I wanted to make my son a name plate for his room and add a glow to it so it worked as a night light at night. I got the inspiration from another instructables for something similar.
I used plywood for the frame and El glow wire for the light. I purchased the sort that has a flat plastic flap so it can be pushed into gaps or adhered to things. Normal wire would also work but would be harder to fit round the edge of the frame. I removed the flap with a knife to save space under the letters.
The glow wire came as a kit that included the 12v converter to wall power. Nice and simple electronics. No heat and low voltage. The wire has a long life span too. Comes in all sorts of colours.
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The inspiration came from this ible
Step 1: Getting Perfect Letters
The letters are cut from wood using a jigsaw. To get them perfect, I printed the letters in black ink in the font I wanted. I then cut them out and used contact spray adhesive to stick the paper to 6mm this plywood.
A jigsaw worked great for me when cutting round the printed template. I also used a thin blade specifically for cutting curves and small details.
A jigsaw doesn't leave the cuts all that clean. So I used 80 grit sand paper glued to a flat block to sand the edges smooth. I then used a dremel with a drum sander attached to remove the printed paper leaving just the wood.
Step 2: The Frame & Glow Wire
After getting the letters sorted, I cut all the buts needed for the frame.
I cut a rectangle out of plywood large enough to fit the letters and the frames edge pieces. This forms the backing for the letters and the glow wire.
I marked where the edge pieces would sit then placed the letters centrally in the space left. When they were all lined up, I traced round the outside of each letter. This was the best way of keeping the glow wire hidden within the footprint of each letter.
I marked where the entry and exit holes would be and penciled on the route the glow wire would take. This was essential because the wire is a continual length. The wire emerges at the start of the letter, follows the letter shape then drops back behind the timber and emerges again at the next letter. Took some planning but is well worth it when finished.
When the wire is pulled through, I followed the letters along and used a hand stapler to fix the wire in place.
When the letters were all done, I placed the wire around the perimeter of the frames edge. To to this, I drilled a single hole in one corner and pulled the wire through. Then placed it with the flap under the edge of the timber and fixed down with standard wood glue. In order for the wire to curve the 90 degree turn in each corner I had to cut the flap. I used small clamps to hold everything in place while the glue set overnight.
Step 3: Fixing the Letters
Fixing the letters over the wire was something I pondered for a while. Then settled on hot glue and it worked really well.
It was as simple as putting several dabs of hot glue over the glow wire and pushing the letters into it while still hot. It stuck down great and allowed me some adjustment on the letters to get them nice and flat. The hot glue does not impede the light emitted off the wire either.
I added hot glue to the rear of the frame to hold the excess wire in place. This also had the affect of backlighting the wall behind the frame. Looked really nice.
The final touch was to paint the letters colours that matched the boxed I made in the baby room. Looks like a simple name picture in the day and a great personalised night light after dark.
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