This instructable, is an example of how something unwanted can be put to use. Fortunately, the dumpster gods were on my side the day I saw this. As I figure the restaurant on my street had received a new sign and they had discarded the old one right next to the dumpster.
What you'll need:
- A razor window scraper
- Screwdrivers (phillips in my case)
- Two standard light fixtures
- Spray Paint
- A mechanical outlet timer
- How to size an image in Photoshop
- How to wire a lamp
Step 1: Remove the Vinyl Sign From the Plastic
Strarting at the edge of the sign and gently peel the vinyl up using your razor scraper. Once you have a flap of the plastic up, while firmly pulling up on the platic with one hand, slowly scrape in all directions. Try to pull up without applying too much pressure as to avoid breaking the plastic. Do your best to maintain the vinyl in one piece. If you break one piece you will have to seperate the vinyl from the plastic backing. We all know how hard this can be from our experience with packing tape. This is by far the most difficult part of the proccess.
Step 2: Clean Plastic Base
Clean off any sticky gum and residue with cleaning alcohol or rubbing alcohol. This will ensure proper adhesion of the new vinyl design to the plastic base.
Step 3: Test Electrical Wiring
When you find something in the trash most likely it was thrown away for a reason. After troubleshooting the fluorescent lighting and fixing it, a week later the light started to flicker. I knew that the ballast is usually a source of constant problems for older systems. If you are set on fixing the existing system take a look at this troubleshooting guide.
However I recommend replacing the fluorescent lighting system with a simpler LED lamp system. I used two standard LED bulbs. Once the system is ready and you know it will be worth your money you can start to plan the printing process.
Step 4: Size Your Image in Photoshop
Measure the size of the plastic base and create a canvas in photoshop with at least 2cm of extra space on the edge of the circumfrence. Bring the design to your local printing shop with the plastic bases and ask for an estimate. You must mark the vertical positions on the sign so that the print shop can position the logo correctly, otherwise you may end up with a crooked sign. My shop was kind enough to put the design onto the plastic base.
Step 5: Point and Shoot
Paint that old sign and give it a new look with a can of good old beautify anything, spraypaint.
Step 6: Final Touches
Put the plastic cover back how it was and test out the distribution of light. I plugged my sign in to a mechanical timer so it turns on at dusk.
Hang your sign using bolts as screws can be a pain to handle while holding a hefty and awkward sign on your shoulder. Plan the hanging process to the last detail and have everything you need at hand. Something I didn't do and regret not having done but I did learn not to use screws and to have the proper tools at hand.