Best Way to Mount LED Tape?

mrtrudeau23

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Dec 29, 2008
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Chicago, IL
We do a lot of LED tape install on our various sets, and we always question the best way to attach the tape to the scenery/prop/etc. We've used runs of velcro, packing tape over it and stapled down, hot glue, double sided tape, and others I'm sure I'm forgetting about. A lot of the time we are attaching to backing material that is 1/4" thick, so any traditional fasteners are usually out as options.
What methods/tricks have you found for attaching LED tape reliably, especially to thinner materials that don't allow for staples or screws?
 
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mrtrudeau23

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Chicago, IL
I find that hot glue works well. ( aside from the discomfort it causes for my fingers )
I had tried this on a project a month ago, but the LED tape fell off after a few hours. Ended up having to go back over it all with packing tape and really short T50 staples. I have had success with hot glue in the past, so maybe the LED tape just didn't like it.
 
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Van

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Portland, Or.
Snot tape <3M VHB>, in addition to the adhesive that come on the back of it. I've used Hot glue and velcro as well.
 

Harrison Hohnholt

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Carlstadt, NJ
Snot tape <3M VHB>, in addition to the adhesive that comes on the back of it. I've used Hot glue and velcro as well.
^^^^ THIS THIS THIS.

It is all we use, I have tape on a touring set that is 4+ years old and it is still holding. We use the 3M 4905 clear VHB 1/2". The trick is to stretch it just a little bit when installing it, also really press it down before you pull off its backing. Finally, when storing make sure there is some parchment paper between rolls or they will stick to each other.

https://3m.citrination.com/pif/000343?locale=en-US

We have also done the velcro if it is a piece spanning multiple set-pieces.
 

gafftapegreenia

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3M VHB tape is my first choice.

“Joes sticky stuff” aka “snot tape” aka “clear butyl tape” is a great second choice especially when you want it to be removable.
 
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alich

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Dec 14, 2017
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Chicago
I've done three or four different methods depending on how good of a quality the LED tape is.
VHB as everyone else has said, with additional insulated staples in case the tape fails.
Spring clips every 18" or so if we want to remove it easily.

If it's something like an undercabinet light over 10' long, or something that needs to detach for transit, I like VHBing the tape to a piece of strap steel the same width as the tape, then mounting magnets to whatever we're attaching it to to make the entire bar detachable.
 

DIYLED

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Feb 5, 2016
Location
Palm Springs, California
The backing sticks better to some tapes than others. It slowly peels awayfrom VHB 5952, seems to stick well to rp45 and 4905/4910. Woodis best sealed with paaintor glue but 4095 sticks ok to wood.typing on a tablet sucks!
 

ship

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Mar 29, 2003
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Illinois
Normally if portable / removable I specify some sort of channel - factory or aluminum stock size like 3/4" wide by 1/2 legs to apply the LED tape to. This is either pre-powder coated or not. It's Denatured alcohol cleaned if not further cleaned if natural. VHB adhesive tape is normally on the LED tape I use, and while I might put a little super glue or epoxy at the ends... it's normally not needed. The rigid support of the bar - LED mounting bar mounted to another bar if too bendable, or if industry aluminum channel in different shapes, often sufficient.

Once in a while we will do tape bands or straps to the tape if say in a light box or if inside tubing. Such tape heats up and possibly the VHB tape will give way given an enslosed fixture for heat. Straps are just nylon multi-hole kind of like plumbers strap but 1/4" wide we cut from large sheets than screw down. Scroller adhesive tape we otherwise at times put over the surface or wrap every few inches. J-Lar Permacel #910 scroller tape has a new life in securing LED tape. By far better than just packaging tape, though a wider than normal 1" size would be preferred for linear usage.

Following mounting of the LED tape, just about always mount Velcro to the back of the channel when not for a one off double stick tape to it. Super glue or epoxy also on the Velcro towards the ends is done at times.

For termination of the LED tape, we normally fabricate UHMW black plastic blocks to mount XLR type panel mount connectors. Such blocks are screwed to a flange welded to the channel material. Takes more man/hours to fabricate such blocks, but saves in repair. Once in a while we will use Molex type connectors or other whip mounted connectors, but only after ensuring as best possible the whip off the tape can be strain relieved as best possible so a tug on that wire won't rip wire or LED tape pad off. Prefer terminating into a panel mount plug.

Once in a while or too often my team has to repair LED strips done by someone else. Starting over, normally is not an option... Between water penetration, LED nodes going bad, and failed strain relief, it gets challenging at times.
 

WooferHound

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HollyRawls

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Mar 3, 2010
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Colorado
I too am suffering the difficulties of adhering LED tape to thin surfaces. The 3M tape is $11 for a 15' roll, which is great if you are doing a small area. If you are installing tape in multiple, full stage portals, the price point becomes a problem. Also, the 3M tape doesn't make recouping the LED tape easy. Hot glue doesn't stay for sh#t on luan or mdf, but it DOES adhere well to coroplast. I have been having luck with backing the LED lit items in coroplast (which you can buy in white, so no having to paint the inside of your lightbox!). It comes in 8' x 4' sheets and can be run through a table saw. The shop makes the right size coroplast pieces, I hot glue in the tape, and then the pieces are backed with whatever sheet good the scenery requires. Coroplast can be found at plastics distributors or sign shops. It also comes in "clear" which when used as the front of a lightbox creates a glass-like look for a quarter of the cost of plexi.
 

ship

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Mar 29, 2003
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Illinois
Right materials specifed, right glues or tape to sometimes in need. I note above "recoupling". Perhaps a mis-read of use.

If a question of removing the tape carefully over a not properly attached part than re-applying and needing a glue perhaps is as simple as super glue or more VHB tape. Never tried hot glue though I note some epoxies melt thru improperly.

Normally I do not re-use LED tape and specify the cost of new for each project. Yea... you want to intentionally break this light pole during a show.. this will cost your tour $1,000.00 each pole you intentionally break on stage so as to replace! Each job buys it's new tape and not something salvaged. Different worlds of doing tape perhaps, and be careful while removing or re-adhearing, it is not just the double stick tape that might not preform.