yes, i think you are overthinking it.
i just got done re-adjusting some led's on my bike and i too wanted a smoother and brighter glow coming from inside my intakes.
i would recommend a "stingerz" or "sidewinderz" flexible strip because they come with 3M tape on all three sides, which in turn allows them to be mounted in three different ways. what you will want to do is mount them on their side so that the glow is cast directly at the opening of your intakes. make sure to choose a good color. blue, red, green, and orange are all very bright. other colors such as amber, pink, purple are not as bright.
simply mount the strips on the inside of your intakes and use 3M adhesive promoter. i would recommend mounting them vertically along the outer perimeter of your design and you should be good to glow. :bigthumbsup:
if you need wiring help or need some of the promoter i have some extra. i also have some extra led's laying around, so depending on what color you want i might be able to help you out.
let me know if i can be of more help.