How to Make Neon Signs [Step-by-Step Guide]

How to Make Neon Signs [Step-by-Step Guide]

Are you thinking about spicing up your space and don’t mind learning how to make neon signs? Neon signs are loved for their ability to uniquely fascinate and evoke a sense of nostalgia. Tracing their invention in 1910 when George Claude crafted neon signage for a salon in Paris, today they’re used for more than just advertising.

If you’re a DIY lover and don’t mind trying out new ideas, you can craft an amazing custom neon light sign for your business, living room, or other cherished spaces. Despite the mystery behind these lights if you’re not a seasoned lighting expert, with the right neon light-making equipment, you can easily create your own.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the process of crafting your custom DIY neon sign from scratch.

Understanding How Neon Lights Work

The beauty of making your own neon signs is that you get to personalize them in ways that you want, including your name, or a favorite quote. Whether you want a unique touch to your home décor, a custom business sign, or exploring it as an art, understanding how it works will make the process seem easier.

Just like the name suggests, neon lights are simply glass tubes filled with a noble gas, specifically neon. While neon is common for bright red-orange hues, other gases can be used as well. Argon with a drop of mercury is often used in vivid blue lights.

The lights comprise electrodes at either end of the gas-filled tube to conduct electricity. In addition to these electrodes, there’s a transformer that steps up the standard voltage to a level high enough to excite the gas molecules. To achieve various color shades, phosphor coatings can be applied on the glass tube, in addition to using different gases.

Don’t worry if all this is too much to understand; the process we’ll use to make neon signs from scratch is much simpler using LED flex strips. These LED strips are magnificent, offering a fascinating way to give your home décor, event, or business a refreshing look.

As you already know, creating real neon signs using glass tubing, noble gas, and a bit of wiring, can be a bit complex, especially if you’re not a staunch DIY enthusiast. Thankfully, you can make neon signs with LED flex strips. Simply follow this step-by-step guide to create a simple but beautiful LED neon sign.

Steps on How to Make Neon Signs

Now, let’s get to the interesting bit – crafting your custom neon signs. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll make neon signs with LED rather than glass tubes and noble gas. Using LED makes it easier to craft, even for those who are not fond of DIYs

This guide assumes that the neon signage you’re making consists of letters. But if you want something intricate, like a natty wine cup design, these instructions will still work the same way. You can also use them to create a business logo neon signage or other shape.

Step 1: Choose your supplies

As mentioned, this is a DIY neon sign no soldering project with no complex processes. So, if you already were worried about soldering, the good news is that you don’t need to because we’ll be using a neon LED strip light instead. Here’s a complete list of the project supplies:

  • Flexible neon LED strip lights
  • 12V Transformer-LED adapter
  • Clear acrylic sheet
  • Silicone glue or transparent adhesive
  • A power drill
  • Mounting brackets or clips
  • A cutting tool (a scissors or a box cutter)
  • A marker or pen
  • Ruler or measuring tape.

Step 2: Plan the design

Let’s assume you’re creating neon signage for your living room. You need something catchy, easy to remember, and somewhat captivating. For this tutorial on how to make neon signs, we’ll go with “Good Vibes Only,” but feel free to create your own. Check out some inspiring neon sign designs to achieve different moods for various occasions like birthdays, weddings, or spaces like the bedroom and living room.

Plan the design

 

The Better Grade font creates a perfect appeal with these wordings, and the better part of it, the font is free on Da Font. Simply download this font and install it on your PC. Then use MS Word processor to type the words ‘Good Vibes Only’ and apply the Better Grade font. Adjust the font size accordingly to achieve your desired appeal. Alternatively, use your favorite program to create the design and save it as a JPEG image. The end design should be something like this:

Step 3: Print the design

Print the design on a large piece of paper, depending on the size of neon signage you’d like to make. Small indoor wall-mounted signs typically measure 12 inches by 6 inches to 24 inches by 12 inches. If you’re making a business lobby, storefront, or event signage, then you may consider a medium size ranging from 24 inches by 18 inches to 48 inches by 24 inches.

Step 4: Mark the layout for wiring and drilling

With the design printout ready, next, you will mark the points to drill and the path that the wires will pass through. Use a red marker to mark the holes. These should be at the joints or the endings of the letters. Mark the path followed by the wires using a blue marker. Here’s an example of the marked design.

Step 5: Mark and drill the acrylic sheet

Place your acrylic sheet over the marked printout and use a marker to trace the design. This will guide you when placing your LED strips. Don’t forget to drill the hanging holes as well. Use a ¼ inch drill bit to drill the markings.

Step 6: Measure and cut the LED strips

One essential skill in how to make neon signs is cutting the LED strips accordingly to ensure no errors occur that can cost you later on. To do this, you need to make accurate measurements with your tape measure or ruler. 

Measure and cut the LED strips

Place your LED strip on the marked acrylic with your text poster below it. Carefully measure the length of the letters, bearing in mind that some sections will bend or curve. You may have to make minimal connections and cuts, depending on your preferred design. Cut the neon LED strip at the designated points using a box cutter or scissors.

Step 7: Attach LED strips to the acrylic

Following the traced lines on the acrylic sheet, carefully apply a thin layer of silicone glue or transparent adhesive. Now, press your LED strips onto the adhesive while carefully following the traced design and ensuring it follows the pattern contours. Give it some time for the adhesive to dry off completely.

Step 8: Connect the LED strips

Some LED strips are continuous, some are not. If you’re dealing with the latter you need to use the connectors that came with your DIY neon sign kit. The connectors are in the form of pre-wired clips and are easy to attach; simply open the clip and slide in the LED strip. You only need to ensure the contact points are below the prongs then simply close the clip.

Using a wire stripper, remove the wire coating to expose the wire you’ll be connecting to later. To ensure your connectivity is complete, test every piece as you go by. Following the series of holes, thread the wires through the holes as you connect to the ends of the LED strips until you’ve wired the entire design.

Secure the wire connection points with electrical tape. Finally, connect the ending of the LED strip to the 12V transformer-LED adapter to power the neon sign. Ta-daa!  Your neon signage is complete without a hassle. As you can see, there’s no magic needed in learning how to make neon signs. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can move on to create an actual neon sign involving glass tubes, noble gas, and soldering wires.

Connect the LED strips

But for now, sit back and admire your craft. Be amazed by the beautiful light your custom neon sign emits to beautify your space.

Step 9: Mount Your Neon Sign

How would you like to display the signage? There are two ways; mount it using mounting brackets, or lean the acrylic sheet against the wall. If you choose to mount, drill holes in the acrylic sheet using a power drill then secure it with the mounting clips.

Choose a spot on your wall where you’ll mount the neon sign, ensuring it’s the first point of view when entering the room.

Step 10: Power up and enjoy your neon sign craft

At this point, nothing’s going to separate you from the greatness of the neon sign that awaits. Simply connect the adapter to a power outlet, switch it on, and watch the vibrance of the LED glow into your space.

Summing it up

Once you master how to make neon signs with LED flex strips, you can play around with the design to achieve different unique styles. LED strip light looks just as good or even better than ordinary neon lights, give off brighter light, and are more durable.

 So, if you want to reinvent the space around you, a DIY neon sign no soldering project is an inexpensive way to do it. The supplies for this project are also readily available on the web. With this simple guide and the materials ready, why don’t you create something amazing at home?

If you’re not a DIY lover or simply don’t have the time, you can still get a personalized LED neon sign for your home décor, upcoming event, or business at Oasis Neon Signs. Check out some of the fascinating categories and designs for inspiration.

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