So I have cuttable, weatherproof led strips with the flexible silicone coating domed over the strip. I just have cut a correct length piece of a strip. Now both ends has four copper connectors. I want to expose those copper wires in one end.

So I first cut:

        ___    ___   |         | <-- rubber/silicon or other transparent material
...____|LED|__|LED|__|__ wires_|
   ^Adhesive tape    ^ *Cut here*

First possible problem here is cutting too deep and cutting off one of the wires.

Next is trying to get rid off the top material on the wires. Problems here are that:

  • If the initial cut started a small tear that now when you pull that tiny piece off it can tear some or all wires off
  • If the cut was too deep then you're just ripping the whole wire part right off
  • If the transparent material is very well stuck to the strip and whole wire part just comes right off when trying to pull the material on top off the wires

Next is that there's a very thin film on top of the wires or some wire(s).

I've tried to burn it off with soldering iron and sometimes it just smears the material over the wires or damages the strip so that the whole strip won't work or one color won't work anymore. I've also tried scraping it with sharp knife and the problems are the same (damaging wires or just smearing).

Is there tools such as the RJ45 ethernet crimping tool used with ethernet cables but for LED strips, or proper technique to expose those wires properly?

It's costly to try and fail and then cut yet another 10-30 cm off the strip and try again.

  • Are you talking about an LED strip like this one ? If so, are you using the type with the silicon/rubberized layer on the top side?
    – JPhi1618
    Nov 20, 2017 at 14:54
  • @JPhi1618 Yes that kind of cuttable strip with silicon/rubberized layer on the top side. And getting the silicon/rubber off the wires is the problem after cutting.
    – raspi
    Nov 20, 2017 at 15:00
  • Have you tried anything so far, or are you waiting on help so you don't damage it? I'll write an answer describing how I did it.
    – JPhi1618
    Nov 20, 2017 at 15:01
  • @JPhi1618 I've listed what I've tried on the question (trying to peel off the rubber, scraping with sharp knife, burning it off with soldering iron after cutting/scraping as much as possible first).
    – raspi
    Nov 20, 2017 at 15:04
  • If you're not a fan of that type, they also make a type where a normal strip is wrapped in a rectangular plastic tube, with little caps on the end. When cut, the tube can separate from the strip, giving you more flexibility, e.g. you can cut the strip shorter than the tube, solder to the ends, and goop up silicone caulk in the ends to seal it. If your application is indoors, just use the naked strips with no goop to remove. Nov 20, 2017 at 19:56

1 Answer 1


I have used weatherproof LED strips like in the picture below. My technique was:

  • Cut the strip to length at one of the designated places with sharp scissors.
  • Using a not-to-sharp knife ( I used my pocket knife rather than a razor blade ), cut through the rubber coating perpendicular to the strip. Cutting into the wires or plastic backing strip shouldn't be an issue with an old knife, but still be careful. if soldering, you only need to cut back enough rubber to clear off the contacts. If using the crimp connectors, use a connector to measure where the rubber should be stripped (about 1/2" back).
  • Bend the strip along the cut that you made. You should only have to bend it about 90 degrees. This will make the cut open up. If you didn't cut all the way through the rubber, that will be obvious now, and it should be easier to cut the remaining material.
  • Using your fingernail or your old knife blade, try to get under the rubber layer and start peeling it off. On my strips, once I was able to get it started, the whole chunk would peel cleanly off.
  • If the rubber shreds or does not come off, use the knife to continue peeling any residue off. If necessary, lay the strip on a hard surface and use the knife to scrape residue by holding the knife blade perpendicular to the strip. If you angle the knife, there is a greater chance of cutting the strip.

enter image description here

image taken from: http://www.usledsupply.com/shop/z-how-to-RGB-strip-wire-solder

I have not used their how-to, I have only used the non-solder connectors. I was able to make my splices look much cleaner, but I couldn't find a better image.

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