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Vintage signage is without a doubt, incredibly neat. The colors, and the forms, and the bright lights are really spectacular. You can still see remnants of these signs today, and these windows into the past can be really interesting.

In the days before smartphones and the internet, this was one of the way's a business could market itself and let you know that it was there. Businesses and places of course still have signs, but many of them lack the charm and creativity seen in older signs. Marquee signs in particular are really cool! There's a reason why they are seen on pinboards and design blogs all over the internet!

The downside of wanting to decorate with vintage signs is that of course they are hard to come by. They can also be very large, and if you're an apartment dweller, you may not have a place to put it. Making your own vintage style sign lets you have the freedom to make it any size that you like!

If you want to celebrate the greatness of vintage signage while playing around with 21st century tools, we can create a vintage style marquee sign using 3D printing! This tutorial will show you how to bring a drawing into the CAD software to create a 3D model of a sign ready to print.

To make your own 3D printed marquee sign you'll need:

  • Vector drawing software, like Adobe Illustrator
  • CAD/3D modelling software. You can use a paid program like SolidWorks, but free software like 123D Design and Tinkercad will work just as well for this project.
  • Access to a 3D printer. If you don't have your own, use a website like 3dhubs.com to find a local one to use, or you can use a service like Ponoko or Sculpteo.
  • LED lights and a power source. To make my sign I'm using a battery-powered strand of small LED lights, but you can use individual LEDs and and wire them yourself.

Step 1: Sketch Out Your Marquee Sign

Before you begin to model and construct your sign, you'll want to start first by planning your sign and sketching it out. Look at signs that you like that, and pick out any elements that you like from them. See if you can include them in your sign.

The sign that I'll be making is a reader style sign similar to ones that show movie listings or are seen on the side of the road with replaceable letters. This step is to help you get an idea of what you would like to make and to help you visualize your idea.

While you're sketching your sign, think about how you want it to light up and how it will be constructed.

<p>This is adorable! Nice job! And I'm so glad I know about tiny doors, what a neat and cute art project!</p>
<p>Ha this is great! I love me a good marquee.</p>

About This Instructable

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Bio: Hello, I'm Colleen, a designer and maker-extraordinaire from Atlanta, GA. You may have seen me around the internet from my side project turned business ... More »
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