The Under Cabinet Lighting Project

For Christmas this year, wanted to give us a bit of a upgrade in our kitchen. The plan was to put in under-cabinet lighting and a new backsplash.

The lighting was the first thing to do. We decided to do LED strips. First, they don’t get hot like halogens. Second, they last forever. Third, they look cool.

We went with cabLED lights that you can find at Home Depot. Couple of notes about this brand of lights. The light is awesome. It’s bright and it doesn’t look blue or yellow. It’s perfect. And of all the LED strips out there, they were the most economical when it came to getting lights that’s were water-proof. At least water resistant and seeing how these were going to be in the kitchen – that was kinda important. They were white so it matched our cabinets. These also have a dimmer. The package said it’s possible to drive up to 14 feet with one driver so keep that in mind.

You’ll need to pick up some double sided stick tape. 1/4″ width is perfect. These lights don’t have the adhesive on the back and honestly that is just as well. The other lights that do have it don’t seem to stick all that well.

One more thing about these lights – the connectors are tricky to deal with. The theory is to cut the light strips on the marked arrow then shove the ends into the connector as far as you can and then crimp it down. Great theory.

Reality bites sometimes. After hours of messing with them, I finally figured out a little trick. There is a piece of rubber inside these connectors, like a sleeve. Rip those out. It’s just easier this way. Then when you cut the strip, get a razor and shave the edge of the strip very straight until you seen the silver contacts peeking through the white insulation. Finally, shove that strip as far as you can into the connector and use pliers to crimp the clip down.

Sidenote: I called their customer service line in the middle of this because I had one section that would not light up. This is where having a voltage meter helped. cabLED ended up sending me new connectors and a new section of lights for free – they worked like a charm.

Of course, before we get to all that you’ve got to figure out where you are going to get your power. I put in a switch and ran a plug into the cabinet to hide my plug. You can see it here:

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Lay out your lights. I used some small wire to wire around the kitchen sink and soldered it to the connecters. TEST the lights. All of the lights. Before you put double stick tape on it. Before you hang them up. Basically, get your lights exactly where you want them, test them, then use the double stick tape.

Here are a couple of pics. Backsplash project is next.

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