lighting; a perfect choice when it comes to cost and practicality.

LED light panels can be used for under-shelf or under-cabinetry lighting, for retail displays and signage, as office lights in drop ceilings, and as decorative accents for an improved and sophisticated indoor look. Gather your materials and follow these steps to make your own LED light panel.

Step 1 – Purchase Materials

Purchase a panel board, LED bulbs, and other necessary materials. You can find them in hardware stores.

Step 2 – Mark the Holes

Mark 50 holes in five rows of 10 holes each in the panel. Leave a four-inch space around the outer perimeter of the panel, and make sure there is a center distance between LED bulbs of approximately three inches. Steps in making a smaller LED light panel follow the same principles as when making the big ones. When assembling a bigger LED light panel, you need to consider the size of the panel board and how to position the holes for the LEDs to come up with a balanced output. The previously mentioned distances may remain the same.

Step 3 – Drill Holes into the Panel

Drill the holes according to the marks created using a portable drill and drill bit. Do it carefully and be sure to follow the planned distance for each hole, taking into account the diameter of the LED bulbs for a better fit.

Step 4 – Install Bulbs

Make sure that the tip of the LED bulbs extrudes through the surface by pushing the lights through the back of the panel. Do it slowly and cautiously. All bulbs should fit the holes well; do not force the bulbs from the back panel since it is likely that they will break.

Step 5 – Connect the LED Bulbs

If all the lights are already positioned into the panel, bridge the LED bulbs in parallel connection with the use of a soldering iron and lead, making sure to install resistors next to each bulb. Glue the plastic part of the plug to the panel to keep it from sliding around, and keep on pushing the rest of the bulbs into the holes until everything is in place. Then, double-check if bulbs are plugged and fitted tightly for safety.

Step 6 – Tap LED Bulbs to Power Supply

Tap the paralleled LED bulbs to the output of the converter. The input supply of converter is Alternating Current (AC). LED bulbs use a Direct Current (DC) supply.

Step 7 – Install Switch (Single Pole Single Throw Switch)

Install a single pole single throw switch to the cord of the converter's input supply. The switch serves as a medium of supplying electrical current to the LED panel.

Step 8 – Plug into AC Source

Connect the converter plug to the AC power source. You can now enjoy your "instant" LED light panel anywhere you choose.