How to Make Illuminated Signs DIY-Style?

Illuminated signs can increase your brand visibility exponentially and attract more customers for potential conversions. However, normal citizens can also utilize custom illuminated signs for a more stylish touch at their place. Whether you own a small business, a tuck shop, or just an enthusiast, you can create this signage at home.

How? Here, we’ll guide you through the process of how to make illuminated signs. Below, we have explained each step in detail and described two methods. One will create a durable and interesting sign, while the other one is friendly on your pocket. So, without further waiting, let’s dive in!

How to Make Illuminated Signs?

Creating custom illuminated signs is not a hard task. In fact, you might enjoy it if you get all the tools and items in your arsenal. Follow the steps below to get yourself great glowing signage according to your desire.

  1. Design Your Signs

Grab a paper & pencil and start designing your sign. Pour all your creativity into the paper. You can also use software like Photoshop, Canva, or other tools to create a more innovative and engaging sign. Craft a logo with a suitable font and print out the text.

Even better if you get assistance from a graphic designer, but it won’t remain DIY anymore. Anyways, craft an intriguing design that should catch everyone’s attention.

  1. Gather All the Equipment

Next, you will need to gather material and tools for operation. The majority of these items are available in a hardware store. But there are two options; a better one and an affordable one. The common items for both methods include:

  1. Paper (Letter Cutouts)
  2. Spray Paint
  3. LED Light Strips
  4. Masking Tape
  5. Duct Tape

Other items that you can interchange are mentioned below. Don’t worry as we will tell you both methods side by side, so you won’t miss out on anything.

  1. Wooden Planks / Cardboard
  2. Acrylic Sheets / Plexiglass
  3. Glue
  4. Saw
  5. Cut the Acrylic Sheets/Plexiglass

In our better method, we will use Plexiglass. It is stronger and creates a better illuminated sign that is visually appealing. Cut out a rectangular piece of Plexiglass using a saw according to your required sign size.

For the affordable method, you can use acrylic sheets. They are also available in any hardware store. Although experts recommend using a power saw, you can cut the sheets with a utility knife too.

  1. Cut Out & Paste Letters

Cut out the logo, text, or sign on the paper. Paste it on the plexiglass or acrylic sheets. Don’t use hard glue for pasting as you need to peel them off later. Another method is using masking tapes which you can cut into shapes of the sign with the help of the printed/designed logo.

  1. Paint the Acrylic Sheets/Plexiglass

When you paste them on the sheets, spray paint them evenly. Spread newspapers on your working table to avoid accidentally painting anything else. Apply the first coat over the sheets and let them dry. After at least 20-30 minutes, spray a second coat for a uniform look.

No need to go for the third coat since you also want the light to glow behind the painted surface. And for this particular reason, you may stop at one coat only for a brighter glow. But two coats will be more durable to bear with the weather attack.

  1. Peel Off Letters

Once you are satisfied that the paint has dried completely, it’s time to peel off the letters carefully. Make sure you don’t peel off the paint outside the masking letters. You can use tweezers and pins for precision and accuracy. After that, the main part of your custom illuminated sign is ready.

  1. Create the Box

Now it’s time to create a box for holding. In our affordable method, you can use a cardboard box. Cut off one side of the box, and use the duct tape inside the box to attach the acrylic sheet. Stick it firmly in its place.

In an alternative method, you will have to get into some woodwork. Cut the planks according to your required lengths. Make a slit in four side panels to secure the plexiglass piece with glue. You can also perform it under an expert’s supervision for better results.

  1. Sand Out the Box

Now sand out the planks for a smoother finish. First, apply 800 grit sandpaper, then use 1000, and later 2000 grit sandpaper to smooth surfaces out. Though it isn’t required, you can use the sandpaper on your cardboard box for a rugged-looking sign (according to your signage need).

  1. Install the LEDs

Now make a hole in the box for wiring. Take an LED light strip and stick it inside the box, outlining the inner walls. Keep the light strip close to your illuminated signs. Make sure they are fixed in their place with tape or glue (or both). Take out the wire through the hole and close the box (either wooden or cardboard).

One important factor to remember here is to make the box completely sealed based on your usage. Of course, if you are going for the affordable option, you are confirmed water won’t find its way near the illuminated signs. It is practically not for external use at all.

But in the case of the wooden box, apply sealants or resins on the joints. Ensure there’s no leakage. The same goes while closing the lead and around the hole where the LED’s wire is coming out. Hence, these illuminated signs are for both internal and external usage.

  1. Mask the Sign & Paint the Box

Once your illuminated signage is ready, protect the acrylic or plexiglass with masking tape. Paint the box with dark or dull paint. It will give your custom illuminated signs a depth and boundary for better aesthetics. Now paint a coat of that contrasting paint over the box. Leave it for about half an hour, then apply a second layer for secured sealing.

  1. Apply Protection

In the case of the wooden box, apply a sealer over the paint to protect the wood from seasonal damage. It will not only hold the fresh look of the wood but also increase the paint’s durability. Oh, no need for a second coat in this case. Once everything dries off, carefully remove the masking tape from the illuminated signs area.

  1. Light it Up

That’s how to make illuminated signs all by yourself. You can go for another mile and drill two holes in the back for hanging. Place it at your desired location, plug it in, and watch your illuminated signage glow after twilight.

Get the Best Illuminated Signs at Advanced Signmakers

Although you can make custom illuminated signs DIY-style, hiring professionals has always been the best solution. Their expertise and proper tools can get you excellent results with utter precision. You can get one of such amazing signs at Advanced Signmakers.

Our team consists of expert designers and professional sign makers who will give you aesthetic signage according to your needs. We only use high-grade acrylic or plexiglass sheets for your signs, which are durable and eye-catchy.


Creating custom illuminated signs isn’t as hard and complicated as it looks. If you manage to collect all the necessary materials, it is a fun activity to engage in. Since now you’ve learned how to make illuminated signs, get yourself a signage that inspires you and others the most. However, if you seek more professional assistance, Advanced Signmakers is always ready to help.

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