Introduction: Create Your Own EL (Electroluminescent) Wire Sign

Material and Resources:

  1. Select Pine Wood From LOWES 1”- 10” - 4’
  2. El Wire (Pre-Soldered) (Red and White) [From] (2 Feet) P3-EWBTF-2.6 - 3rd GENERATION 2.6mm EL Wire (By The Foot) White - $1.58/Foot = $3.16 (11 Feet) P3-EWBTF-2.6 - 3rd GENERATION 2.6mm EL Wire (By The Foot) Red/Orange - $1.58/Foot = $17.38
  3. 2-Way-Splitter to connect both colored wires to one inverter [From] (1) SPL2-5 - El Wire Splitters 2-Output - $1.99/Each = $1.99
  4. Inverter [From] because this was cheaper than ThatsCoolWire]
    P-10' to 30' Inverter
  5. Power Supply
    12Volt 400mA Wall Wart (Wall Transformer). You can reuse these from old electrical devices or get them from Goodwill.
  6. Soldering Iron and Solder
  7. Heat Shrink Tubing
    ¼” and ⅛” heat shrink tubing
  8. Optional to eliminate the need for soldering: (1) EZSC-1PC - 1 EZ SNAP Connector NO NEED FOR a Solder Connection and NO NEED for a 5-Pack - $4.45/Each = $4.45
  9. Drill w/ Bits
  10. Super Glue
  11. Weights (to hold wire on super glue)
  12. High Gloss Spray Paint
  13. A teacher that will help you
  14. Dremel w/ round tip
  15. Two boards to set your board on while spray paint
  16. A lot of Patience

Step 1: Choose a Design

Start this project by thinking of a design. After picking a design I would recommend using a string to measure out the length of wire you will need. (Along with picking a design, you also need to plan where you are going to drill your holes to loop the EL wire through. Also make sure when deciding on your length you add about 7-8 inches extra for the wire that will be behind the board).

Step 2: Transfer Your Design to Your Board

After you complete step 1, transfer/trace your design over to the actual board that you are using for your final product. (I would recommend putting your design on paper and taping the paper on the board. When your paper is on the board, you can then trace your design with a pen. Push down hard while tracing, doing this will leave your wood indented with your design.)

Step 3: Engrave Your Design

When your design is transferred over on your piece of wood, then you can start to engrave your wood using the Dremel® , following the lines that you traced for your design. Once you have your engraving completed, you can then use the drill to drill your holes in. (Whenever using the Dremel® make sure that you are always engraving toward you and never away from you. While doing this you might also want to wear safety glasses to prevent pieces of wood from flying into your eye.)

Step 4: Paint Your Board

Once you have completed step 3, you can then paint your board. I would recommend using black, high gloss, spray paint. There is a possibility that the paint might fill the holes that you drilled, if this happens then you can always just either re-drill the hole or poke something through it to make it open again.

Step 5: Wire Your Board

After you have waited for your board to dry, you can start wiring. Before, gluing anything down, make sure that you have enough wire that way you do not find out half way that you are short a few inches. Once you know for sure that you have the correct amount of wire you can then start to glue. I used super glue and this worked better than other kinds, such as hot glue. When gluing make sure you only do small amounts at a time. (To speed up the gluing process you can use small weights to hold your wire down, that way you can move on.)

Step 6: Powering Your Board

Finally, you can hook your wire up to a splitter (if using two colors) and then attach the splitter to a power supply.

Step 7: Thoughts on the Project

Am I content with how my project turned out? What would I change?

The only thing that I would change if I redid this project is the T. The T looks okay, but I feel like I kinda messed up while wiring it. Overall, I am really happy with how my sign turned out. The final product was exactly what I had in mind, which rarely ever happens. This is so far my favorite project that I have participated in, in Physics one and two. Also, the reason that I chose to do a Twenty Øne Piløts sign is because the band is lit just like my sign.

Homemade Gifts Contest 2016

Participated in the
Homemade Gifts Contest 2016