I made this stained glass panel several years ago. I framed it in an oak panel.
I am out of window space to display it [it is roughly 17 wide by 27 high], so I want to make and LED lighted display for this panel.......so I can display it on a wall.
The only other stained glass panel I have lit with LED was the Bluebird stained glass panel that is installed in the Community Center building in Chatsworth, Illinois.
The bluebird panel is quite a bit smaller than the Old City Hall panel.
I paid $16 to amazon back in march of 2018 for this strip light, including transformer and dimmer. This unit is no longer available.
This unit is the same length as the Bluebird LED strip light, but has a whopping 300 lumens/ft compared to only 72 on the bluebird unit. The bluebird unit was only $16 and you got the transformer and dimmer with it. This superbright unit is $40 plus cost of transformer and dimmer !!
I decided to make a spreadsheet to help properly design the LED lighting system for the Old City Hall panel.
Because the old city hall panel is a lot bigger than the Bluebird panel, if I could buy the old LED strip light, the chamber would only have about 1/2 (or 0.54) of the light as measured by lumens per square foot of panel.
If I buy the super dooper unit with 300 lumens/foot, I get 2.24 times the light on the old city hall panel versus the bluebird. If I bought 2 of the old units, the light level would be about right, but I would have to deal with 2 transformers and 2 dimmers.
Regardless of which LED strip light system I pick, I think it will fit regardless of the system, as long as I have the same depth I had on the bluebird light.
I had issues with the LED's showing too brightly if the box is the same size as the stained glass panel. For old city hall, I want the LED's outside of the edges of the SG panel. I can do this a couple of ways. I could have a 2-level expanded box design, or do a different design. I think the different design will be simpler to make and work better.
A cross-section of the new design is shown below.
I checked the bluebird box design, and it had 3-9/16" available for the LED strips. I will increase the width of the side pieces on the new design to 3-1/4", which is max I can get from a standard pine 1x4.
It includes transformer and dimmer.
The other unit with 600 vs 300 LED's is $40 without power supply and dimmer !!
If this one does not have enough light, could use it on smaller SG panel, and buy more expensive one for old city hall SG.
It will be interesting to see if my Excel spreadsheet, which is based upon a lumens/square foot of stained glass panel, actually works or not. As I stated above, if this is not enough light, then I can use it on a smaller size stained glass panel.
My spreadsheet assumes the LED lights were max'd out with respect to the dimmer on the Bluebird panel. I don't remember what dimmer setting I used on that project. It could be it was not 100% on the Bluebird panel, and therefore might work ok on my larger old city hall panel.
I started with the front frame .I used 45 degree angle joints, but I used Kreg pocket screws on the back side, with 2 screws per 45 degree joint. I tried to make sure the pocket started at least 1/4" inside the outer edge, because then it will be hidden by the inner box.
I just got the front frame glued up, when I realized I made the front frame too wide at 3.25 instead of 2.5 inches !! It wasn't dry yet, so I removed the Kreg pocket screws, table sawed the width down to 2.5 inches, and reglued. I was only able to fit in 1 pocket screw per corner, but that is ok.
This clamp works really great for these types of projects, but it is always a pain to wrestle with it and get it in the right position. I used it on both the front frame and the back box.
This method worked fine. I ended up making the first and second level spacers both 5/16" thick, so I could leave the planer thickness setting alone. I ripped 3/4" thick pine in half, then ran it through 1 time on the planer.
As I thought about it, I will hold the back on with round headed screws. If I make the groove the same depth as the 3/16" luan, the screw heads will stick out and could possibly scratch the walls. If I made it 3/8" deep, the top of the screw head should be below the outer lip of the frame.
On the bluebird project, I drilled about a 1/2" diameter hole in the box and slipped the wire through that. This new one is different in that I had to put a notch in the back of the box for it to work.
The new LED kit came with a few plastic straps/screws..........I had enough left from the Bluebird project to finish it. This 16.4 foot strip made 2 complete wraps around the inside with about 2 inches more left.
I drilled 2 holes, 1/4" diameter in the top, to let out heat..........even though LED's are not supposed to make any heat :)
I was really nervous about not having enough LED light, but this project came out perfectly !!!!!! It is great at full dimmer strength, and is still ok as you apply the dimmer.
This project turned out perfectly !!
I plan on adding LED light boxes to more of my stained glass projects, so I can display them on one of my basement walls.