Vinyl- I used black but I suppose you could use what ever color you wanted. The only thing I might worry about is other colors might not be as opaque and allow some light bleed.
Vinyl Transfer Paper
Acrylic- I used what I had sitting around .071". The main requirement is that it will slide into the kerf created by the table saw
MDF- I used 1/2" but 3/4" would work fine. It just depends on what kind of proportions you want.
LED strip lights- You can find them at a good price here.
Power source- Wall Wort type, get the kind that fits the power requirements for your lights. I used 12v DC 1amp
Power Plug- To plug the power supply lead into the sign. Sometimes the lights come with them otherwise you can get them at Radio Shack
Hardboard- Or other backing product to form the back side of the sign .
Three Way Pull Switch- I got mine from Menards where it was listed for use with ceiling fans. You can also just get a basic on off switch which looks basically the same.
Silhouette Portrait- Or other vinyl cutter. I also realized that you could go to a local graphics shop and have the vinyl cut for you.
Step 1: Cutting the Vinyl
Make sure to do plenty of test cuts before running your final cut and making sure your size is correct. If anyone has trouble with their Silhouette just ask in the comments and I will help out as much as possible.
After the vinyl is cut weed out the parts you dont want. You can buy special tools to do this but I have found that a xacto knife works just as well. Then carefully place your transfer paper on top the the image and stick it down. I got a lot of wrinkles but if you go slow and slowly rub across the image you can eliminate most of them.
Step 2: Frosting the Acrylic/Transfering the Image
Now to transfer the image. The biggest advice I can give here is line everything up and go as slow as possible. because the acrylic has a rough pattern from the sanding it is hard at first to get the vinyl to stick but keep slowly rubbing the vinyl down and eventually it will stick. Once the image has been transferred but the vinyl so that the adhesive is evenly stuck down. This will make the display side look better.
Step 3: Cutting the Frame/Board Prep/Frame Assembly
To cut the frame set you table saw to the width you want your frame to be. and cut the board down to size. next drop the blade so it is an 1/8"-3/8" high and set your fence to the size of the lip you want between the edge of the sign and the acrylic. and run your boards through creating the the spot the slide the acrylic into.
Then paint the inside white to better reflect the light and coat the outside of the board with your choice of sealant, I used polyurethane. By doing this now it means you do not have to deal with trying not to get paint on the acrylic after you assemble the frame.
Finally cut the boards down to size. I figured out my lengths by putting two parallel sides together and measuring that length and doing the same on the other side. I cut my angles on the table saw.
To assemble the frame I used a band clamp at the top and quick clamps at the bottom to pull everything to square. I decided to just glue it and not bother with nailing. After the glue dried I gave it a light sanding at the corners and touched up the polyurethane.
Step 4: Light Installation/Final Bits and Pieces
To finish it off I added 2 eye hooks and and some chain to hang it, but it could also just be set on a desk.
Thanks for looking at this Instructable. If you have any questions about what I did just ask in the comments. Unfortunately I cannot take any photos of the inside since I already mailed it off, but I can try to explain further if anyone needs more clarification.
I am including the video I took of it working where I demonstrate how it works to the buyer I hope this helps show how it works.
If you like this but dont want to build it yourself I am going to do a small production run of these with custom text/imagery. Email me at Keeney@keeneyswearer.com if you are interested.
If you like this project see more of what I do at www.keeneyswearer.com