Picture of Lighted Portal Warning Symbol
Test Chamber 19.jpg

I like the many gamers LOVE Portal. It and its sequel are my top two favorite games. So it would come naturally that I would want to build something portal related. As I was playing one day I looked over at one of the signs outside each test chamber and looked really closely at the little icons that tell you what you are going to come across in that chamber. Then it hit me! I can make a sign like the one in the game!

This is my first instructable so any constructive criticism is appreciated.

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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools
Plexiglas or Regular Glass
Wood (3"x 3/4" plank & 1/8" plywood sheet)
Spray Paint (Black and White)
Gloss Black Paint
Silver Paint or Other Shiny Material
Sticker Paper
Standard Bulb Socket (w/o switch)
LED or CFL bulb
Piano Hinges
Magnet Latch
Standard Home Electrical wire (preferably w/ plug end)
Splice-in switch (Rotary or Rocker will work)
Dowel Joiners (optional)
Masking/ Painters' Tape

Table Saw
Miter Saw
Routing Table (optional)
Sand Paper
Rotary Tool
X-acto Knife
Tape Measure
Computer w/basic image editor (I used MS Office Publisher)

If you didn't realize it by the annotations I like Craftsman tools.

Step 2: Choose and Edit Picture

Picture of Choose and Edit Picture
After searching around for a while I found this image on Deviant Art, made by toadking07. Choose the warning sign you want and crop it out from the rest of the icons. Once isolated you need to flip the image horizontally to make the painted image turn out the right direction. After it has been flipped scale the image to the desired size. If you expand the image to the point where it becomes pixelated don't worry it wont matter. Once you have your image the size you want it print it out on the sticker paper.
corsi3 years ago
so black on the front and white on the back?
Schober (author)  corsi3 years ago
I had a feeling someone was going to ask that so I'm going to feature your question.

I wanted a smooth glossy finish on the surface that the paint wouldn't scratch off of so I didn't paint on one side. After I finished painting the black paint I painted the white paint directly over top of it. So all of the paint is on the non-exposed side.

I do not have a whole lot of time because I am just wrapping up a semester for my masters program. I would love to PURCHASE one of these from someone who has made one... I really want one with the "don't drink the water" warning sign on it. Can anyone help me with this??

kbeck72 years ago
Tried this, but changed the color of the cube and used different materials for the warning sign. Came out awesome, though. I use them as candle holders and the flickering light adds a whole new element of creepy :)
Schober (author)  kbeck71 year ago
Those look great! Glad to see pics from someone who tried it. I only made just the one but I'd love to make more of them. The next will hopefully be with opaque plexiglas and LED lights. However I still need to figure out how to disperse the light more evenly if I'm going to do that.
Ooh, idea. I could vacuum form the box, perhaps? Good job!
Thanks for the post, used it as a guide to make my own with some modifications. Used glass panes with printed computer paper in between on both sides of the sign and had my bulb wires come out from the bottom (I bought some adhesive 1" furniture feet to give me clearance). Also tried out an ebony stain and a flat finish-- looks good, but for the time it took I could have spray painted myself four more boxes. Good instructible, cheap and easy project, and it was nice to show off at my colege LAN party ;)
nerd122 years ago
i may make this soon, but with multiple signs, mostly the hazard (and cake :P ) signs for my lab. great job! :D
please read my indestructible.
i will diy wheatly if i get 10 comments

100 veiws

and 10 followers
Atlas982 years ago
4lifenerdfighter, that means that the water in that test chamber is NOT safe to drink.
Not related to this but... What is the thing on the second row, to the left of the cake? Is it warning you about the radioactive drinking fountain? Anyone know?
demgi3 years ago
Earlier you said this could be done on glass. Can an exacto knife cut through glass? idk, i might sound dumb now. lol

Schober (author)  demgi3 years ago
No, the exacto knife will not cut through the glass, but that is not the objective. All the exacto knife needs to do is cut through the paper stencil. If you can avoid cutting into or scratching the surface you are going to paint that is better.
Nightfox173 years ago
Awesome! P.S. Corsi, love the avatar image! =D
nerd123 years ago
Stanislaw3 years ago
cool idea for a project! I like the fat that it lights up, have you considered replacing the wheel-switch with a pressure switch mounted behind the glass?

Schober (author)  Stanislaw3 years ago
I actually thought about doing that for a while but space in my case is rather limited so if I made the glass move it would have probably pushed against the bulb.

I probably could have wired it with LEDs but I was worried that by the time I diffused them to the point where their bright spots were no longer visible I wouldn't have enough light left to illuminate it.
Dr.Paj3 years ago
Would lining the box with tin foil help with the distribution of light?
G-House Dr.Paj3 years ago
I was thinking the same thing but with aluminum tape.
Jongleur3 years ago
Seems like it would be cool to make a second plexi-panel for the back and use the same process as the front to make a two-sided sign instead of just black. I suppose it depends where the sign will be. Attached edge-wise to a wall or in a window, or on some kind of swivel so you could choose which sign you waned displayed- or making one side or the top open-able so you could switch out plexi-panels would make it adjustable. You could slide in different panels for your mood, season or special occasion.
Great idea, thanks for the instructable!
Schober (author)  Jongleur3 years ago
Never thought of that. My original intentions were to make something that would hang on the wall, but it would be nice to have one that was interchangeable. Maybe I'll do that if I make another one.
aroscoe23 years ago
I think lining it with LED lights would make it brighter. but thank you for posting this instructables up for us all to view.
Schober (author)  aroscoe23 years ago
I thought about that but it would probably have to be powered by a wall-wart and no one needs anymore of those. Also most LED's have weird light dispersion cones even when frosted that cause some unwanted bright spots.

You're welcome I had a lot of fun building it.
Cool! Good job! (I don't play Portal but I would like to make this and replace the image with a warning sign and hang it outside my door! :D

genius9893 years ago
mrmerino3 years ago
I'm going to build... ALL OF THEM!
trayo3 years ago
Just as a suggestion, the light might be more evenly distributed if you wired up two of the bulbs and placed one off center to the left and the other upside down off center to the right. They could also be placed horizontally.

I'm not sure how bright those bulbs actually are in a box like that, but I'm sure you could add more paint to offset it being too bright.

Nice instructable! I think I'd like to make one over the summer.

Schober (author)  trayo3 years ago
Great! It was relatively easy to build, the whole thing went from concept to the completed project in about 3 days. Including time to let the paint dry, various mistakes, a trip to the hardware store, etc.
mikeasaurus3 years ago
Fun idea for a project!
(A picture of the finished results would work better as the main image)
Schober (author)  mikeasaurus3 years ago
Thanks I wasn't sure which would be a bigger draw.