The basic outline of the steps involved is fairly straight forward:
Sidenote : If you do not have IDEA Dioder LEDs and intend to do a project like this DO NOT BUY THEM! There are cheaper and better LED strips out there. The circuit and the code might have to be different in that case but there is plenty of information on the web on how to control other LED strips.
I will not explain a lot about wiring the ESP. This can be easily looked up all over the web and most sources will say you need to pull up/down various more pins than i did. But the setup below works very well for me. I consider components like FTDI-Converters, breadboards, resistors, capacitors and all sorts of tools as given.
ESPs can’t stand input voltages over 3,3v. Also, all output voltages max at 3.3 volts logic level.
Always keep in mind that we are using 2 power rails because the LEDs work with 12 volts.
The layout of the ESP12-e does not fit strip-/breadboards so you could either solder your own IO adapter board or simply buy one.
In reality the setup doesn’t look nearly that clean. I used a different step-down module to get 3,3V for the ESP while testing and programming the circuit.