Making An Inexpensive Illuminated Channel Letter Sign

When planning a casino theme surprise for a friend I decided to make a sign. I’ve been wanting to try channel letters for a while and used this as an opportunity to give them a shot. No casino sign would be complete without an over abundance of flash, so I decided to go with gold glitter and lights to give it the gaudy style we were looking for.

Materials used:

  • 1/2″ MDF for the letters
  • More 1/2″ MDF (or an old Idea table top) for background
  • Aluminum flashing for channel letters
  • Battery powered string lights (Amazon Affiliate Link)
  • Metallic spray paint
  • Glitter
  • CA glue (Amazon Affiliate Link)
  • Craft glue (Amazon Affiliate Link)
  • 3/4″ scrap wood to make spacers for back
  • 1 1/4″ wood screws
  • Picture hangers

Tools used:

  • Jig Saw (and saw that can cut curves will do)
  • Utility knife to cut flashing
  • Metal straight edge
  • Brad nailer
  • Drill & drill bits
  • Router

I started by making the background from an old MDF Ikea table top. Next I cut the circle into an oval using a jig saw and then routed a chamfered edge on it. After sealing the edges with wood glue I sanded everything smooth. Once that was done I doused it with craft glue and gold glitter then sealed it all with spray on polyurethane.

For the letters, I cut them from 1/2″ MDF and drilled the holes for the lights. Next I spray painted them metallic silver. From there I cut the aluminum flashing into 1 1/2″ strips using a utility knife and began to bend it around the letters. To attach the flashing I used CA glue.

To assemble the sign I layed out the letters on the background and glued them in place. Once I had the letters glued I used brad nails to permanently attach them in place. Next I used a hand drill to drill the light holes through the background. Now it’s time to flip the sign over and push the lights through the holes. To keep the sign off the wires and bake room for the batter pack I screwed a pair of 3/4″ wood scraps to the back of the sign and attached a picture hanger.