I made this sign to go on a wall in an entryway of our building. The wood is from old pallets, a 2x4 and some scrap plywood. I've broken down several pallets over the past few weeks and there's all kinds of species of wood in there. Oak, poplar, pine and a couple others that the tannins in wood made for some nice color changes after weathering. It's amazing what kinds of species of wood you can find in pallets.
Total, this project only cost $20. That's for the LED's. More on that later. All the electrical is hidden in the wall and it works via remote that can change the colors, brightness, on/off, ...
Here we go!
Step 1: The Structure
First, I cut the shape out with plywood using my jigsaw. I wanted this thing to appear thick so I spaced the plywood pieces with some 2x4's.
It's fairly primitive.
Step 2: The Face
I selected my pieces based on color and condition. I knew I was going to cut the pallet wood into thin strips and if there was a split or too big of a knot, then the piece may want to break apart or twist.
I ran the uncut pallet pieces through the jointer to get a flat edge, then cut the strips through the table saw at around 1" a piece.
To attach the slats to the structure, I first locked the two structure pieces together so the slats would be consistent going across. I then applied glue, laid them across both pieces and nailed with my brad nailer.
Once everything was dry and applied, I took my jigsaw and cut them apart.
To cut the slats to the exact shape as the structure, I was able to use a template bit on my router to reference the below structure. http://www.rockler.com/piloted-flush-trim-bit-1-2-...
Step 3: The Trim
I wanted a bit of hangover on the front and back of the side trim slats to add more dimension and depth to the piece so I lifted the structures off the table about half an inch and started gluing an nailing.
When I hit the curves, I needed to shape each piece by hand. This I did on my bench vise and cut using a block plane.
Step 4: The Back
First, I wanted this sign to float off the wall about a 1/2" so I cut wood for the sign to not only rest on, but also be a track for the LED's (See next step.)
Around the trim lip on the back I caulked all around the edges to block the light. I didn't want to see light escaping between the slats. This helps the piece feel more solid when it doesn't look like it's hollow. It's dirty, but it's hidden.
To hang the piece, I used the french cleat system for easy hanging and access later.
Step 5: The Lighting
I used this flexible LED tape for the backlighting. It's really inexpensive and is easy to work with.
This tape lets you cut it at various points to extend, link or shorten the lighting. I was able to cut it down to have a strip for each part of the sign. The wires linking the two together can be fed through the wall. Super easy and clean.
Here's what it started to look like.
This tape comes with a remote so you can change the colors, on/off, brightness level, custom colors, and other options for blinking, if you're in to that sort of thing...
For the remote, you need to be able to see the IR sensor connected to the lights. Luckily, one of my slats had a knot in it that I was able to drill through and have the sensor show through. Completely hidden.
Step 6: Finished
This was a really fun build. Especially since it hardly cost a thing.