Making a DIY Light-Up Sign With Just a Few Simple Materials!
You’re gonna be so shocked when you find out how amazingly fun and painless this is. You won’t have to know a thing about all the serious aspects of lighting such as wiring, positive to negative blahblahblah…(Because let’s be honest, I don’t either)
Other than what I needed to know to assemble the wiring from the kit I needed for my mason jar lamp, I don’t mess around with something that has the power to well, shock you…However this project will, in a good way!
First of all, I have had a love affair with light-up signs as long as I can remember….but couldn’t do anything much in the direction of making my own because, well, it seemed dangerous, I presumed you had to to know all about all that technical stuff.
It would be fun to have a light-up sign like one of those you might have seen in an old retro 50s diner or something.
The Inspiration Behind My Own Own Light-Up Sign!
I have one of those light-up vintage clocks with a soda ad company name on it, but unfortunately the light burned out and I had no idea how to replace it, since it was crafted with a fluorescent tube. Wait, what?
I didn’t want to throw out a piece of memorabilia…I needed an easy fix – the best I could do was to go through my collection of Christmas and party lights and turned up a midget string that I was able to insert in its place, and voila….Wow, what a fix that was!
Then I decided to create a sign of my own using this same technique.
Maybe it’s a tad amateurish (criticism accepted) but I don’t know about you but I don’t want to fool around with something I don’t know what the heck I’m doing (I’ll leave that up to the professionals)
Anyway, it took me about three days tops to make this sign below, and all I used was the following:
Making the Design For Your Light-Up Sign
1) Here is the box from the start, I used a ruler to mark where the word “exit” needed to be centered and create a perimeter that was even all around so all the letters would be the same size.
I used an x-acto knife to cut out the letters. It may look a little crude here, but I was willing to allow for marker error since I planned to paint it.
Tip: Choose a simple word design like this -“Love” and “Joy” would qualify here; or if you happen to have a short nickname or name period, would be a great idea for your design.
2) I spray painted the box with black spray paint. Your shoebox may have writing on it most likely, so after cutting your design would be a good time to paint it.
3) I used a sheet of cellophane/clear plastic (used to write on overhead projectors) to line the design’s outline…then applied some glue and pressed down. This was to protect the tissue paper which is likely to tear.
4.) I carefully glued down the tissue paper sheet (Also letting these two sit for awhile so they would not buckle)
How To Attach the Lights the Right Way?
5) I was in a quandary regarding the lights at first….I have one of these “fairy lights” used for decor, but they resulted in such a faint looking appearance overall I figured I needed to use my midgets instead.
No, the lights did NOT go out…Technical difficulties, please stand by!
Good thing I lightly taped them in place to test them out first.
6) So on to the midget light strand. I used a piece of thick foam poster board inside the box to have a place for the lights to be arranged on. I needed a way to secure the string so when the box is sitting upright the lights won’t roll around,
Your string of lights need to be “distributed” in a special way so they are not in a clump at the bottom.
To do this part I used a drill and made small holes at the corners. I wound the light string in a circle and secured three areas with twist ties. Then I pushed the board piece down. I made sure to carefully spread each light out …when done right, no one will know that’s Christmas lights in there!
7) Cut a notch on the side of the foam board (there is also a notch at the back of the shoebox too for the cord to thread through)
8) You know what’s coming…close up the box (the piece of board is pretty taut so it will stay in place on its own) and plug it in.
Now…Time to Test Out Your Light-Up Sign!
Pretty awesome right? And you didn’t have to fool around with unfamiliar tools either. Just a regular old strand of midget party lights!
Don’t think you have to use a word as your design, you can come up with something like a star, heart, moon, your first initial, family surname initial, etc. Just make the design simple and sweet so it will be easier to handle when cutting early on.
Oh, by the way, check out what this gal did…Very impressive! She pretty much created an exit sign just like mine but with a different approach (sounds easier I have to admit) and it became a nightlight for her son’s room…how cool is that?
(It looks like I may need to get out more and go to some yard sales, lol)
Now get busy and light up your living area now!