I have never been a fan of dolls house lighting. It's too fiddly, too expensive, never works properly and so on. Just recently I came across Small World Products new range of LED lighting and decided this looked like the answer to many of my issues.
At October's Miniatura I had a long chat with the ever helpful lady on their stand and came away with the basics - a couple of 6 light and 3 light strips, a transformer and their signature Easy Wire Connector.
The strips can be bought in all different lengths and can even be split up if you want. I chose to use a normal transformer as then I can add normal lights as well but the strips use so little power you can power them with a battery pack. Each 3 strip of LED's uses less power than one grain of wheat bulb apparently.
I also bought the SWP connector because I have used them before and find them really easy to wire, I'm sure there are other connectors that are equally suitable.
Each strip is sticky backed so they can be placed flush to ceilings or furniture. As this is my first time of using them I decided to do it the easy way and fit them flush to the ceiling.
After fitting the cornice to the back walls I drilled the holes for the wires as close to the ceiling as I could. The wires are colour coded (+ and -) and are quite thick and as I hadn't done any routing I was a little concerned that I would not be able to hide them amongst the ceiling beams as planned.
The wires just slot in to the connector with each connection opened and tightened using a tiny screwdriver. Very simple and none of the usual bad language that lighting systems usually brings out of me!
Of course you still have all the wires but that's another problem! The green light shows you that the power from the transformer is fully connected.
So wires connected, power on would the lights work....
.....and they did, first time. No re-screwing of impossibly small light bulbs or stripping wires that won't connect properly.
I glued in the ceiling beams and tucked up the wires hoping that they would now be hidden away.
I turned over the house, which I was working on upside down, oh the pleasures of working on a smaller project, and just as I had hoped the wires and lights were hidden behind the beams.
I chose white light LED's as I prefer bright light but the strips can also be supplied with 'yellow light'.
This is the ceiling at an angle that shows the wires but they cannot be seen when looking into the house. Obviously it would be much better to route them in and then paper the ceilings but one, I don't know how to do that and two, how do you remove them if they are all encased. Not sure.
The lights are supposed to have a 1500 hour life span which sounds ok to me. Then the whole strip would need to be replaced which could be a nuisance I suppose, but as I have never been able to replace a bulb without it smashing or pulling the whole light off the wall I will cross this bridge when I come to it.
I was also interested to see how the light would spread over the whole room as my strips were at the back of each room. So I added a bit of the furniture.....
.....and took a couple of photos as the evening drew in.
This was taken at 6.30pm and the room filled with light upstairs...
I am really pleased with the strips and am already thinking of adding a couple more within the furniture or under external beams.
I am sure that they can be used in many more creative and clever ways but for me they are a definite winner. They can be mixed with normal light fixtures, table and floor lamps maybe? With batteries they can light up window displays or those lovely picture boxes lots of people make.
As you can tell I am a convert!
Small World Products have not put them on their website yet but they are always really helpful on the phone or can be contacted by email for postal orders. They will talk you through all their products and offer lots of advice.
And, following lots of helpful advice from all you helpful bloggers I finished the doors today. Hooray!