I'm a party organiser from Amsterdam and I wanted something special and visual to decorate my events. I came up with the idea to have a huge, flashing billboard build by a lighting company. This was way too expensive, so I decided to build one myself in the backyard. I had no previous experience with something like this and no real technical/electrical skills, so basically everybody should be able to do this. It cost me about € 500,- and three days of work. I think it turned out pretty decent...
Check out the after movie for my Queensday Event in Amsterdam below to see the end result in action.
Step 1: 1. the Design
Step 2: 2. Material & Equipment
- Four plates of 9 mm plywood (244cm x 122cm). Two plates are used as back plates and the other two to cut out the letters.
- 300 red E14 230V/10W carnaval/fair lights (I bought mine at www.multilightholland.nl. They sell complete light sets; including case, light bulb and socket. Also different voltages and LED, if you want.)
- 100 meter 1,5 mm electric cable
- 6 switch plugs (one for each letter)
- 1 can of red paint
- 1 can of black paint
- a jig saw
- a drill
- a Philips screwdriver
- two paint rollers
- common sense
Step 3: 3. Sawing the Design
Step 4: 4. Drilling Socket Holes & Painting
I was a bit too eager to see what the end result was going to look like, so I painted the letters before drilling the socket holes. I advise to do this in reverse order. :)
Step 5: 5. Sockets, Cases and Wiring
By sure to use parallel wiring/circuit, so not all lights fail when one light bulb breaks (=Christmas lighting/series wiring). Each letter gets it's own switch plug so it can be adressed separately from the others letters once in use.
Step 6: 6. Put Everything Together
To make all letters flash individually all switch plugs must be hooked up to a dimmer pack, which in turn have to be plugged into a light table through dmx cables and programmed (might sound complicated, actually is really simple). 4-channel dimmer packs cost about € 75,- a piece. I don't own dimmer packs myself. I usually rent them when needed.
Below a short clip (low resolution/bad sound quality) of the billboard fully functional.