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I was first inspired to do a lighting mod in my truck’s bed after reading PistolPete’s DIY of how he did his. Although I admired the work he did, it seemed a little too labor-intensive to me. Plus, I wanted something a little more subtle. So after discussion on another forum about a possible Neon, LED and Strobe project for my Corolla, I thought I’d make a dry run of sorts by using LEDs to light my bed. So after a few days and nights of brainstorming, I came up with a way to do a discreet bed lighting project and because I had things like wire and connectors already in stock in my tool kit, I was able to do the whole project for less than $50 in new materials.
The things I had to buy that I did not have were as follows:

Two (2) strips of white LEDs, 120cm (approximately 4 feet) in length...........$35.98 from eBay
One piece of vinyl lattice frame, 8 feet in length. .......................................$7.99 from Home Depot
One (1) roll of double-sided auto trim tape.................................................$5.99 from Auto Zone
Total cost for materials (excluding wire, etc.) .............................................$49.96

At Home Depot, visit the lumber department, and in the section where they sell materials for building decks, you will find the section where they have vinyl lattice for skirting the underside of decks and porches. In the same area you’ll find framing parts for the lattice. The frame strips are 8 feet long, about 1.25 inches wide and .75 inches thick with a .75 inch grove cut into the edge. The framing strips come in a variety of colors, but I chose white for maximum reflectivity.

The first step is to cut the 8-foot piece into two 4-foot pieces. Four feet is just a bit longer than the 120cm length of the LED strips so you will again cut the 4-foot sections to 120cm in length. Then trim .5 inch of material lengthwise off of the groove side of the strip leaving a piece of vinyl approximately .75” x .75” x 120cm with a .25” deep groove. I did the trimming on my table saw and a regular hollow-ground planer saw blade for a smooth cut.

Once you have cut both of the vinyl pieces to size the next step is to install the LED strips. First I laid down a very small bead of silicone caulk into the groove. You only need about a 1/16th inch bead; it is just to serve as an adhesive to hold the LED strip in place. Too much caulk and it will ooze out and make a mess.

Then, starting at one end, gently press the LED strip into the groove. Work slowly until the entire LED strip is in place.

The final products will look like this:

At this point, it would be best to crimp on some connectors to the wires on the LED strips. Each strip has about 18” of wire lead.

Flip the LED assemblies upside down and attach the double-sided trim tape to the underside of the unit. You should only use automotive grade trim tape and not the white foam tape your wife buys at craft stores. The foam tape will dry rot over time and the adhesive cannot tolerate heat very well. Unroll the tape onto the bottoms of the pieces.

Now the fun part. Remove the backing from the tape and press the LED assemblies up under the bed rails. Orient the assemblies so the wires are towards the rear of the truck.

You can connect the wires to the truck’s electrical system any way you want so I will not elaborate on that aspect of the installation. The LED strips are polarized so you will need to mind the positive and negative connections. Since I have a topper on my truck, I wired my LEDs into the existing roof light in the topper. When I turn the topper light on, the LEDs come on with it. The wiring was hidden behind the BedRug and inside trim pieces for the topper’s flip-up window.

The finished product:

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