How to make your own illuminated sign

Written by michelle barry | 13/05/2017
How to make your own illuminated sign
Christmas lights can be used to resemble a neon sign. (neon sign image by pearlguy from

Crafting your own illuminated sign can be a useful decorating tool in your arsenal to spruce up your small-business decor, draw attention to a party location or simply decorate for the holidays. The shorter the word or phrase, the easier constructing your sign will be. Choose a wall or side of the house that best represents a blank canvas. Having other decorative items nearby will distract your eyes from the impressive sign and make the space feel cluttered.

Write the sign's word or words in cursive letters on a scrap piece of paper. Experiment with the text to achieve the look and layout you want.

Lightly write the word in full scale on your chosen "canvas" in pencil. You could also write the words on clear projector paper with a dry erase marker and use a projector (borrowed from a school or library if necessary) to project the words onto the wall for a guideline.

Cut numerous thin strips of electrical tape, each approximately an inch long. Exactly how many you cut will depend on the length of the word. For a short word, you will likely need at least 25 strips. Choose a tape colour that either blends into the wall or blends in with the strands of lights, making the application discreet and minimally noticeable.

Trace the pencilled-on word with strands of Christmas lights, using the strips of electrical tape to hold them in place. The lights should spell out the words when complete. Use two strands of lights per word to fill in the gaps between the lights and make the word more clearly visible and legible. Position the strands so the lights of the second strand fall between the lights of the first.

Add extension cords as necessary to allow the lights to reach a socket.

Turn the lights on to illuminate the sign. Set the lights to blink for a strobe-light feel.

Things you need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Christmas lights
  • Electrical tape
  • Extension cords
  • Scissors
  • Projector
  • Dry erase marker
  • Projection paper

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