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Can You Paint LED Light Bulbs?

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Do you have some LED bulbs and are you wondering how to get creative with them? You might want to paint them to use them to brighten up your living spaces or as decorations for your evening party. Can you paint led light bulbs? Keep reading to learn more.

Can You Paint LED Light Bulbs?

Yes, you can paint LED light bulbs. LED lights are easy to paint. However, avoid using flammable elements like nail varnish or oil paint. Instead, use glass paint that’s resistant to heat. If you want a diffused effect, lightly sand your bulb before painting it

You can also turn painting bulbs into a new hobby and save on purchasing accessories for your apartment. Alternatively, you can start a business venture and start selling custom painted LED light bulbs to your friends and family. 

Painted LED light bulbs

Is Painting LED Light Bulbs Safe?

This is an area of concern because when you paint a bulb, it usually forms an insulation coat making it hard for heat to escape. This is a problem because a bulb’s surface acts as a heat dissipation tool that releases excess heat through the glass.

So painting the bulb causes heat to accumulate inside the bulb. This can be dangerous for conventional bulbs like fluorescents and incandescents. If they heat up, the filament can snap causing the bulb to explode, blow or even shatter. 

However, that’s not an issue with LEDs because they don’t produce as much heat as conventional bulbs. While it’s safe to paint LED lights, their life span will be shortened because they tend to become dim over time.

How to Paint LED Light Bulbs

Are you wondering how to paint your light bulbs? Just follow these steps:

  • Look for the Right Bulb: There are some dangers if you paint the wrong bulb. The right thing to do is to use a LED bulb with low wattage. A 40 wattage bulb is the most ideal lighting bulb for this project.
  • Prop Up Your Bulb With Tack: Use some blue tack to prop your bulb up so that it doesn’t roll around as you paint. Alternatively, you can use air-dry clay to hold the bulb in place.
  • Use the Correct Paint-Apart from using the right bulb, you should also use the correct paint. Avoid using oil or acrylic paints because they can heat up the bulb quickly. Instead, use paints designed for painting glass or ceramic paints. 
  • Clean the bulb: Ensure there’s no dirt on it to prevent the paint from sticking to it. If you have a cotton swab, dip it in alcohol and then wipe the bulb. You can also use soapy water if you can’t get alcohol. 
  • Incorporate Your Creativity-At this point, allow your creativity to flow. Begin painting the bulb in your preferred color or design. If you want to decorate some old bulbs, follow the same steps. You can be more creative and create a reindeer, snowman, or paint a photo on the bulb.
  • Add More Color Layers: Some glass paints require additional layers to give you the results you desire. So, if you aren’t happy with the outcome, apply more paint. Remember to allow every layer to dry well before adding other layers.
  • Allow the Paint to Dry: Before you start painting, unplug your light bulbs. Ensure the paint dries well and then plug your LED bulbs back in.
Light bulbs with different colors

What Type of Paint Do I Need?

You are probably wondering what type of paint you need for this activity. What about acrylic paint? Can it work? While you can use acrylic on LED light bulbs, the paint can change color, burn or evaporate when exposed to heat because it’s water-based.

If you want a temporary modification, you can use acrylic paint. However, it’s not ideal for long-term decorations. Oil-based paints aren’t also great for painting LED bulbs since oil is highly flammable. The bulb can cause a safety hazard if it gets too hot. 

So what’s the best alternative? Choose a glass paint that’s resistant to heat like acrylics designed for glass or tile and solvent-based paints. Although such paint is water-based, it contains heat-resistant chemicals that prevent the paint from degrading.

Can I Use Sharpie Markers?

This is a cheaper option if you don’t have heat-resistant glass paints. Instead of paint, you can use sharpie highlighters or markers to color your LED bulbs. With this method, you won’t have to worry about unnecessary additional purchases because you will personalize your bulbs using items you already have.

Sharpies are available in different colors to suit your needs. You can even combine several colors to make fascinating patterns and shapes on your bulb. The good thing about using sharpies is that you can wipe them off easily with a damp cloth and some alcohol. 

So it’s no big deal if you want your original bulb back. However, note that subjecting your bulbs to extreme heat can make sharpies fade gradually. 

LED light bulbs with paint

Can the Light Look Warmer if I Paint the Bulbs in Yellow?

Yes. You can make LED lights look warmer if you paint them yellow. However, the trickiest part is paying attention to their correlated color temperature to get the right yellow color. This is crucial because your preferred color paint is not the color the light will produce.

For example, if your bulb lights are cool, a pale yellow color will neutralize the lights, allowing them to produce a balanced white color. If you like a warm, yellow glow, a deeper shade of orange or yellow will be ideal. 

Related Questions

Before we come to the end of this article, let’s answer a couple of related questions. 

What Kind of Paint Do You Use on Light Bulbs?

There are two types of glass paints; water-based and non-water-based glass paints. Avoid using water-based glass paints because they tend to evaporate.

Can You Paint a Light Bulb and Still Use It?

No. Applying paint to light bulbs acts as an insulation coat that can cause the bulb to heat up and eventually explode

Conclusion

We hope you are ready to express your creativity now that you have learned how to paint LED light bulbs. Heat-resistant glass paint is an ideal option especially if you can’t get colored bulbs. If you love experimenting with art, this is something that’s fun to do.