Neon signs in homes have been been undergoing a renaissance recently, and inspired by this sign (no longer available), I decided to make my own DIY neon sign. Technically it’s faux neon, because it’s made with glowing electroluminescent (EL) wire instead of glass tubes and neon gas. Real neon is definitely not a DIY project most of us are equipped to handle, but shops like Electric Confetti prove that real neon isn’t required to make a real statement.
So here’s my take on how to create a simple DIY neon sign, which you can use to spell out any word you like. Or use it for a simple shape, but keep in mind that it needs to be drawn with one continuous line and no sharp turns.
Make a Custom Faux Neon Sign
EL wire – I used this EL wire in rose (which is barely pink), but similar EL wire is available in many different colors and lengths.
Heavy-duty utility wire – I used this wire.
Yarn or string
Fishing wire, or other clear filament
Boltcutters, or heavy-duty wirecutters
Pen or pencil
1. Since there’s no place to hide excess EL wire, you’ll need to use it all. Measure the length of your EL wire, then measure the same length of yarn or string. Tape together a few pieces of white paper, and spell out your word in cursive. Adjust the size of the letters until you use the whole length of string.
2. Roughly trace around the string to give yourself a guide, then cut a piece of wire to the same length (I had to use boltcutters because my wirecutters weren’t strong enough), and bend it to match your letters.
3. Tie the free end of the EL wire to the beginning of the first letter with clear fishing wire. Then attach the EL wire to the metal wire by winding the fishing wire around both, for the entire word. At least once per letter, instead of just winding the fishing wire around, tie it in a knot to secure it, and tie it in knots around spots where the wires cross over themselves, like on the loop of the “e.”
4. Tie another knot in the fishing wire around the metal wire and the EL wire when you reach the end, then trim the excess fishing wire.
5. Hang your sign from several small nails beneath the loops of the letters.