DIY : Building a Film Light dimmer for under $30 – Scrumple Labs – Medium

Scrumple labs needs good lighting to photograph projects, so I bought a few clamp work lights. I needed a dimmer for the key & fill lights, so I built one.

WARNING: Don’t try this project if you don’t feel comfortable wiring an outlet or switch. Electrical work is dangerous!

You’ll need a few things.

  • A dimmer switch. I chose this switch because it’s listed as compatible with the dimmable LED bulbs I have.
  • A grounded extension cord.
  • A 1-gang wall plate.
  • Electrical Tape
  • And a 1-gang outlet box. I bought one for under $2 at Home Depot.
The raw ingredients for an inline dimmer switch.

The goal here is to install the switch into the outlet box, so the instructions from the dimmer switch cover most of it. The first thing to do is cut and strip the wires from the extension cord. Carefully strip the outer insulation and then strip the individual wires. Do this to both cut ends of the extension cord.

Carefully strip the outer insulation and then strip the individual wires.

Run the extension cord wires into the box and then follow the wiring instructions for the dimmer to connect the Hot (Black), Neutral (White), and Ground (Green) wires to the dimmer switch using wire nuts.

It’s not a bad idea to wrap the wire nuts with some electrical tape, too.

Wire up everything carefully. Plug in and test with a light once this part is done.

I tested with one of my lights at this point to verify that the dimmer switch works and that I wasn’t about to start an electrical fire. Next, I screwed the switch onto the electrical box and screwed the wall plate onto the switch.

Screw the switch into the box and cover onto the switch.

Here it is in action with one of my clamp lights:

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