With the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 happening today, I had to have a go at making a light up sign for it.
This sign uses basic LEDs, plywood and paint.... simple!
This was actually made to raise money for charity, you can see how I made it and find out more info here:
- 18mm Plywood
- 6mm Plywood
- Acrylic Paint
- Red LEDs (Battery Powered)
- On/Off Switch
- Crimp Connectors
- Wood Glue
- Super Glue
- Spray Lacquer
- Bandsaw, Coping Saw or Scroll Saw
- Drill & Driver
- Wire Stripper/Crimper
- Sand Paper
- Paint Brush
Step 1: Cut Pieces & Paint
The first step is to get all the pieces cut to size. For this project I used 18mm and 6mm plywood.
You'll see the dimensions I went with the images. The rectangular pieces are nice and simple to cut in a variety of ways. The detailed piece was cut using the bandsaw. A coping saw or scroll saw would probably be a better choice though. I drilled some relief holes to help with turning in the tight corners.
All the visible edges get painted black with acrylic paint apart from the back the piece (largest rectangle). This gets a sunset painted on it to match the Red Dead Redemption 2 teaser art. I made sure to leave a gap at the bottom large enough to add the plywood pieces. This was about 71mm from the bottom (To allow for the 53mm pieces + the 18mm thickness of the plywood top strip.
When the paint was dry, I gave all the pieces 3 coats of spray lacquer. I made sure to avoid the bare plywood edges though as they will be getting glue later.
Step 2: Wire & LEDs
The LED lights are simple red LEDs powered by AA batteries. There is an on/off switch on the pack but I thought adding a new inline switch would be nicer.
It needed a rectangular cut out in the top plywood strip so I did that with a drill and chissel. I also drilled a small hole for the LEDs to pass through.
The on/off switch is a nice push fit in the hole and the red and black wires get fed through, I used some crimp connectors to connect the wires to the on/off switch. They're much easier to use than solder. To wire up the switch I cut through one of the wire on the LED string. I stripped both ends and attached each to either end of the on/off switchers wires. Nice and simple. The LED lights get threaded through the smaller hole I drilled earlier.
Step 3: Assembly
Now its time for assembly. The 4 53mm pieces of 18mm plywood get glued into place vertically. They are all flush to the bottom of the back piece.
Only spacing that matters is the 2 end pieces which must be flush with the sides. You also need to make sure the second piece is far enough away from the edge to leave space for the battery pack and its wiring. The last piece can be roughly spaced evenly. The top plywood strip is added on top of these pieces.
To glue the detailed piece on top, I added the bottom piece temporarily as a guide. I added glue and then secured with clamps until the glue was dry. The bottom piece gets fitted with only screws. This is so you have access to change the batteries later.
To fit the LEDs in place I opted for super glue. I simply wroked my way along zig zaging left to right, right to left with the string of lights adding a dab of glue here and there.
It was fiddly but worked out well. The glue has a very strong hold.
Step 4: Done!
That's the piece completed. You can use this design for many other sign styles. Go to town with it. Its a basic set up but I think you'll agree the end look is quite effective.
I hope you liked it.