Looking for best way to add decorative (built-in) lighting to a barn door...

Thread Starter


Joined Sep 6, 2019
Hi everyone,
I did some searching but didn't find an acceptable answer (to me, anyway)...

I'm building a mostly decorative sliding barn door to mount on the side of my garage. There will be a decorative carving mounted to the front of the door. the carving is flat, and about 3/4" thick, and about 6' x 6' (tall and wide). The carving will have about 1/4"-1/2" of space between it and the door.

I want to backlight the carving to make it stand out a little more at night. I want to power the lights with a battery of some sort, and I imagine LED lighting would be the most efficient form of lighting.

Can anyone recommend resources on designing a circuit with small batteries? The battery pack will be mounted to the back of the door, so there isn't room for anything really "big".

Thanks for your time, and I look forward to posting an update once it is complete, or even closer to complete!


Joined Sep 7, 2010
It's not a good idea to power the light from a battery.... It would have to be rechargeable , because power demands of lights are fairly high , non rechargeable would not last long ... and if it's rechargeable how will you recharge ?? power from mains would need to come to where the battery is , so that might just as well power the light directly ..


Joined Jan 29, 2010
A low cost PIR detector, switching On the LED's would be a good battery saver, only back light when there is some there to see the door.
PIR's only require approx <50uA quiescent current.

Thread Starter


Joined Sep 6, 2019
Thanks for the replies everyone.
I was imagining some sort of rechargeable battery pack being installed on the back of the door. The door is going to slide back and forth over 8', so hard wiring is out of the question. The lighting will likely only be used when we have guests over at night. If anything, I guess it's more about artistic value than being practical. With a rechargeable pack, a charger would then become a requirement, too. I'm okay with that.

I'd like the lights to be able to remain lit for 3-4 hours max. More would be better, but this is probably the longest they'd ever be turned on.

Can anyone recommend some basic reading on LEDs? Thanks again for everyone's time!


Joined Mar 30, 2015
Can anyone recommend some basic reading on LEDs?
The easiest thing to do is to buy something like I mentioned. It has most of what you want.

Rearrange the LEDs however you want (assuming they're reusable), or source your own. If you decide to go with different LEDs, you need to make sure their forward voltage and current requirements are compatible.


Joined Aug 7, 2008
For rough idea, 3 LEDs/ ft. or about 72 LEDs @ .02 A = 1.44 A. Supplying power to a sliding door not that big of a deal. A long hanging loop or over head spiral looped wire supported by a cable.