How to cut LED lights so they still work afterward?

Can You Cut Led Lights And They Still Work

“How can you cut LED lights and they still work?” – asked my neighbor a couple of weeks ago. Well, I will tell you all the secret techniques to successfully cut LED strip lights.


Firstly, please disconnect the LED strip from the power supply. Safety comes first as nobody wants to be electrocuted whilst cutting the LED strip lights.

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Secondly, when choosing to cut LED lights, look at the manufacturer’s warranty terms and conditions.

Sometimes the manufacturer may be sneaky and null the warranty is “the product was cut”. Confirm before the purchase that this is not the case if you know you will have to cut LED strip lights.

If the checks above are done and you are happy to proceed to cut LED lights, see below what the best ways are to do this.

Locate the marked lines on the light strip.

Most LED strip lights have straight or dotted lines in between the copper dots at regular intervals. The cut lines are put there for cutting LED strip lights with the thought that the buyer may need to make it shorter.

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Prior to taking scissors, determine how long of the ked slight strip you would need. Then use scissors, following the closest cutting line, to shorten the strip to the required length.

Cutting LED strips between the copper dots along the cutting line is the safest thing you can do – as electric circuits are fully closed there, using the cut line means no shock possibility and guaranteed working lights after cutting.

Sometimes, instead of dotted lines, the manufacturer can put a scissor logo on the LED light strip indicating cutting lines.

Whist cutting LED strip lights, hold your hand steady. However, be aware – if not cut straight, you may damage the electric circuits, and potentially the whole strip may be ruined if you accidentally cut the LED strip diagonally.

If there is no luck in finding scissors, a sharp knife can be a substitute. Use the knife to cut along the marked lines between the copper dots of the light strip – however, this would require some force, and if your hand slips and you do not follow the cutting line to the tee, you may cut the neighboring electric circuit and the LED strip light will no longer work.

Tip: Ensure to cut in a straight line along the cutting points to avoid destroying the fragile flexible circuit board and cut strip light safely.

Give the LED leftovers a second life.

If you cut LED strip lights previously, and you remember that the left piece is roughly the length you need – don’t waste money and buy other LED light strips.

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Instead, you can try to reconnect LED strip back together from two or more parts. There are two ways to do it. One is to purchase a light strip connector, or you can try and solder the ends yourself.

Join the light strips through connectors.

Special connectors are often sold along with LED light strips. If this is not your case, or you can’t find the original box, don’t worry – go online and search for LED strip connector cables.

Strip connectors are the easiest option to connect the LED strips – and hence, sometimes they are called “quick” connectors.

Quick connectors come in 2 options. They are different by number of pins. Choose 2-pin option if your LED strip has only one color. If the LED strip changes colors and has programmability, order a 4-pin connector.

Know the width of your light strip to buy the right item. LED strips are different in width and the connector should be wide enough for it – otherwise, the pins won’t align as expected.

Another good thing to check is that the chosen LED strip connector set has both female and male ports. Both may be needed to connect LED strip lights.

If you have a plastic connector, put the ends of the cut LED strip into the clips on both ends and lock it in place.

Don’t forget to do the polarity check. If you get the sides mixed up, the circuit will not work. Follow the battery common sense principle, + to +, – to -.

If you have a wired strip connector, this are designed to connect the LED lights to a power source. Plug one end of the strip lights into the connector and the part where the wires are – into the power supply of your choice.

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People often choose battery-powered boxes for those purposes, but you can use mains-powered sources too.

Tip: LED strip light connector cables can act as extenders, allowing to power the entire led lights strip from the same power source.

Soldering pieces together

By far, this is the hardest method to reconnect cut strip lights on the list here. Use this method only if you have prior experience with the iron or don’t mind having a couple of attempts and wasted LED lights strip at first.

Be very careful whilst working with soldering iron and take all the precautions. The iron can get extremely hot, thus work with gloves, choose a ventilated place, and test it on something non-meaningful to get a hang of the iron itself and the heat dispersion happening.


To get the job done, ensure you have the following before you cut LED strip lights:

  • Wire strippers.
  • Solder.
  • Soldering iron you are used to.
  • Some masking tape (or something heavy) – to hold the LED strip lights in one place whilst working with it.

Wipe your working bench before the start as you don’t want dust and debris to get into the LED light strip and cause trouble.

The process

To reconnect cut LED strips and join two pieces of the cut strips together, we need to tin them first – thus keep dabbing solder onto the LED strip’s copper pads. Repeat the process on both ends you want to connect.

Use wire strippers to strip some insulation off the ends of the LED light strip and expose the bare copper wire.

Now both tinned sections are exposed, and a connection can be made. However, check the polarity first – otherwise, the electrical circuit will not close off correctly and you may find out that in the end, your RGB light strip is no longer able to change color.

Align both LED strip light ends accordingly and apply heat to the tinned section, dragging the molten solder over to the adjacent bead.

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Let the LED strip lights cool down and check on the results after giving it at least an hour.

Tip: this way suits perfectly someone experienced who hopes to fix LED strip lights – as you can modify the lights simultaneously. However, even with the experience reconnecting cut LED strips using soldering proved tricky.

Keep an eye on the total length of the LED strip.

Now that you have learned the way to join two cut two pieces of strip light safely, you can be tempted to keep going on and on.

In short – that’s a massive safety hazard, so unless you are planning to upgrade the battery that powers it as well, don’t chain LED strips together just because you can.

Everything has a limit, and this is especially true for cut LED light strips. A rule of thumb is that 12V LED light strips should not be greater than 10 feet, and 24V light strips – no more than 15 feet.

If these limits are not complied with, you may have to deal with voltage drops which will lead to the entire LED strip switching off.


Here are some answers to the most popular questions asked if you want the LED strip lights cut.

How do you make LED lights work after cutting?

Once you measure the length required for the LED strip light, locate the closest cutting point on the LED strip and cut LED strip lights along that cut line. Remove the adhesive strip on the back and tightly attach the sticky surface of the back of the cut LED lights to the place where you want the LED light strip to be.

Can you connect LED lights together after cutting?

Yes, you can easily reconnect cut LED strips back together. Refer to the guidance above to find the best way for you to join cut LED strip lights together.

Can you take down LED lights and reuse them?

Yes, apart from it losing stickiness there shouldn’t be an issue. To shorten the LED strip lights again, you follow the cutting lines on the strip once more. The cut line marks the safest place to cut the LED strip to shorten it.
If you see no more cut lines around, then it is not advisable to cut LED strips again.


The easiest option is to try to buy just enough for the job needed instead of sorting out how to cut LED light strips or buying LED light strips of different sizes. However, if that’s not possible, use the methods above to help you create the LED strip setup of your dreams.

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