Budget friendly Neon Sign DIY
When I first started seeing neon signs everywhere, I remember thinking that I wanted to get one for each room of my apartment. I spent an afternoon scrolling Pinterest and looking for ideas. I had prepared a PDF with sizes and instructions and sent it to one of the vendors we partner with to get a quotation.
I was super excited until the quote arrived and I realised one thing:
neons are ridiculously expensive!
I did not see that coming, especially since I live in China! All sorts of stuff are crazy cheap here, so I called and asked if they made a mistake. NOPE. No mistakes, they're just expensive.
I did not let that discourage me and after some research, I found a good neon substitute that costs 10x less! So here's my budget-friendly neon DIY:
WHY I LIKE THIS DIY
・It's battery powered so you don't have to plug it anywhere.
・It's not as fragile as the real ones.
BE AWARE OF
・The sign won't be as bright as an actual neon, especially in the daytime.
・This DIY takes some time to make so make sure you free your schedule for at least 2 hours.
THINGS YOU'LL NEED
Start by sketching the words on some A4 or A3 paper, figure out the size and style. Once you're happy with the result, place the papers on your board and retrace the words using a pencil. You can either use carbon-copy paper or simply press hard while retracing so to leave a mark on the foam board (but not too hard otherwise you will pierce it).
Make sure you have enough EL wire by laying down a string following the letters. Measure the string and add about 10 inches (30cm) just to be sure.
Use the same string to figure out where you have to poke the holes for the EL wire. The wire will be on the front when forming the letters, and will pass on the back of the board between gaps. (See example on the side)
Poke the holes using a pencil or a metal nail.
Start threading the wire through the first hole from the back to the front. You can secure the battery pack with tape.
Following your design, drop some hot glue (a few inches at a time) and carefully stick the wire and hold in place until the glue sets. Use the pliers to help you bend and place the wire. Continue the process until you get to the end of the last word.
Flip your finished signage and secure the remaining wire with some tape. Cover all the wire on the back side with some black duct tape so that your signage only lights up from the front and you're done!