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How To Cut Plastic Ceiling Light Panels Without Cracking It 2020 Model & Style

In this era of social distancing, one of the definite benefits is getting some time for home improvements. Learning how to cut ceiling light panels is a great first step in jazzing up your house.

With this simple maneuver, you can transform a room into a welcoming area with great lighting.

It doesn’t have to be expensive either, there are tonnes of things you can do with ceiling light panels with little to no investment.

The best part of being at home is that you can try out new approaches to your home decor.

Create the perfect environment for your family with awesome ceiling lights.

Check out these awesome tips and tricks to make the most out of your renovation.

Learn How To Cut Plastic Ceiling Light Panels For Decor

Different Cutting Methods

There are lots of different ways to cut ceiling panels. It all depends on your ceiling materials. A common ceiling type is an acrylic.

For this, professionals score the surface and break it along the perforation. This provides a smooth line.

DIY Approaches

  • If your ceiling is soft, simply use and cut out the dimensions of the hole
  • With firm ceilings, take a page out of the pros’ book and make score along the line (about every half inch)
  • Once you are done scoring the surface, firmly snap along the line
  • Smooth down the edge with sandpaper, if necessary
  • To save time, you can use an electric saw to expose the hole for the light
  • If you use a saw, you definitely need to sand the outside

Tools You Need:

  • Ruler/measuring tape
  • Pencil/marker
  • Exacto knife
  • Electric saw
  • Sandpaper

Cost for Project:

If you already have the tools on hand, there should be not out of pocket expenses outside of the ceiling lights.

These lights come in a range of prices depending on the style you choose.

Pick one to fit your budget. The prep for installation costs very little since all you really need is a blade and sandpaper.

How To Cut Ceiling Light Panels

Time Investment:

When thinking about how to cut ceiling light panels, you want to factor in time.

If you are fairly handy (good with tools), then it should only be a couple of hours before you are up and running. Including cleanup and installation, you can get this done within a single afternoon.

Types of Light Panels

There are countless versions of light panels. Basically, you can break them down into a few categories:

  • Prism Style/Icy: This type is usually clear and white. It offers a lot of brightness, but you can usually make out the bulbs. Choose a high-quality plastic (like acrylic) for long-lasting results.
  • Matte & Smooth: These offer soft lighting that scatters evenly. The austere appearance appeals to more traditional rooms.
  • Egg Crate:  Popular in business settings, the light channels downward. Usually, you can’t make out the bulbs because of the ‘crating’ effect. It limits glare and offers a warm environment.
  • The white crate type comes in smaller squares and doesn’t focus the lighting. This is preferable in more modern settings.

How To Install Light Panels

There are tonnes of helpful resources on installing these panels. For quick reference, the basic steps are:

  1. Find the dimensions and choose a spot with electrical access
  2. Cut the necessary size out of the ceiling panel
  3. Turn off the electricity by flipping the breaker
  4. Wire the ceiling light into the system
  5. Place the ceiling light into the panel
  6. Replace the panel and make any needed adjustments
  7. Double-check your electrical work (make sure it turns on)
  8. Repeat process for all ceiling lights

Benefits & Pitfalls

As with everything, there are some key benefits and drawbacks to using ceiling light panels.

Pros of using light panels

  • Long shelf life
  • Low maintenance costs
  • Energy efficient
  • Aesthetically appealing
  • Hard to damage
  • Eco-friendliness

Cons of using light panels

  • Costly investment in product
  • Time-consuming to set up electricals
  • Voltage compatibility issues

Usually, the pros outweigh the cons. Though it can be costly at first, users save in the long run.

As long as you make sure you can wire in your new system, set aside the time, and understand the long-term value, you are sure to succeed.

Decorating Ideas

When it comes to ceiling lights, the sky’s the limit. You can get creative with patterns or innovative with bulb choices. You can add filters, change the paint, and everything in between.

What it comes down to is the style of the room you’re redoing. Is it professional or casual?

Relaxing or energizing? Since you can do just about anything with a good ceiling light setup, the decorating world is your oyster.

To get some insight as to what others are doing, check out this video – you’re sure to get inspired.

Best Light Panels Available

It’s an investment (of both time and money) to do a ceiling light overhaul. To see the best results, opt for the best lights on the market.

This way, they install easier and last longer – not to mention perform better. Some of the most popular lights include:

01. Hykolity Architectural LED System

 

These popular lights represent the classic ceiling light panel. The dual pack of fluorescent bulbs is a great way to enliven the atmosphere without causing glare.

Though there is no dimmer, the medium level of lumens produced creates a friendly environment.

Ideal for work and play spaces are generally simple to install. Since they are lightweight, there are no worries about placing them easily.

Because of the design, the uniform light spreads out both vertically and horizontally.

Through a sleek design, these handy panels add function and aesthetics.

02. Neox Four Foot Light Panel

 

Ringing it at four by two feet, these useful panels make the most of modern tech. Featuring LED lights, you get the full benefit of dimmers that go from naught to ten volts.

The flat and seamless design integrates into the ceiling for an easy installation.

Thanks to the fact that they are so sizable, you don’t need many to equip even a large room.

Since the LED lights are highly energy-efficient (without sacrificing brightness) you can save a lot of power over the long term.

Combining all the different features, you get a great lighting option for family rooms. Bedrooms benefit equally from this friendly and soft lighting option.

Coupled with proper placement, these panels have the ability to overhaul the room’s whole appearance.

03. LIFX Beam Light

 

If you are looking for a funky and modern lighting option, this is a great choice. Instead of being one single color, the multi-colored options give it some character.

Ideal for a fun-forward area like a game room or kid’s area, these panels are nothing if not fun.

Both dimmable and easy to install, these handy lights create limited heat (and thereby add safety).

Add creativity and innovation to your space with these exciting panels.

Common Cutting Issues

As with everything else crafty, there are a few things that can go wrong. Some of the most frequently reported issues include:

  • Cutting beyond the dimensions: Be precise when you make your cuts. It’s better to cut less than more, so take your time during the cutting process.
  • Breaking the panel: If you’re dealing with a firm material like acrylic, it can be easy to break the panel. Score the plastic and break along the perforation for the best results.
  • Cutting away from electricals: Make sure that you account for wiring when you cut. You want to make sure your light can seamlessly wire into the system.
  • Cutting too small: Though better than cutting too much, you want too small isn’t good either.
  • It makes it harder to get precise measurements, so take your time when cutting.

Common Installation Issues

  • Wiring troubles: The trickiest part of the setup is making sure it wires in properly. Check the voltage compatibility before starting and take your time so see good results.
  • Awkward placement: Though it usually isn’t too difficult, it can be tricky to get the panel in place. If you’re struggling, enlist a friend or family member for help.
  • Bulb Compatibility: Usually panels come with bulbs; but, if not, make certain that you place the proper bulbs in the unit. Using the wrong ones not only won’t work – it risks breaking the system.
  • Overheating: Especially with older models, you risk creating too much heat for the system and upping your chances of fire.
  • This is exacerbated by poor installation. For best results, make sure you clean up dust and debris and choose modern, energy-efficient bulbs.

FAQ’s About Plastic Ceiling Light Panels

Especially if this is your first time installing a ceiling light panel, you probably have a few questions.

The good news: you aren’t alone. This section outlines some quick answers to some of the most common inquiries.

How do you cut ceiling light panels?

It’s actually pretty simple to cut ceiling light panels. Basically, you measure the area you need first.

Next, you make sure you are close enough to electricals so that you can wire it in.

Turn off the electricity with the breaker and use an Exacto knife (or a saw, depending on the panel’s thickness). Once you make the cuts, sand down the sides until they are smooth.

Is it different for fluorescent lights?

The steps are the same for fluorescent lights. It’s basically a cut, wire, and place matter.

Make sure the lights are compatible with the voltage flow on the system. Other than that, the process for installing fluorescent panels is the same as with other units.

How can I cut plastic panels?

The most challenging part of cutting plastic panels is if you are facing a harder than normal plastic.

Especially when it comes to acrylic, you want to avoid cracking the plastic. If you cut too liberally, it can crack through the whole system and ruin the panel.

Avoid this by scoring the outline of the cut. If you make a lateral cut along the side, it makes a perforation.

When complete, you can snap the side creating a relatively smooth line. The scoring takes the pressure off the panel, thus taking away the risk of cracks.

Why are my ceiling lights not working?

If your ceiling lights are misfiring, then you are on to the troubleshooting component. There are three main causes of issues in this form.

The first is a dead light bulb. If it was working before (or if a different bulb was) and it suddenly stopped, this is probably the culprit. The quick fix is just to replace it.

The next thing it could be is an electrical problem. Is there a power outage? Did the breaker flip off?

Check that both of these are fixed before taking any more drastic measures. Chances are, it is just an issue with the power.

Lastly, if it is an issue with the installation, you need to do some more work.

If you just set it up and it isn’t working, then you want to double-check all of your work.

Make sure everything from the bulb to the wiring is in place.

If you address all of these concerns, then your lights should be bright and beaming before you know it.

How do I make the hole in the ceiling smaller?

Yes, for small scale issues, you can use stucco. Unfortunately, for larger issues and more massive cuts to the system, then you need to replace the panel itself.

The good news is that it only takes a quick stop to the hardware store to be back up and running.

For best results though, cut precisely when you do the installation.

Chalk it up to a learning experience and use that knowledge to cut more carefully.

If you are new to construction, remember the old adage: measure twice, cut once. By following this suggestion, you can prevent issues with installation.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know all the ins and outs of how to cut ceiling light panels, you are set to go.

This is not only a fun activity; it is an investment in the home.

You can completely change a room’s appearance with this one simple step. So, get your tools, bring your ceiling panels, and have an afternoon of adventure.

Now only will your home value improve, you will have a more welcoming and enjoyable environment?

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