Introduction: Nifty Neopixel Nameplates and Placards

Here’s an easy way to make custom desk nameplates or handy signs that need to be posted near expensive, fragile, or hazardous gear. Light them up with Neopixels to highlight to the important message on the sign.

Great for a maker faire or convention table to pull in the crowds.

Presenting the Kiteman Triptych (/ˈtriptik/) ***insert sound effect here***

If you need any light-up workplace signs, look here:

Step 1: Get Your Papers in Order...

I created some artwork in GIMP but you can use anything you want. You can copy the attached if you want your own always-unofficial Kiteman swag.

Print out your images on thin cardstock or heavy paper. I used coverstock paper for this project. It has a slightly rough texture which makes laser toner difficult to completely fuse to it. I used that in my color laser printer, you can see that some of the toner rubbed off from all the handling on making the sign. Although, it kinda gives it that vintage worn Fallout sign look. You could coat the image with a spray fixative or cover with laminating plastic when finished if you have the same problem.

Use a straightedge to help create folds at the outer edges of the image. Cut out V relief cuts so that there will not be corner paper bumps when the image is glued to a sturdier base.

Step 2: Outstanding in the Field...

These can be made with any material but upcycling cardboard is the cheapest and easiest way.

Make more durable signs from wood, pressboard, MDF, plywood, plastic, Coroplast, metal, etc.

I needed something more solid to support the printed image. I cut pieces from cardboard boxes deemed to the recycling bin to fit the size of the image. The excess will be used to form a foot as the stand for the sign. Be sure to peel off any tape or glossy stickers so that glue will adhere.

Coat the image with glue and adhere to the cardboard. Wrap the side and top outer edges tightly around and secure. Spray adhesive probably works best for mounting but I used glue stick to minimize the warping you get if you saturate a large area with liquid glue.

Attach the footer piece to the bottom flap of the image. Bend so you have an L shape to stand the image upright at an angle.

Use some scrap cardboard pieces to form the back support brace. It will look random but that's ok. Glue the brace to hold the position that the sign will be in when posted upright. I like using tacky glue for this so that it sets up quickly or otherwise you will have to use tape for clamping or place it braced with heavy objects until the glue dries. Layer on as many pieces of cardboard to make it work.

Step 3: Cheers, Lights...

The final detail is to cut out the places where you want light to shine through if you are mounting the Neopixels on the back. Gee, can anyone recommend someone to lasercut something like this?

I sealed with glue the rough cut cardboard edges on the laser warning sign laser light icon.

I cut out a little pop-up computer monitor flap on the XKCD cartoon sign. I built up the top and bottom computer monitor sides with some scrap thin cardstock(find empty manila folders or index cards to use).

Regular white paper can be glued over the openings to act as a diffuser for the harsh LED lights.

You can then use double-sided tape to mount the Neopixel strips in position. Secure the microcontroller board and battery pack with more double-sided tape on the back.

I am reusing an Adafruit Circuit Playground Classic that has a strip of 10 Neopixels attached. I don't recall what I last used it for but you can use any microcontroller that can animate lights. I think it is running a "bouncing ball" animation in red, yellow, and white colors.

Atomic batteries to power.


Make it Glow Contest 2018

Participated in the
Make it Glow Contest 2018