A while ago, I came across a picture of an Open sign, with lights, with a red background, on wood. Being the Scavenger that I am, my first thought was, I can make that, how hard can that be?…. I filed that idea away in the back of my mind. I have no idea where I found that original idea and if you’ve seen something similar , let me know and I’ll give credit where credit is due. I have tried googling “Light up open signs”, “Vintage Open signs”, “Open signs that light up”, but I can’t seem to find that first picture that gave me a spark.
To begin this project I had to start with the lights. I had no idea if this is something that was sold in stores or if I would have to string together my own lights. If I couldn’t find the lights I was looking for this project would be finished before even beginning. First place I checked out for lights was Michaels. They had a nice selection of Halloween lights and they had just gotten their Christmas lights in. They didn’t have what I was looking for. Just a couple of doors down the shopping center is the local Target. Jackpot. They had the perfect lights.
If the globe lights are not in season at Target, I did find a set at Amazon, they can be found here… 25Ft G40 Globe String Lights with Clear Bulbs, UL listed Backyard Patio Lights, Hanging Indoor/Outdoor String Light for Bistro Pergola Deckyard Tents Market Cafe Gazebo Porch Letters Party Decor, Black
Apparently what I was looking for were these clear Globe Lights. A set of 25 for $12.99.
I only needed 13 of the lights and I didn’t really want 12 empty light sockets hanging out behind my sign. Could I cut the wire? I know if you take even one tiny bulb out of a string of Christmas lights, the whole darn thing won’t work. A lot of those Christmas light strings have multiple wires twisted together, this only had one. Well here goes nothing, snip. Well would you look at that, the lights string still works. I did tape the end with electrical tape so I had no loose wires. I do hope to use the remainder of the strand in the future, I’ll just see if I can find another wire with a plug.
With working lights…full speed ahead.
Googling OPEN signs, I did find an open sign I liked here . Perfect font for what I was looking for. After looking through 100 different fonts to try and replicate the sign I decided to just use this one. On the computer I enlarged the sign until the letters measured 9 inches high. These were printed out on plain paper.
The letters were cut out and placed on my 1/2 inch plywood. Only then did I come up with my final size of my arrow. The widest part of the arrow was 18″ and most of the length of the arrow was 14″, which gave me 2 1/2 inches above and below my letters for my lights. (Full size of the plywood needed was 45″ x 18″)
With the letters in place, I drew my arrow directly on the plywood. This would be my cut line.
Cut out the plywood arrow with a circular saw for the long cuts and a handheld jigsaw.
To give my arrow a little more rustic feel, I once again dove into my supply of pallet wood covering my plywood arrow completely. Once I was happy with the coverage…
…I used the arrow as a template and traced my cut lines onto the pallet wood.
The lines that were drawn with my arrow template were then cut. Used a finishing nailer to nail all my pieces into place. If you don’t have a nail gun, construction adhesive or finishing nails would do the trick, just make sure your finishing nails are shorter than the width of your pallet wood and backing together.
The whole piece was painted red.
The paper letters were once again placed over top of my arrow. This time they were taped in place and traced around. Once I had my outline, it was just a matter of painting in the lines.
Like my OPEN sign inspiration picture, I added a black line for shadow effect and to give the letters a little depth.
Took a palm sander and sanded over the letters lightly to give a little more of that aged look.
Laid out where I thought the lights should go and adjusted them until they were about even around the entire sign. Marked with chalk and with a 3/4 inch drill bit, I drilled my marked holes.
As you can see, not all my holes are drilled, my battery died so I’m recharging.
Meanwhile, with scraps I had cut off the sides of my arrow, I nailed a ridge around the entire arrow. The ridge was placed outside the line of drilled holes, it will prevent the arrow from sitting on the wires while on the wall.
Battery finished charging and I was able to finish drilling the holes.
With pallet wood I edged the entire sign, this hid all the rough edges.
We’re onto the last step. Adding those globe lights. Sockets were pushed all the way into the holes and the wires stapled in place. I was considering adding another layer of plywood to conceal all my wires but I didn’t have a scrap piece large enough. As long as it’s mounted securely on a wall it shouldn’t be needed.
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