Introduction: Carnival/Wedding Illuminated Letters
So we're getting married in July this year (2016) and, being that the Wedding reception is in a barn, we wanted to have some big illuminated letters of our initials- but to hire these things for the day you're looking at £180.00 - £250.00 per letter!!....and to buy them? Well, weddings are expensive enough.
So i decided to make ours and it really is very straight forward.
All you need is:
-1 sheet of 6mm ply (2440 x 1220): £8 - £10
-ES lampholders quantity depending on how bright you want them. Sourced on Ebay (cheap from china) approx 0.70p per holder
-LED bulbs Edison (screw type) cheap on Ebay (from China) approx. £1.00 per lamp
-25m 0.75 double barrel copper cable
- 2 lengths of 2 x 2 (50mm x 50mm) batten cut into 2inch (50mm) spacers £3.00
- hole cutter £11.00
-4 cans of spray white paint (can roll it or brush it if preferred) £36.00
- plug top with a 5amp (depending on how many lamps you're going to use) £1.00
Step 1: Choose a Font and Cut Out the Letters
I downloaded a blocky type font which i thought would look good
-I then used a projector to project each letter onto the sheet of 6mm ply
- I drew round the letters and the ampersand and cut the letters out with a jig saw
- I sanded the edges and having one set of letters i then used them as templates for a second round of letters, these would be my base layer
- I then evenly distributed my lampholders across my letters until they look correct. I drew round the lampholders and drilled out the holes with my hole cutter.
IMPORTANT: The hole cutter must be smaller than the lampholder but big enough to accept the lamp. I used a 36mm holecutter.
-Once the holes were drilled i placed the top layer letter onto the bottom layer and drew an outline of the hole onto the bottom layer marking the required location of the lampholder.
Step 2: Paint Top Layer / Install Lamp Holders and Lamps
Prep/Paint top Layer
- With the holes cut in the top layer these can now be prepped, painted, and drying while you get on with the electrical tasks
-I sanded down, primed, sanded down, 1st coat, one final sand, 2nd coat and i used a gloss white finish which cost more but wanted a glossy finish which helps reflect the light
Genuinely cannot get more basic:
- You have marked where the lamps holders need to go. Wire them up in series, (daisy chain) and fix them to the ply with screws
- You can either fit a plug onto each letter they are incredibly low voltage being LED plus the benefit of little to no heat from the lamps, or use KLIK FLOW plugs or equivalent to link up the letters during install
Remeber you chopped up batten? These are used for spacers between the two letter layers. Hopefully they'll be approximately the depth of the lampholder to obscure the lampholders. The spaceres also creates the depth to the letter which means it can stand up! I used screws to fit the spacers to the bottom layer and then grip fill/ no more nails adhesive to fit the top painted layer
Step 3: Plug It in
Fit the lamps, and plug in baby!
I'm really happy with them, i would make more but haven't got the room! I took it real slow and enjoyed it took me a couple of days but i think you could easily do a letter a day including paint and drying.
Plus they are bright enough in the daylight which means we can enjoy them all day and into the evening.