LED lights are very popular these days. We use them for decorating our living space, and creative folks like photographers make use of these bulbs to add a certain vibe to the photoshoot.
However, since most LED bulbs typically come in white (cool or warm) color and the selection of colored options is pretty limited, people often ask whether it is possible to paint these lights.
So today we will tell you more about it. You will learn whether LED lights can be painted and how this can be done exactly. Also, we will explain what paint is considered the best for this kind of paint job since you need to follow certain precautions when painting LEDs, otherwise, you can end up with a disaster!
Can LED Lights Be Painted?
The good news is that LED lights can be painted. Hurrah! Now you can be sure that your next creative project will be a success since you will be able to get way more colors with these lights being painted.
In fact, LEDs are pretty easy and safe to paint. All you need to do is to make sure that this is done correctly. But the precaution rules are quite simple in fact:
- Use heat-resistant glass paint for painting your LEDs
- Avoid using flammable substances on them such as oil paint or nail varnish
- To get a diffused effect, remember to sand the bulb before applying the paint
Like this, you will be able to play with the colors of your bulbs, not only being able to choose from a wider range of options but also making them more affordable. See, white LED lights are pretty inexpensive. But colored ones can be rather pricey!
So if you know how to paint them correctly, you will manage to save a lot on your budget!
How to Paint Your LED Lights?
As we have already said, painting LED lights is pretty simple. Even if you have never done this before, there is no need to worry that you may fail. Just make sure you prepare the bulbs and get ready yourself properly, and you can immerse into the world of creativity and let your imagination work!
But if you are new to painting LED lights, we recommend you follow this step-by-step guide first. See, it will guarantee that your DIY bulb painting project goes smoothly:
- First of all, decide whether you want your lights to have a diffused effect. If you do, use fine sandpaper to lightly sand over the entire LED bulb
- If a diffused effect is not your priority, simply move on to the next step without using sandpaper
- Clean the bulb using a paper towel and a bit of rubbing alcohol to remove any dust or grease from the surface
- To get an opaque look, prepare your lights by covering them with paint primer to ensure better paint adhering
- Apply the paint to your LED bulb. Do it in thin layers and make sure you cover the entire bulb. No white light should be shining through!
- If you are applying multiple layers of paint, allow each layer of paint to dry thoroughly
- Before plugging your LEDs in, make sure the paint is fully dry on their surface
See? Everything is quite simple! Just remember to clean your bulbs thoroughly before you start painting them.
It is an essential step since clean bulbs will help paint to adhere to the slippery glass surface of the bulb much better. Plus, clean glass is a guarantee of a better and smoother paint coating without any imperfections.
How Safe Is It to Paint My LED Lights?
When someone is going to paint LED bulbs for the first time, the most common cause for concern is safety. How safe is it to paint LED bulbs? This is one of the most frequently asked questions out there. People are afraid that paint, when getting heated by the bulb, may emit harmful elements into the air that can lead to different health issues. Is it true?
There is indeed one issue that you should keep in mind should you decide to paint your bulbs. When you apply paint to a light bulb, the coat of paint acts as a layer of insulation, meaning that it makes it difficult for heat to escape.
This can be a problem since initially, the surface of a bulb is designed to serve as a heat dissipation device. When you switch the bulb on and it gets hotter, excess heat is released through the glass. If you add a layer of paint on top of it, it will cause heat to build up inside the bulb!
And if you are going to paint conventional bulbs, such as incandescents and fluorescents, this can be extremely dangerous! If they get too hot, the inside filament will snap, and the bulb will explode! The glass itself may also shatter or explode.
However, if you are using LEDs, it’s not going to be a big deal. See, LED lights also produce heat, but nowhere near as much as conventional bulbs! Nevertheless, you still need to keep in mind that heat can affect the way your LEDs work. By covering your bulbs with paint and allowing excess heat to build up inside of them, you make your LED lights gradually dim.
So what is the final verdict?
It is safe to paint LED lights, but it will shorten their lifespan. Even if the paint applied over your LEDs will make them reach a peak of their temperature, there will be no safety hazard because most LEDs are connected to a transformer that regulates the supply of electricity.
But you should never paint incandescent and fluorescent lights since it can be hazardous!
Anyway, if you feel uncertain about safety when painting LED lights, always stay on the safe side when it comes to electricals! Remember to unplug your LED bulbs before you begin painting and make sure that the paint is fully dry before you plug them back in.
What Is the Best Paint For LED Lights?
When it comes to paint, people often don’t know exactly what paint type will work on LED lights. Since these bulbs tend to heat up while working, folks are afraid that the paint coating will peel off due to heat exposure.
Quite often, those who want to try painting LED lights think about using regular acrylic paint that can be purchased from any craft store. But will that paint really work?
Well, we would say that with acrylic paint on LED bulbs, things can get pretty tricky!
See, acrylic paint is water-based. So basically, you should not be afraid of using acrylic on LED bulbs since it is absolutely safe. But you need to note that this paint will most likely get damaged during the process of bulbs’ use, for example:
- It can evaporate
- It may burn
- It will change its color when exposed to heat (mostly fade)
So if your goal is to just make your LEDs look more colorful for a short period of time, using acrylic paint is more than fine. But if you are looking for a long-lasting effect and vivid colors on your LED bulbs, this paint might not be the best option.
Also, please keep in mind that oil-based paints should never be used for painting LED lights! Oil is extremely flammable, so if you cover your LED bulbs with oil-based paint, you will turn them into a potential fire hazard right inside your home! But what shall you use instead, you may be wondering now?
The answer is hidden right on the surface: use heat-resistant glass paint. Just like acrylics, these paints are water-based so they pose no danger to you and your home when applied over LED bulbs.
However, since this paint contains heat-resistant chemicals, it means that it won’t degrade, peel off, or change its color when exposed to heat.
There is only one downside that comes with this paint type: heat-resistant glass paint will negatively impact lumen output. Your painted bulbs will be anyway dimmer than non-painted ones. And if your paint is extremely opaque, the light may not be usable at all!
What About Using Sharpie Markers On LED Bulbs?
Since painting bulbs appears to be rather tricky, people often start searching for alternative options instead of paint. And the good news is that there is one solution you can opt for: try to color your LED bulbs with Sharpie permanent markers or highlighters!
These markers are cheap and easy to find at any store. Plus, they come in a wide variety of colors (available in over 40 unique colors!) which makes this method a very simple way of customizing your bulbs. You can combine different colors on one bulb to create the ornaments and patterns you wish.
Besides, if you decide to change the design of your LED bulbs, you can always easily repaint them! The great benefit of using Sharpies instead of paint is that they can easily be wiped off with a paper towel and some rubbing alcohol. So you can always start painting a new pattern.
Now you know what paint is best to be used on LED bulbs and what alternative painting methods and techniques can be used if you need a temporary design.
How to Get Paint Off Your LED Lights Safely?
When you decide to paint your LED bulbs and you are using a temporary paint or a Sharpie marker on it, you can always wipe the pattern off and apply the new one if there is something that you don’t like about the existing design.
But what if you paint your LED lights for only a one-time event and you would like to remove the paint afterward?
First of all, there is no need to worry! It is possible to remove paint from the lights. All you need is to have the correct supplies and use the right procedure.
Use Nail Polish Remover to Wipe Paint Off
As you probably know, nail polish remover is a perfect formula for removing paint from glass surfaces. Since it is a kind of solvent that is specifically designed to remove tough materials such as plasticizers, synthetic resins, and nitrocellulose, it will easily cope with paint on glass.
In order to remove paint from your bulbs with acetone, use the nail polish remover with a clean microfiber cloth. Simply rub it onto the painted bulb and wait for a few minutes. Then, wipe the loosened paint off using a dry cloth.
Try Using Alcohol to Remove Paint From Your LED Bulbs
It’s not only nail polish remover that can help you remove paint from LED bulbs. Alcohol can also be a great help. To use it correctly and effectively, simply follow a few easy steps:
- Get a lint-free rag or cloth
- Soak it in rubbing alcohol
- Squeeze it thoroughly to remove any excess liquid
- Rub the alcohol-soaked rag/cloth over the painted surface of the bulb until you remove the paint completely
When using this method, avoid reusing the rags you soaked with alcohol! Instead, after you use them to remove paint, you’d rather wash them manually. Also, don’t put the rag you used for removing paint in a washing machine, and avoid putting clothes with paint in the washer!
It can be very hazardous since rubbing alcohol is highly flammable.
Well, now you know whether LED lights can be painted. We told you how paint may behave on these bulbs and what kind of paint you should use to make your bulbs last longer after you paint them.
Also, we explained what paint types should never be used on LED lights and why. With that in mind, you will easily avoid potentially dangerous situations that may appear due to neglect of the basic precautious measures.
Yes, yellow paint can make LEDs with cool white light shine warmer. It can pose certain danger if you paint them with oil-based paint sine it is very flammable! It depends on the paint you use. Acrylics, as well as Sharpies, won’t last long.
Frequently Asked Questions
⭐Will painting cool white LEDs yellow make the light warmer?
⭐Is painting LEDs dangerous?
⭐How long do painted bulbs last?
Yes, yellow paint can make LEDs with cool white light shine warmer.
It can pose certain danger if you paint them with oil-based paint sine it is very flammable!
It depends on the paint you use. Acrylics, as well as Sharpies, won’t last long.