Neon signs are a fun, cool, and unique way to decorate and light up a room. You can make almost anything into a neon sign and make it whatever color you want. We all know they can be expensive when ordering them from a professional or through a business. How can you justify ordering a custom neon sign that can cost up to hundreds of dollars when you have a tight budget? Don’t worry; I have a way of how to make your own neon sign at home! These signs shouldn’t be limited to a specific group of people just because of the high price tag that comes with it. So sit back and find out how you can make a neon sign at home!

blue neon sign reading "enjoy today"
Photo by Ikhsan Sugiarto on Unsplash

Why Do It Yourself

You can be asking yourself, “why should I make a neon sign when I can pay someone to do it for me?” and I got an answer for you. There can be many reasons why you take the DIY route instead of having someone else do it. Reason number one, you are tight on money but still want a sign of your own. Just because you don’t have the extra funds to spend money on expensive decor, you should still have an option to get one. Reason number two is it can be a fun project to do with yourself or others. We’ve all had our fair shares of wanting to do something creative when we have extra time on our hands so, why not make a neon sign? The possibilities when making your sign at home can be endless since you can pick the design and color but on top of that, make it look however you want. Reason number three, the last reason is that you have full control of how it turns out. It’s possible to have custom neon signs made by professionals but, when you are the one making it, you can make and do whatever you want to it. 

supplies laid out
Photo by Jo Szczepanska on Unsplash

Supplies You Will Need

The materials you will need are a canvas, a pencil, a hot glue gun, a sewing needle, and something called el wire.

Where To Purchase Supplies

El wire- The only place I’ve found El wire is on Amazon

Canvas board- You have many options on where to purchase a canvas, so I’ll list a few. You can choose between Michaels, Amazon, Walmart, Target, or any store near you that sells canvas board.

Hot Glue Gun- Again, you have many options of where to purchase a glue gun. Some places available are Michaels, Amazon, Walmart, or any store near you where they are available.

Pencil- You can purchase pencils almost anywhere

Sewing needles- You can purchase sewing needles at Amazon, Joann, Walmart, or any store near you where they are available

blue el wire
Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash

How to Make Your Sign

Alright, now it’s time for you to learn how to make your own neon sign. I made a small 19-second video showing each step I took to make my sign, but I also have written instructions. The video is at the bottom of the directions!

For our first step, you will have to gather all the supplies needed to make the sign; I have listed the supplies needed in the section above. The second step is optional but, you can paint your canvas black or keep it white, but that is up to you. Along with that, I would check the el wire you purchased and see if it works like it’s supposed to. You wouldn’t want to start your project with the color you want to use broken.

In the third step, we move on to choosing what we want our sign to say; in the video, I had mine say “day ‘n’ nite” after one of my favorite songs.

design outline

Once you decided what you want your sign to say or pick a design to do, I suggest sketching it out on a separate sheet of paper, or if you want, print your design off the computer and then trace it onto the canvas. Another suggestion is; if you want your design or words to be spaced out use, a ruler and make marks on where to start/end your design or words. When you decide where to place your stencils, you can transfer your design onto the canvas and erase any access marks you made. The lines making your design can stay because they won’t be visible at the end.

needle and outline

At this point, your canvas should only have your design outlines then you are ready to begin the fourth step. Depending on your design or font you want for your words, you will be placing holes at the start and endings of where each segment starts. To do this, you will be taking a needle and stabbing holes where needed.

 For example, I choose to do cursive for my words, and that allowed me to make fewer holes in my canvas. You are starting with the el wire in the back of the canvas, so the first hole the wire will be coming from back to front. Each hole you make means the wire will be going from front to back or back to front. You will decide on how many times you want your wire to switch back and forth.

You will usually be making holes when there is a hard stop in the design, or it’s the end of a line. The el wire is very flexible  when it comes to curves. I suggest laying out your wire and seeing when the holes are needed, and threading your wire through the whole thing before starting the gluing process.

Once you make all the holes needed, you can go onto the fifth step, gluing. Starting, you will bring the wire from back to front in the first hole and start gluing along the lines you made back in the third step to help you know where your design is. Go along the whole outline you made and thread your wire whenever you come to one of the holes. 

For your final step, once you have the wire glued down and in place, you can go along and clean up the stray glue strands because it may happen with all the glue being used.

Once you complete everything above, you are done! That is how to make you own neon sign at home. I hope this helped you with everything you were looking for, and I can’t wait for you to start making neon signs of your own! Take your time and have fun with it!

Video is owned by me!