How to Change the Color of an LED Light?

LED lights and LED strips are a wonderful source of lighting for a lot of various reasons. Yet, sometimes, you just want something different than their brilliant white light. So, can you paint a light bulb with a sharpie or anything similar?

In short – yes, absolutely. We’ll cover the main ways for how to change the color of an LED light below:

Painting LED lights with thin paper

If you’re wondering how to change the color of a light bulb with some colored paper, it’s actually very easy. All you need are your white LED lights, some tissue paper or another type of extra-thin paper that won’t dim the lights too much, scissors and some clear tape, and a few markets of your desired colors.

Then, just cut the paper in rectangles of the right size to cover your LEDs, color the paper with the markers in whatever color and pattern you want, and tape the paper onto the LED lights. Because LED light bulbs don’t really emit heat, this method presents virtually no fire hazard.

Painting LED lights with a marker

So, how to color light bulbs with no paper? Isn’t the surface of the bulb too smooth to just paint on top of it with a marker?

Indeed it is, which is why we used paper in the example above. However, there is one way you can do this with no paper at all and that’s by using (the poorly named in this case) sandpaper.

Note that, unlike the previous method, this one is permanent. So, only do this if you’re 100% sure you won’t regret the color change.

Here’s what you’d want to do – sand the entire bulb with the sandpaper. Be gentle as you don’t want to break the bulb nor do you want to thin it out too much. It should be easy to avoid these mistakes, however, as sandpaper is not that damaging. For the best and safest results, use sandpaper with a grit of anywhere between 200 and 400.

After you’re done, brush the dust off the bulb, pick up your favorite color marker, and start painting the not-so-smooth-anymore lightbulb. Don’t worry if you miss a spot, you can always fill it in with the marker.

Painting LED lights with nail polish

The above methods sound good but can you paint light bulbs with nail polish? Wouldn’t it present a fire hazard?

Depends on how you do it. The benefit of using nail polish on your LED bulbs is that you don’t have to sand the bulb – the nail polish will stick to it regardless of how smooth it is.

However, to avoid any fire hazard, you might want to add a gel or shellac top coat on top of the nail polish. Just apply whatever color polish you want, wait for it to dry completely, and then add the top coat over it.

Another specific of this method you have to keep in mind is that it will dim the light of the bulb more than the previous two methods. This isn’t necessarily a bad or a good thing, just something to keep in mind.


Blogger, editor, developer who loves green living. Interested in photovoltaics and solar lighting. Reviewing solar products since 2013.

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