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Check out my new Christmas Tune To Sign w/backlit vinyl, lightbox, white LED ropelight for backlight

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Wow, what a relief, my sign project is finally over. After obsessing last year for a new sign, I spent all year long bouncing ideas around in my head. The photo below shows the fruit of my dreams and labor over the last week. It's my awesome new paint still wet,tune to Christmas Sign with a built in light box and lit with two 25 foot LED rope lights that I bought at Costco last year for this very purpose.

I got all the materials at Lowes, from 3 completely different and unrelated material areas. The sign is drying outside in the night as we speak, I just finished painting it 3 hours ago.

The 4” wide square posts are deck posts that I got down the lumber aisle. The point caps are white plastic fence caps that I got down the white plastic fence aisle, then I painted them green. The awesome decorative Corbels you see under the light box I got down the crown molding aisle. I also got somequarter round floor beading wood to make my red bezel frame which holds the Plexiglas in place.

I also got some sanded rounded pine wood to form the gentle curves of the top lid and bottom of the sign. Took me all weekend to make this from scratch.

I’m glad it’s finally done, my neighbor Steve and I spent probably 3 hours over the weekend on a few nights just playing with different types of LED lighting to provide and even lighting for this backlit vinyl sign. This sign draws almost zero current and does not heat up at all. I know other people use flourescent or other light bulbs, but I wanted zero power. There is not one single incandescent light on my display this year, it is 100% LED even my signs and floods.

Backlit vinyl is a special type of semi opaque vinyl where you light it from behind. Instead of sticking it to Plexiglas, this one is sandwiched between one ¼” Plexiglas sheet and one 1/8” sheet on the back of it. This sign took me probably 30 hours of labor total, plus I had a helper paint the posts and corbels for me.


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mnapuran, that's a nice sign you have there also! Did you draw that up, or have someone do it for you? Which program did you use? Here's a clos-up shot of the fancy corbels I used on my sign. It looks as though the corbel is supporting the bottom of my light box, but it's actually just glued on.


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Some people design their sign on Powerpoint or Photoshop, and upload the file to a sign shop who prints it onto vinyl for them. I used Powerpoint to mock up what I wanted to see on my sign, and the sign maker had the software, not sure what he used. But he sent me a jpg of it to approve, and once I approved it he printed it on backlit vinyl for me.

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It's a standard sized 24 x 18 backlit vinyl sheet.

When you buy your signbe sure to specify BACKLIT VINYL otherwiseyour sign shop will print it on regular vinyl, which isopaque!

I paid $45 for this vinyl. Pretty cheap considering all the emails back and forth until we settled on the final design.

I had my sign printed by Greg at Rainbow Vinyl Graphics see samples on his web site, and he will work closely with you on customizing too:


He is aweosme, you won't be dissapointed.

For example of his customizing, photo below shows one of revisions of the sign we considered early on, but decided we wanted lettering to be bigger.


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Hey, Jeff,

I'm thinking of mounting my Planet Christmas Santa Crew Member sign on a piece of lexan and backlighting it.

Your sign appears to be marginally adequate for this purpose. :P

Got any more pics of it (from various angles) or a quick description of its construction?

Or shall I just guess at it?

(Or should I just drive up there and "borrow" it? :laughing::laughing::laughing:)

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Here is ours that I had made at FastSigns for $35 last year.

it is on a 2'x3' white vinyl banner with metal grommets in each of the 4 corners. i attached 2 pieces of 1 1/2" PVC vertically so i can stake it up in the yard where i want it, and roll it up for storage when we're done.


Here is a pic of it in our yardfrom across the street.


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I do have a lot of photos. We took video and shot pcitures at every step, so I can make a youtube video showing people how to make the sign and lightbox.

When you come to the house I'll show you how we did it. I do plan to post an app note on how to build the sign next week after my display is up and I have more time. Here's a fe more photos:


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Here is the back panel with two 25 foot white LED rope lights that we got from Costco last year. Not also I glued down mirror film that I bought at Lowes. This reflects a lot of light toward the front of the sign. If you can leave space, then you almost double the number of some lights, as the reflection of the LEDs also bounces toward the front in addition to the incident light waves.


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This photo shows the view of the light box looking from the back of the box, down on the sign, which is underneath it's rear Plexiglas panel.

The long wooden strip you see at the top of the photo is what I use to pressure hold the sign to the front Plexiglas panel. The wooden strip is screwed into the side of the box such that it applies pressure to the rear Plexiglas panel, which pushes down on the sign, forcing it against the front Plexiglas panel, which you can't see in thephoto, it's on the unederside of the box in this photo. Remember, this is a backlit vinyl sheet, so you do not glue it onto a panel, you float it between 2 Plexiglas panels.

You can see we added mirror film to all sides inside the light box.


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This photo shows the rear view of the of the nearly complete sign from behind, before I secured the back panel with the rope lights attached. In this photo you can see the two 5/16” lag screws that I used to attach the light box to each post. Lag screws are thick screws that have a hex head. They are used for heavy load applications in wood, swing sets, etc. They have a convenient hex head so you use a socket wrench to tighten it down.


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Not to be a nit-picker (and the sign is awesome as is) but it seems to me that white paint inside would be better than the foil. It would diffuse the light rather than reflect it. (Not to mention it would be easier and cheaper.)

Unless you're dealing with a parabolic relfector or something, I think diffusion is better than reflection.

Any physics majors care to comment?

In any event, I'll be painting mine white inside. We can then do a side-by-side comparison. ;)

Thanks for the photos. They are helpful.

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Ah, but one point you missed is that the mirror film will duplicate whatever bulbs there, effectively doubling the number of bulbs the front panel sees.

The sign needs no diffusion, because the backlit vinyl is diffuesed enough. The sign is so evenly lit.

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jeffostroff wrote:

Ah, but one point you missed is that the mirror film will duplicate whatever bulbs there, effectively doubling the number of bulbs the front panel sees..

I mean this in the nicest way possible:

Nonsense. That violates one or more laws of physics.

If such were the case, you could increase the light level in your house to 120 watts with a single 60 watt bulb.


Sounds like a good experiment.

! box black inside.

1 box white inside.

1 box foil inside.

Same illumination source.

Measure the light in front ofeach.

I'd bet on the white box.

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