Posted January 29, 2016 by Gavin Hoey in Articles

Make a simple LED Background

All sorts of random things can be turned into an amazing  portrait background but last year I was shown something called the Pixel Stick which looked amazing. It was a Kickstarter backed project that combined LED’s and long exposures in a way I’ve never seen before. Although the pixelstick was out of my budget the basic idea wasn’t.

My low tech LED stick took just a few minutes to make and worked amazingly. Take a look at the Adorama TV video I made with the spectacular Mark Wallace to see for yourself.

I’ve had loads questions all asking the same thing… How do you make my LED stick?

eBay proved to be the perfect place to start my search. There are loads of low cost LED’s on the market and I found a 2 meter roll of multi-coloured LED’s complete with battery box and controller for about £17.00.LED-Setup

Each LED is actually several coloured LED’s clustered together which turn on or adjust their brightness to change the colour. The controller is very basic but allows you to set the colour, brightness and any effects such as flashing or fading through the spectrum.


The LED strip is very flexible and sealed inside clear silicone (or something like it), so I found a spare bit of 1.8m timber and attached the LED strip to that. There’s adhesive on the back of the strip but I just used a few rubber bands to hold it place. Just make sure the bands don’t cover the LED’s!


Then it’s just a matter of attaching the batteries and choosing a mode. Some colours worked better then others as did some modes. The key as always is to experiment and have some fun!

Gavin Hoey