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How to make a light disc feature

Adam_W
Valued Contributor

Difficulty: Beginner

This simple project lets you create a custom-made piece of modern wall-art – an LED light disc that you can adjust the colour of to suit your themes and moods.

 

You can customise the look of the front of your light-disc by using melamine panels in any number of colours or textures. An alternative (as we did) is to use natural timber and oil or stain to suit your décor.

Video Tutorial

Steps

Step 1

Clamp your front (larger 600mm) disc down and use the sander to take off the outward facing sharp edges. Ensure your work surface is clean of debris and material which may scratch the face before flipping disc over.

 

Locate a cut point on your light strip that allows the strip to be wrapped completely around the perimeter of your (smaller 450mm) rear disc.

Use sharp, heavy-duty scissors to carefully cut the light strip at the desired point.

 

Save the off-cut as your strip likely came with joiners, this allows you to connect the cut length to another light strip in future should you wish.

 

Step 1.1 sand off sharp edges.jpgStep 1.2 measure light strip.jpgStep 1.3 find the cut point.jpg

Step 2

Position the power and control unit on the back disc and mark around it and its leads. The lead connected to the actual strip light needs to poke out far enough for the light strip to easily sit flat on the disc edge. Leave a little room on each side for air circulation and make sure you account for the mains connecting plug. This spot becomes the bottom of your disc.

 

Drill clearance holes in each corner of the marked area, these clearance holes allow you turn corners with your jigsaw. Use jigsaw to cut out. Position control unit and leads in cut-out area to check sizing.

 

If your plan to control your light strip with its included IR remote control then the IR sensor needs to be visible. In most cases this will require drilling a hole through your backing disk and main disc of a size suitable for the IR sensor to push through. You will want this to be a snug fit. If you only plan to use an app to control the light disc you do not need to do this.

 

Step 2.1 Position and mark for control unit.jpgStep 2.2 drill clearance holes in corners.jpgStep 2.3 check size is correct.jpg

Step 3

On the rear of your front disc, measure and mark the centre of the disc using tape and square. Use the pilot hole sized drill bit to carefully drill a hole halfway into the disc.

 

Cut a length from your timber moulding a little longer than the radius (half of the diameter) of backing disc. We cut ours to 250mm. Around 10mm in from one end, drill a clearance hole all the way through. Position with drilled hole over the hole drilled in the front panel and drive a screw in so that the piece is held firmly and flush but can still be rotated around the screw. Measuring on top of the piece outwards from the screw head mark for your radius (225mm for a 450mm disc). Rotate this radius marker with pencil held at 225mm point to create the positioning circle. This is easier and more accurate than trying to position the disc, repeatedly measuring to check centre while holding to mark.

 

Apply a generous amount of adhesive to one face of the backing disc and then position inside marked circle pressing down firmly.

 

Use a generous number of screws to secure rear disc. Ensure you do not overdrive otherwise you may pierce the front face.

 

Step 3.1 measure and mark for centre of the front disc.jpgStep 3.2 use radius marker to mark for rear disc.jpgStep 3.3 apply adhesive and firmly position.jpgStep 3.4 Screw down.jpg

Step 4

If using unsealed timber use paint or oil to seal the rear of the discs. This helps to prevent cracking or bowing. Avoid getting any paint or oil onto the side edge of the rear disc where your light strip will be affixed.


Once rear has dried flip over and paint or oil front of the disc if required.

 

Step 4.1 Seal rear of discs.jpgStep 4.2 Seal or paint front of disc.jpg

Step 5

Once the paint or oil has dried, turn disc back over. Measure a line straight up from the control unit cut-out to approximately 50mm down from the top edge of the backing disc. Position and fit the hanger. This process will vary with the type of hanger you use.

 

Attach double-sided, self-adhesive pads that came with your light strip to back of control unit. Position control unit in cut-out and press on firmly to secure. Starting from cut-out end, remove backing strip from adhesive on back of light strip and press onto edge of backing disc ensuring there are no ripples or lumps. Aim to keep the edge of the light strip flush with the rear of the front disc. Work you way around until you’ve come back to the cut-out. Any overlap can run across the gap and onto the start of the strip.


Cut a section of 20mm x 8mm moulding around 100mm long. Note that the moulding you selected should be approximately the same thickness as your hanging mount will stand your disc off from the wall, in our case approximately 8mm. If hung without a packer the disc will be tilted on the wall, not flat and light-spill won’t be even.

 

Pre-drill either end of the packer and then screw it in place towards the bottom of the disc across the cable outlet of the control box cut-out. This will also help to keep cables tidy.

 

Step 5.1 Find top centre and attach hanger.jpgStep 5.2 Attach light strip.jpgStep 5.3 Attach packer.jpg

Step 6

Decide on height and position and attach your hanger plate to the wall. Ensure you use fasteners suitable for the wall and the load. The hanger system we used has a level bubble built in to make it easy to accurately position.

 

You can now hang your new light disc and switch on. If using the app to control follow the instructions from the light strip box to pair the light with the app. This will give you complete control over colour, light levels and timers.

 

Step 6.1 Position hanger on wall.jpgStep 6.2 Hang your new light disc.jpgStep 6.3 Finished.jpg

Materials

  • 600mm x 18mm FJ round Teak panel (front disc)

  • 450mm x 17mm FJ round pine panel (rear disc)

  • 2m Smart LED light strip. Use full RGB if you want colours, not just white hues. Must be a strip that can be cut at pre-spaced intervals

  • Wall hanging hook (we used a 125mm picture hanging rail kit)

  • Fast-grab construction adhesive (small tube)

  • Screws, 25mm or 30mm long

  • Short length of timber moulding. The dimensions required will vary with your wall hanger. This timber works primarily as a spacer to keep the disc sitting even on the wall. We used an off-cut that was approximately was 20mm x 8mm

  • Oil, stain or paint as desired (optional).

Tools

  • Tape measure and large square

  • Drill Driver with bit for screws and drill bits suitable for pilot and clearance holes for screws and one large enough to create clearance holes for a jigsaw blade

  • Jigsaw

  • Pencil

  • Paintbrush or roller (optional, only required if painting/oiling)

  • Quick release clamps, 1 or 2 of medium size.

Images

Step 1.1 sand off sharp edges.jpg

Step 1.2 measure light strip.jpg

Step 1.3 find the cut point.jpg

Step 2.1 Position and mark for control unit.jpg

Step 2.2 drill clearance holes in corners.jpg

Step 2.3 check size is correct.jpg

Step 3.1 measure and mark for centre of the front disc.jpg

Step 3.2 use radius marker to mark for rear disc.jpg

Step 3.3 apply adhesive and firmly position.jpg

Step 3.4 Screw down.jpg

Step 4.1 Seal rear of discs.jpg

Step 4.2 Seal or paint front of disc.jpg

Step 5.2 Attach light strip.jpg

Step 5.3 Attach packer.jpg

Step 6.1 Position hanger on wall.jpg

Step 6.2 Hang your new light disc.jpg

Step 6.3 Finished.jpg

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