LEDs for spherical array?

I’ve built a sphere and now I want to put LEDs on it. I want to make the LEDs as evenly spaced as possible across the surface of the sphere - most likely just spiraling up from one pole to the other. The sphere is only about a foot across.

Standard LED strips are not great for this: at the equator they’re fine but near the poles the strips will have to bend in a way they don’t want to. I can maybe figure out a way to work with them but ideally I would find a different type of LED strip that I could more easily attach. Anyone have ideas of what I could use?

The easiest thing I can think of would be pixels with individual wires connecting them (i.e. not strips), but all of the ones I’ve found like that are very heavy duty (large, waterproof pixels, large spacing between pixels). You can buy individual pixels on ali express, which I could solder together, but that seems like a ton of work.

All ideas welcome! Worst case I’ll just use standard strips and figure out how to crimp them into the shape I want, but I live in hope that there’s a better option!

If it helps, here’s the shape I’ve made (when installed it’s more uniformly spherical):

Have you looked at fairy string lights? I use these 2812’s for all my wearables. They’re also available on aliexpress on Ray Wu’s store for cheap and smaller pitches, and they’re pretty popular on here.


oh cool, those would work well. i didn’t realize they made fairy lights with individually addressable pixels. thank you!

Not only do they come that way, if you’re willing to order from China, Ray Wu’s store and many others on Aliexpress sell them in a wide range of different pitches or distance between each pixel.

This listing, for example: https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256805296630315.html

Be warned, the 15mm and 20mm (really tight spacing) ones are hard to solder onto / finicky to work with .

thanks for the tip, that was one thing
i was going to explore. i’m hoping to make a relatively high res array so shorter distance between pixel will and useful

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I just used these on a project I posted this morning, similar idea, wrapping a sphere in LEDs. They’re flexible wires but they’re the rigid kind, so they stay in place after you bend them, if that makes sense.

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I LOVED your project you posted about earlier today – it’s BEAUTIFUL and one of the best helmet type projects I’ve seen. I do want to warn you and anyone else reading, however, that those LEDs with the thinner more flexible wires are VERY fragile / unreliable compared to the ones I linked above in this thread, especially if you’re mounting them to metal (in this project) vs in plastic (like yours), or if you’re using them in fabric.

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Thanks both for the input. For my project after I install the LEDs they’re not going to be moving or touched - they’ll be enclosed by a larger sphere so no risk of being jostled. Rigid sounds easier to install but on the other hand I guess I’m just installing once so probably better to do a harder installation that’ll be more durable in the long run.

That makes sense; in your case (and awesome project) it probably doesn’t matter, and the thinner wires are nice; I just recommend the more durable pebble lights encased in plastic versus the fairy lights because a short in the wiring is so frustrating.