Can You Cut LED Lights?

It’s no surprise that LED lights are an extremely popular way to light up or decorate a room.

Whether they’re just there to provide light in the evening or if you’ve got a strip of lights across the wall for decorative purposes, these lights are as eco-friendly as they are useful. 

However, LED light strips can often come slightly too long.

Say you’re intending on applying the strip along one or more walls, or even just to decorate the outer layer of a picture frame, you might be wondering “can you cut LED lights?”. 

If you want to know if you can safely cut LED lights to a desired size without destroying the light itself, you’ve come to the right place.

Luckily for you, you can cut LED lights, and here is how to do so!

So, Can You Cut LED Lights?

The short answer is yes, you can cut LED lights (see also ‘Are LED Lights Dimmable?‘). LED strip lights (see also ‘How To Connect Multiple LED Strip Lights‘) are designed to be cut to a desired length – you’ve just got to know where to make the cut to ensure the lights continue to work. 

Of course, you can’t exactly cut an LED light bulb, but LED strip lights come with copper ends that signify where you can make a cut to shorten or separate the strip.

This area is free from the electronic circuit that is required for the lights to work, so it’s safe to cut without causing harm to yourself or the light. 

How To Cut LED Light Strips 

Step 1: Measure The Lights 

Before you start cutting away, make sure you know the exact length of the LED strips and where you want to cut them.

While you can’t cut them exactly wherever you like, there are parts of the strip light that allow for cutting and resizing. 

So, make sure to measure the lights before you make a cut, because you won’t be able to reattach the pieces!

Step 2: Find The Cutting Line 

Now, you’ll need to find the cutting line closest to the length you desire. This line is signified by a vertical line of copper dots, which are located on the back of the strip. 

There should be two lines of copper dots, which basically indicate where two lights are attached to each other. 

The cutting line is directly between the two lines of copper dots. 

Step 3: Cut Along The Cutting Line 

Now’s the time to cut! You’ll need a pair of sharp scissors that will ideally cut the strip easily. All you have to do is cut along the dotted cutting line between the copper dots. 

However, make sure to stick to this line only. If you go outside the cutting line, even by accident, you might inadvertently damage the LEDs, which will prevent them from working again.

This is because LED lights work through a series of tiny electrical circuits, and if one of them is cut, then the current cannot run through. 

And that’s it! Cutting an LED strip is far easier than you’d expect, and really doesn’t take much time or effort to do so.

Make sure to turn on the newly cut LED strip(s) to see whether they still work.

If one or more of the lights has stopped working, there’s a chance you have accidentally cut into the LED rather than the designated cutting line. 

Is It Safe To Cut LED Lights?

Is It Safe To Cut LED Lights?

Yes, it’s absolutely safe to cut LED lights – as long as you cut along the designated cutting line. Every LED strip will come with a series of copper dots that signify the connection of two LED lights, which make up the strip.

In the middle of these copper dots is a cutting line, which contains no electrical current and can be cut directly in half. 

When you cut along this line, the LED lights will continue to work as normal.

If they have stopped working, this is likely because you have cut somewhere else along the circuit rather than the designated cutting line. 

If the lights don’t work after a cut, you can make another cut on another cutting line to remove the damaged section, and then reattach the new ends with a wired jumper connector cord or back-to-back connector. 

Can You Cut LED Strip Lights To Size?

While it is safe to cut LED strip lights, you can technically cut them to size – but you’ll have to make some exceptions to the length.

It’s not always possible to cut LED strip lights to a desired length, because they can only be safely cut at particular points throughout the strip indicated by a cutting line. 

So, make sure to measure the LED strip lights before making a cut, and choose the cutting line closest to your desired length.

While it’s not always an issue, you might have to make do with a slightly longer or shorter strip of LED light than you might desire. 

LED Lights You Cannot Cut 

However, while most LED strip lights can be cut at the cutting line, there is an exception.

One of the lights you cannot cut is an LED light controlled by an IC chip, which are small black chips placed along the strip after every few diodes.

This is to allow the strip to make multiple colors at once. 

The reason these LEDs cannot be cut is that it’s just too risky to make a cut without damaging a black chip or diode. 

The only way to tell whether you can or cannot cut an LED light strip is to look for the cutting line, which is located between two lines of copper dots.

Without this dotted cutting line, you cannot safely make a cut without damaging the whole strip. 

Can You Cut LED Lights? – Summary 

To summarize, yes – you can cut LED lights! The key with cutting LED strip lights (see also ‘How To Fix LED Light Strips‘) is to cut along the designated cutting line, located between the copper dots.

Without this line, you cannot safely make a cut without damaging one or more of the lights on the strip.