how to cut led strips

How To Cut LED Strips

Whether you’ve decided to renovate your kitchen and want to add a touch of decadence with stylish strip lights, or you simply want to illuminate your awesome shoe collection, LED strip lights are a great lighting product to have at your disposal!

Traditional LED strips consist of LED emitters that are strategically placed on a thin circuit board.

However, the only problem is that most LED strips are sold in long strips that can reach up to 16ft.

Can they be cut? Will they continue to work? If you’re wondering the answers to these questions, you’ve clicked on the right article.

In short, yes, LED strip lights can be cut into smaller pieces so that you can create unique, custom lengths to suit your needs.

However, there are a few tips and instructions you’ll need to follow before you grab those scissors.

It’s important to make sure you do it right so you don’t make a mistake, and this guide will teach you how to cut your LED strips properly. Read on!

How do I cut my LED strip lights?

In a nutshell, your LED strip lights can be cut if you make sure that you stick to the correct, designated lines.

To simplify, many LED light strips are made up of a variety of different individual circuits.

Each ‘cut’ line on the strip will indicate to you where one circuit ends and where the next one begins, so as long as you make sure to not cut anywhere besides the lines, the LED lights will still work.

On the other hand, if you cut into any of the LED strip circuits, you will cause the circuit to cut out, and potentially the rest of the strips, too.

We know what you might be thinking, “Avoiding the circuit lines sounds easy” and while that may be true, you’d be surprised how easy it is to accidentally cut into a circuit and short it, especially if it’s your first time attempting it.

Regardless of the type of LED strip lights you have, the good news is that all kinds of LED strips can be cut into smaller, custom lengths to cater to your needs.

Going back to the circuits we were just talking about, you should be able to see either dotted or straight lines situated across the face of your LED strip.

At the end of each one of these lines, each circuit will be closed, which means that you can go ahead and make the cut without causing any damage to the circuit.

Top Tip: Typically, there’s a cutting lining every 10cm across the strip, however, this can vary from brand to brand.

So, to make sure that you’ve located the end of the cutting line, make sure to pinpoint the copper soldering pads at the bottom of the black line.

Cutting LED strip lights: a step-by-step guide

  1. First things first, before cutting into your strips, double-check that they are working correctly. By doing so, you’ll be making sure that any warranty you have covering your purchase won’t be made void by any cuts you make.
  2. Next, we recommend that you measure the area where you plan on situating your LED lights, and make sure that the cut you make measures up as close to the measurement as possible. Remember, you need to be mindful to not cut into any circuits, so select the cutting line that is closest to the measurement you’ve taken.
  3. After you’ve taken the measurements you need and located which cutting line is closest to the figure, it’s now time to begin cutting your strip to your custom length. You can choose to use either a knife or scissors for this step, you just need to make sure that they’re sharp.
  4. With your chosen cutting tool, carefully place one hand firmly onto the strip, and begin cutting with the other hand. Take your time while doing this and stay relaxed! LED strips are made with custom cutting in mind, so the worst you can do is short a circuit.
  5. Now that you have cut your strip into custom lengths, you’ll be able to go ahead and fit your strips into your selected location, making sure that you leave enough room to be able to connect the power source.

What happens if you accidentally cut the strip too short?

Let’s face it: mistakes happen! If you have discovered that you have cut your strips a little too short, fear not.

As long as you have followed our steps above and made sure to cut correctly along the cutting lines, then all you will need to do to rectify your mistake is reconnect it to another piece.

The only downside is that to do so, you will need to purchase a separate piece of equipment known as a ‘connector’ which will allow you to sync both circuits up.

All you will need to do is take the connector, insert each strip into either and then make sure that all of the components match so that the LED lights can work properly.

In addition to accidentally cutting a strip too short, another problem that you may encounter is a voltage drop.

This is where the LED strip will be functioning as normal, except each bulb will be operating at varying levels of brightness.

This can happen for a number of reasons, but the most common is due to the LED strips not having enough power due to a low power supply.

If this happens, we recommend that you fit additional power supplies to help boost the current.

Wrapping Up

See? It’s super easy to correctly cut your LED strip lights once you have learned the right way to do so!

However, if you’re still feeling a little unconfident about doing it yourself, you could always hire a local contractor to do the cutting for you.

If you’re ready to try it for yourself, though, just make sure to refer back to our guide before you do it so that you don’t miss any steps.