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Light Up Your Life With This Thrifty DIY Neon Sign

by BUST Magazine

Neon signs can be really expensive, especially a custom one. But with this simple faux neon craft, you can put your name—or any word you want—in lights, for about $20. Go get lit! 


  • Marker
  • Poster board
  • String
  • 18-gauge wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Scotch tape
  • Hot glue gun
  • EL wire with battery pack (a fancy name for light-up cord, available on Amazon)
  • White or black electrical tape
  • Tacks or nails



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Using a marker, write the word you want to light in cursive on a piece of poster board. The battery pack will be attached to the end of the EL wire, so choosing a word with a last letter that drops down can make the battery pack easier to hide (behind a piece of furniture, for example).

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To find out how much wire and light cord you’ll need, use string to trace the word, adding a small tail to the last letter, and cut. (For a short word like Sup, we got 9 feet of EL wire; our sign is about 24″ tall by 16″ wide.)

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Use wire cutters to snip the 18-gauge wire to the length of the string.

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Bend the wire into the shape of your word. Use tape to keep the wire in place as you work. Place something heavy on the wire until it’s flattened into shape.

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Adhere the EL wire to the 18-gauge wire using the hot glue gun, removing the tape as you go. Glue a couple of inches at a time, letting the glue dry completely before continuing. Once finished, clean up any stray glue. 

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Wrap any remaining EL wire that you want hidden with electrical tape. 

Hang your faux neon piece using tacks or small nails under the loops of the letters.

By Callie Watts

Photographed by Hannah Whitaker


This article originally appeared in the February/March 2018 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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