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Saturday, June 6, 2015

2015 Madison Barn Project--Lighting Tips

The Thursday Night Project consisted of a barn, shed and silo, and came from Stephanie Engeseth. She pulled out all the tops for this project. There are a lot of ingenious touches and details throughout. On Thursday night, we were let into a ballroom and we had "instructors" to help guide us through building the project--they had already built the project. There were a ton of bags containing laser cut wood parts, laser cut shingle paper, laser cut wood siding for the interior. The only time I had the entire 3 hours was to stain all my parts. I have no idea how other people managed to "finish" building the project within the time alloted. I'm not complaining--we got our money's worth, and about every half hour during the evening there would be an announcement and distribution of gifts that complemented the project. It was an incredible and fun project.

If you're interested in lighting the Barn, here's how I did mine. I ordered additional barn wood wallpaper from Stephanie and used the 2nd floor template to create the "ceiling" for the 1st floor. You need to make the following sandwich:  engraved side of the 2nd floor facing you, barnwood WP non-printed side, and then barnwood WP printie side opposite the engraved floor. The placement is important or it won't match up.
Place your ceiling up against the rafters and mark where you want the light bulbs. Use a hole puncher (1/8" or 1/4") to make opening for LED bulbs. I taped the wires in place.

To light the 2nd floor, I added 3 LEDs. They're just dangling because the opposite roof will pretty much hide the wires. I placed the LEDs to match the roof rafters. Use clear transparent tape and glue to affix the wires right on top of the roof rafter beams. When the roof gets attached, the wires will be invisible.

I used LEDs from Evan Designs, but ask for an extra 6-8" length of wire for each bulb. The LEDS offered are for roomboxes, but came up short for this project, which is like 4 roomboxes together instead of a single stand-alone roombox. Longer bulb wires will make your life much easier to maneuver and hook up to the on/off switch and battery holder.

Opt for the CHIP LEDs rather than bulbs. The chip LEDs are brighter in my opinion. The bulbs are bright when the wallpaper is light colored, but the brown wallpaper throughout makes the bulb LEDs seem dim in comparison.

I always have the light switch "ON" while I'm wiring and placing the LEDs in place. You don't want to glue everything in place, turn the switch on, only to realize one bulb doesn't work.

I used chip LEDs for the adjoining work shed. I drilled a 1/8" hole with a hand push drill on each side of the door opening. I threaded the LEDs through the holes, two in the front and 2 for the inside.

There's a small crack on the left, which I used as a support/joint for all the wires.

Here's the LEDs on the inside. The chip LED wires are much thinner and almost look invisible against the barnwood WP.

The wires for the shed get hooked up to the wires from roof rafters and the 1st floor.

This part took a long time for me to get right. All the wires for all bulbs and the battery holder is hidden in the empty space between 1st floor ceiling and 2nd floor. You could hide the light switch in that empty space, but it means you have to slide out the 2nd floor each time to access the switch. 

If you have longer wires for each LED, you could theoretically place the switch button opposite of what is shown so when you view it head-on you won't see at all.

Glue in the 1st floor ceiling when you are satisfied. It looks like a tangled mess, but all the lights work.

The 2nd floor is designed so you can slide it in and out for easy access of stuff at the back as well as the front. Make sure you don't glue in the 2nd floor or you'll never be able to change out the battery.

To camouflage the switch, I made a "box" to disguise it (see the template above). I punched a hole where the on/off button is. You can also skip the hole punch and just feel for the switch. To cover up and disguise the wires coming out from the switch, I cut strips of barnwood WP that cover the entire length of the ceiling beam in that opening (see below).

To disguise the wires coming from the shed into the barn, the wires are placed on the underside of the 1st floor ceiling beam. More barnwood WP is used for the beams. You can paint the wires to match the barn trim or the barn/shed color, I used tape and glue to make sure the wires from the shed stay in place.

To further disguise the switch, I glued horseshoes (courtesy of Janet Smith) onto my switch box. The hole is covered up with the paper punched out of WP and gets a horseshoe right over it. Now I just have to remember the horseshoe to turn on and off the lights.

And that's how I lighted my barn and kept all the wires and energy supply self contained.


  1. Oh THANK YOU, Thuy. I wanted to light my barn so badly but just didn't know what to do with the wires and such. This is perfect!!!
    Thelma S. in Tucson