How To Build Your Own Terrarium Grow Light Using LED Strip Lights

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As both amateur and professional plant enthusiasts have discovered, energy-efficient LEDs are highly effective in virtually any grow light application. The benefits are immediately apparent: LED lights are long-lasting, use very little energy, and will not produce plant-wilting excess heat. As a result, many are installing LEDs in terrariums and other indoor garden applications. One of our customers did just that using UltraBright™ strip lights from Flexfire LEDs, and we asked him to share his experience in order to create a simple tutorial. Follow these steps and learn how to build your own terrarium grow light using LED strip lights.

First, a combination of Flexfire LEDs 12v Design Series and 24v Architectural Series UltraBright™ strip lights were mounted onto aluminum bars and channels. This allows custom configuration, and the aluminum acts as a heat sink for the LEDs, helping them perform better and last longer. These aluminum bars are inexpensive and easy to find at any home improvement store.

Adhesive pads were attached to the end of each bar; these pads rest on the rim of the terrarium. The power connection was soldered to the LED strip light, and a nylon tie was used to secure the power cables and protect the solder joints from any jarring movement. Finally, a blob of silicone was applied to insulate the solder points.

Strip Light on Aluminum Bar    Aluminum Bar on Frame    Strip Light with Silicone 

The above process was repeated for the aluminum channels, also easily available at any home improvement store.

Strip Lights on Aluminum Channel  Aluminum Channel with Silicone

Below left, a smaller aluminum channel was bolted onto two sides of the terrarium. Right, a view from below showing all the illuminated channels.

Bolted Aluminum Channel  Terrarium With LED Strip Lights

Below left is a view from above one of the bars, which was painted black. The lights are on the underside, directed down at the plants. Also, a close-up of the illumination provided by one Flexfire LEDs strip light.

View From Above Strip Light  Plant under Flexfire LEDs

Time for comparison photos – the one on the left shows the terrarium under formerly used 48-watt T5HO fluorescent lights, while the one on the right shows the terrarium under Flexfire LEDs strip lights.

Terrarium with T5HO  Terrarium using Flexfire LEDs

Our customer observed the effects of LED lighting on his prized tillandsia over an entire year, leaving the lights on for 11 hours a day, seven days a week. He reports that the plants are now flourishing, with both excellent growth and reproduction. Compared with earlier use of fluorescent T5 and power compact bulbs, the LED strip lights are more energy-efficient and generate less heat as well.

As he says, “The proof is in the pudding.”  Here is a flowering tillandsia grown under Flexfire LEDs strip lights.

Flowering Tillandsia

Are you inspired to build your own terrarium? Please call or write to us at and we’d love to help you grow the garden of your dreams.


Choose one of our convenient Flexfire LEDs strip light kits to suit the appropriate brightness, length and color of your LED grow light project:

UltraBright Strip Light Kit          ColorBright LED strip light kits


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