How to build an LED sign

Updated February 21, 2017

An LED sign is an illuminated sign made with LED, or light-emitting diode, light bulbs which produce little heat and are energy efficient. Use an LED sign in a shop window to attract the attention of potential customers, or as part of a decoration. You can purchase a custom-made or generic LED sign, but the cost may be prohibitive. Constructing your own LED sign allows you to create the precise sign you require while staying within your budget.

Determine what material you want to make the sign from. A thin sheet of fibreglass is very durable and will last a long time, while a thin piece of cheap wood may degrade quickly, especially if it gets wet or is dropped. Fibreglass is more expensive, however, and may not be the best choice economically if the sign is seasonal in nature and will be displayed only a few weeks out of the year.

Lay the sign material on a flat surface and draw the message you want on the sign using a pencil. For example, draw the word "OPEN" if you want a sign to hang in your store's window when it is open.

Draw evenly-spaced dots over the stencil, leaving 6 mm between each dot.

Select a drill bit the diameter of the LEDs on your strand of Christmas lights. Place the drill bit into your drill, then drill a hole where each dot is located on your sign. Wipe the sign with a damp cloth to remove the residue from drilling.

Paint the face of the sign if you want to change its colour. For example, spray paint it black to make the LEDs stand out better. Allow it to dry thoroughly before continuing.

Flip the sign over so that its back is facing upwards. Insert an LED from your strand of Christmas lights into each hole. Fix them in place using hot glue and a hot glue gun. Wait for the gun to dry.

Place the sign wherever you'd like. Drill a hole in the top of the sign, for example, and hang it from a hook, or place it on a windowsill facing outwards for window shoppers to see.

Plug in the strand of Christmas lights to illuminate the sign. Utilise an extension cord if the sign isn't located near a power outlet.

Things You'll Need

  • Fibreglass
  • Pencil or pen
  • Ruler
  • Drill
  • Drill bit kit
  • Cloth
  • Black spray paint
  • LED Christmas lights
  • Hot glue
  • Hot glue gun
  • Extension cord
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About the Author

Based in New England, Quinn Marshall began her writing career in 2004. She was a featured writer for Laptop Logic and contributes to publications such as "Smashing Magazine."