Stage Designs

LED Boxes

Ken Leslie from Lakeside Church in St. Clair Shores, MI brings us this design to bring color boxes to the back of the stage.

The design started with the desire to provide various color options for the back of the stage, without a lot of light bleed onto other aspects such as the projection screen. To accomplish this, these boxes were crafted with LED tape on the inside of each contained box. The boxes were also built with the intention of changing up the layout on the back wall for variation between teaching series.

Each box was constructed out of 1”x4” Pine boards, cut to form a framework for the box. For this specific design 20” frames proved to make the most efficient use of all materials, as well as provide for multiple design ideas for the future. They painted each box black, to create the best contrast with the inside lights. The face of each box was also inset with white Coroplast to absorb the color. In order to prevent any light leak from within the box, and also to provide maximum brightness, the seams were blocked with household aluminum foil. The very last step after adding the electronics was to put a back on each box, made from hardboard cut to size, lined with the same aluminum foil to reflect as much light as possible. The backs were cut just short of completely enclosing the box to allow for the plugs to be accessible and for the boxes to be eventually hung by a simple screw.

For the inside of each box, some basic electrical knowledge and DIY skills were required. The insides were lined with LED RGD 5050 tape, cut to size. The tape was also stapled down, so as not to fully rely on the tape holding up after the boxes were finalized. This LED tape required some soldering to attach Female connection points. Connection wires of various sizes were also crafted using 4 color wire cut to size, and female connectors soldered on each end. These wires were attached to the boxes using simple 4 pin male connectors.

To complete the electronics, each box had to be powered by a 15A transformer and controlled via DMX. It was decided that the 24 boxes would be divided into 4 different DMX channels, requiring 4 Power Supply Transformers and 4 DMX Control units. It was also discovered that if more than 6 boxes were connected to a power supply, the light strength was noticeably diminished. One box was designated to have the transformer and DMX control unit attached for every 6 box set.

Each element of the design was relatively cheap, costing under $20. The final cost for the entire design of 24 boxes (and 12 more not used, so 36 in total) was around $300.

Parts List








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8 responses to “LED Boxes”

  1. Bryce says:


    Now that it has been a few weeks, I wanted to check and see if everything electronically is still working great. We are looking at doing something very similar and prior to purchasing the power supply and dmx control I was hoping for any feedback


    • Ken Leslie says:

      I have only had 1 issue with a power supply overheating (I think). I replaced it and it is just fine now. I found a few bad connections when setting up for the first time, since I had to solder like 150 connections, it was bound to have a couple bad joints. I fixed them and all is smooth!

  2. Chad Pressley says:

    What kind of lighting controller/console are you using?

  3. Chad Pressley says:

    Thanks Ken. I have a chauvet dmx512plus and just wanted to make sure those decoders would work with a USB controller. I’ve bought two 27ch decoders and they would only work with consoles.

  4. Matthew Guidry says:

    How were these hung?

    • Ken Leslie says:

      Very simply by a screw on the back wall. As you see I left about an inch of open space on the back panel–that was intentional for them to hang on the screw. Sometimes the are hung square and sometimes from the corners like diamond shape. I like the versatility.

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