The Ultimate Sports Fan Sign!




About: Tinkerer, hackster and prankster. Hit me up on Facebook: Thanks for checking out my Instructables!
Are you a sports fan and attend games? Tired of cheesy posterboard signs? Do you want to make the ultimate fan sign? Here it is...the World's First Flashing LED Fan Sign!

Step 1: What You Need

Sign Supplies:

1 Sheet of 3/16" Foam Core. I chose black for the contrast effect
1 Package of matte or glossy sticker paper for inkjet or laser printers
Hot Glue gun or Elmer's Glue "
Color LED's (The colors are your choice based on your own taste.)
330 Ohm Resistors
A few 9V Batteries with clips
Rubber Stoppers or Bushings
Flashing Circuit (See schematic)


Computer and printer
Word Processing or graphic design software
Scissors and X-Acto" Knife
Soldering Iron and solder
Ruler and pencil
Single Hole Punch

Step 2: Preparation

The first step is to decide what message you want to display and how large you want your sign to be. Make it large enough to be seen but small enough to carry in the venue with you. Most stadiums and arenas require that signs be able to be put out of the way so they do not interfere with other fans sight lines of the action when not in use. Check with your venue before you attempt to build this.

After I decide what message I wanted to display, I designed each individual letter in full color at 8 1/2" X 11" in the landscape format.

I started by putting small dots where you want each LED to go. Space them evenly apart. (The dots are not essential but I decided to use them to create an additional wider area where the LED's would go and also to further enhance the reflection of the LED's off of the letters. Plus, it gives it a "Broadway" style look.)

Step 3: Finalize the Letters

1. Print the graphic of each letter on a full sheet of 8 ½" x 11" sticker paper in the best quality your printer will allow.

2. Cut out each letter carefully.

3. Using the hole punch, punch out a hole in the center of each of the small dots.

4. Lay out each letter on the foam core the way you want the sign to look.

5. Use a ruler and pencil to mark a straight line for each word.

6. Carefully peel back the adhesive for each letter and apply the letters to the foam core.

7. Using a soldering iron, carefully burn through the foam care at each dot. This will be the hole for the LED's.

Step 4: Build the LED Circuit...

1. Wire all of the negative terminals of the LED's together for each letter

2. Add a 330ohm resistor to each positive LED terminal and wire all of the positive leads together.

3. Join the positive contacts and negative contacts of each letter in the word to form a group or section that you want to flash.

4. Build the flashing circuit and hot glue it in place. Add your 9 Volt batteries, 1 or 2 to power the LED's and 1 to power the circuit. I found that one would light the sign for a long time and the LED's will run on as low as 4 volts.

Step 5: Final Steps...

1. Use the rubber stoppers as standoffs and hot glue them in the corners of the foam core base.

2. Add a back made out of foam core to cover the electronics and protect it. I reinforced mine with black tape to make sure it stayed together.

3. Turn it on and amaze everyone!

Hope you enjoy this Instructable!



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    124 Discussions


    10 years ago on Step 4

    could this be made to have a DC power for indoor use? sorry for the silly question i'm new to electronics

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    The "9v Battery Saver" will do that :p
    youtube .com/watch?v=k3IWxBFNAVs&feature=player_embedded


    5 years ago

    This circuit is a bust. Not only is finding this relay very rare. Looked online and said it was discontinued. Schematic is not properly labeled. And it not clear what kind of capacitors it requires. My electronics store doesn't carry it. Waste of time.....again. Tried contacting author. No dice.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome, I used to watch your weekend project videos on YouTube.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Your sign is amazing! I'm making a dance costume for my daughter, do you think this would work on a smaller scale with material? How long did your batteries last?


    6 years ago on Step 4

    what is a relay and where can i buy it? link please. Noob alert

    Dream Dragon

    6 years ago on Introduction

    With Halloween and Christmas fast approaching, it doesn't really have to be a "Sport's Sign".

    Just saying.

    Thanks for sharing another EPIC effect with a very SIMPLE solution.

    How critical is it to have the same number of LED's on each side or the same resistance or what not?

    Do you have to do ANY balancing at ALL?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi how do you use Photoshop or other software to write giant letters a4 size and put the dots.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    what kind of relay i should use?
    because when i went to shop just to buy the supplies needed in this project,, the vendor ask me what is the voltage of relay that i needed..tnx !!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    where shall i connect the negative and positive wire from flashing word 1&2 to circuit board? tnx for the reply..


    9 years ago on Step 4

    KipKay, nice work, i have a question, is this the relay that you used??. if it is, how you wired?.. thanks for asking.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    oh my god in th photo i think thats kipkay from youtube? eh no suprise, hee is a technology geniuss


    9 years ago on Introduction

    could someone provide a [shopping] list of components that i need to buy to make this project and instructions to build the circuit, thanks.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    It's infinitely expandable - each led gets its own resistor, so you can make it as big as you want (provided your batteries can support it) shopping list: leds, equal number of small resistors (most ebay sellers will throw in resistors, make sure to tell them what ohms you want). Don't spend more than 5-10 cents each for ultra-brights. Flasher: If you can't figure it out from the diagram, then don't bother with that part, just make the sign light up.