RGT Build Along, Part 2(ish): Let There Be (Amateurish) Light

My inspiration for the lights. From the Lowes website.

Okay, as promised, I’ll do my best to explain what I did to install light into the CC. Since the CC is a front opening kit, I could risk having the electrical hot mess wires and the battery residing in the back. So it now it boiled to figuring how to use the LED bulbs to light up the rooms.  Then I thought: why not use the LED bulbs and make recessed lights?

Using a ruler and pencil, I took each floor of the CC and marked where I wanted the recessed lights to be placed. Then I took the pieces outside and used BK’s power drill to drill holes in the areas I marked.  Because the floor/ceiling of the CC were made of MDF, I initially used a 1/4″ drill bit just so I can create the holes. I was a little worried that if I went for a bigger bit, I might rip the floor apart — or worse, break it completely.

Once the holes were drilled, I used a box cutter and cut some grooves to direct the wires to the back wall of the CC kit. From there I marked the back wall and drilled holes so that wires can go through the back. Wish I could say the whole carving the grooves was easy…but man, cutting MDF is such a pain!

Example of the grooves. You can see the red/black wires in the grooves before they are fed through the hole leading to the back of the CC.

Example of the grooves. You can see the red/black wires in the grooves before they are fed through the hole leading to the back of the CC.

After the grooves were completed, I had to figure out how to replicate the trim that you see in most recessed lights. Had initially thought I’d have to make a trip to Lowes and maybe use flat metal washers. But a quick rummage in my craft drawer provided me with a better alternative.

White Grommets = Recessed Lighting Trim

White Grommets = Recessed Lighting Trim. Please ignore the meat claw that is my hand.

I must have bought these grommets awhile back for a long-forgotten scrapbooking project. Good thing I didn’t put these in the recycling bin — the center is big enough to house the LED bulb (which is about 5 mm wide), and the white flat ring looks exactly like the trim you see in recessed lighting.

The installed grommets.

The installed grommets.

So I took the drill, switched the bit to a 5/8″ size, and redrilled the holes so that they’d be big enough for me to slide the grommets into place. The bit turned out to be slightly bigger than the shaft in the grommet, but a thick smear of Tacky Glue seemed to do the trick and secure them in place.

The finished product in one of the ceilings.

The finished product in one of the ceilings.

Once the grommets were secured (and the LED bulbs slipped into place), it was time to start attaching the wires to their respective battery clips. (see video on how it’s done). Each floor had between 7-8 lights, so I divided them between two battery clips. Hence, the whole CC called for six 9V batteries to power them. According to the kit, the each battery should provide up to 50 hrs of power to the lights. But since I’m not planning to leave the lights on….we should be okay. Besides, I got the batteries at my local Dollar Tree so if I need to replace them…well, I can easily get more.

I had thought of taking photos of how the wires look behind the CC…but then thought otherwise. It’s pretty messy and cluttered. And given it’s my first time using LED lights, I’ll need to practice some more before I start snapping photos. The most important thing though — is that wiring worked, and my house now has lights.

Behold! The CC when lit.

Behold! The CC when lit.

The interior. I put electrical tape over the grooves so the light is directed downward.

The interior. I put electrical tape over the grooves so the light is directed downward.

Close up of the lights.

Close up of the lights.

Yet another closeup.

Yet another closeup.

Am pretty pleased with myself. Though again, I need alot of practice to get this right.

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2 thoughts on “RGT Build Along, Part 2(ish): Let There Be (Amateurish) Light

    • Thanks! The grommets were purely accidental. If you want to try this on your projects, let me know. I found more of the white grommets in my craft drawer and I really doubt I’ll use them all. But the LED kits are definitely worth playing around with!

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