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How To Make A Custom Neon Sign On Wood The Easy Way

Inside: A step-by-step guide on creating a DIY neon sign on wood using EL wire for a vibrant, personalized touch.

It was just worth making this custom neon sign for the smile it put on my youngest son’s face!

Fergus is so sweet; he loves it when I craft things for his room. One of my earliest DIY projects was the upcycled denim pocket organizer for his room, which still hangs there. This time I decided to put his name in lights as he deserved it! With this simple custom neon sign.

Your Name In Lights With A Custom Neon Sign

Even though it was a neon sign, I still managed to give it a rustic look by mounting the lights on a wooden base. After rummaging through my neighbour’s skip, I got the idea for the sign. They have a loft extension and loads of chunky wood offcuts, which I squirrelled away for future crafts, including this one.

Neighbours skip

This custom neon sign now joins the giant paper mache cactus, diy nightstand, toys frame medal board, and the denim organizer in his room. It’s like one big advert for the blog!

The great thing about this tutorial is that the neon sign can be customized into whatever word you want; it doesn’t have to be a name. I’m thinking of making one with my favourite word, AWESOME!

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EL Wire: Illuminating the World of Crafting

You may know it as EL wire or, by its full name, electroluminescent wire. Either way, this thin, flexible wire emits a brilliant glow when an electric current is applied, making it an exciting material for many crafts.

Unlike traditional lights, EL wire doesn’t heat up, making it safe for all creative uses. It’s incredibly flexible, so you can bend and twist it into virtually any shape – perfect for personalized crafts!

The wire comes in a rainbow of vibrant colours, allowing you to choose hues that perfectly match your project. And the best part? EL wire works brilliantly for indoor and outdoor crafts, offering a unique way to illuminate your creations.

Creating a personalized name sign with EL wire is fun and straightforward. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide:

What You Need to Make a custom neon sign

  • A chunk of wood – I used a piece of wood about 5cm 2″ thick so that it would stand up on its own. The length and height of the wood will depend on how big you want your custom neon word to be. For my sign, I used 18cm by 45cm of wood.
  • Dark wood wax – to give your sign a more rustic aged look
  • El wire – this is the neon wire to write the sign. It comes in lots of different colours and thicknesses. I used blue neon el wire 3 meters (9ft) long for my sign. The wire comes with a battery pack attached
Wooden plank and el wire

Create a Glowing Name Sign On Wood

Step 1: Drill a hole in the bottom corner of the wood plank. Ensure that it is big enough for the El wire to pass through twice comfortably.

Drilling wood plank for a custom neon sign

Step 2: Prepare the wood base for the neon sign by sanding the edges and then giving the wood an antique rustic look by rubbing on some dark wood wax.

waxing wood for neon sign

Step 3: Design and print your word after the wood base is ready. As the EL wire is one continuous length, you must have the word in a cursive font. i.e. what we called joined up, writing at school!

Customising a neon sign name template for the wood

Step 4: Next, get a sharp object (screwdriver) and using the printout word template as a guide, scratch the word into the wood.

Step 5: Throw the EL wire through the hole in the wood (leaving the battery pack on the back). Stick the wire around the letters following the scratch marks using masking tape. Any excess wire can just be taped around the edge of the word to form a border and then threaded to the end back through the hole.

Placing the EL wire this way allows you to see how your word will look and ensure you have enough wire before glueing the wire permanently in place.

El wire setting for neon sign

Step 6: Once you are happy with your word placement. Remove the masking tape bit by bit and glue the el wire to the wooden base using a hot glue gun.

Hot glueing the el wire to the wood base

Step 7: Finally, all that’s left to do is put the batteries in and tape the battery pack to the back of the sign.

DIY neon sign on wood
DIY custom neon sign

Other Illuminate El Wire Craft Ideas

I think this neon sign looks fabulous in my son’s room, and as I said in the beginning, Fergus loves having his name in lights.!

What word would you use for your custom neon sign?

This is not the first illuminated sign I have made; check out my DIY light box sign.

El wire is a fun alternative to thread and yarn in string art projects to create fantastic illuminated art like this neon heart.

EL wire comes in many colours; it is an excellent material to craft for different holidays, like these neon orange Halloween pumpkin signs and this pink neon skull decoration.

DIY-neon sign on wood

For other sign ideas, visit

Rustic Charm: DIY Wood Signs to Hang in Your Home - DIY & Crafts | A Matter Of Style

Thursday 2nd of May 2019

[…] Put your name up in lights with a custom neon sign. It’s so easy and affordable with el wire. The tricky bit will be deciding on the colour neon. Get the tutorial from Pillar Box Blue. […]

Lins @ Boo & Maddie

Monday 5th of November 2018

Now this is something I could definitely have a go at! What a beautiful alternative to the ones available to buy, I love them but my goodness they're so expensive! Thank you for linking up to #HomeEtc X

Claire Armstrong

Tuesday 6th of November 2018

Thank you Lins. You can choose the word and the colour.


Wednesday 10th of October 2018

I have a dumpster like this at my home that is being builted, there is so much wood there too. Love how your sign turned out fabulous. Maria

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 11th of October 2018

Thank you, I’m always taking stuff out of dumpsters for my projects.

Jodie Fitz

Tuesday 9th of October 2018

Your sign turned out great. Thanks for joining us at last week's RTT - we hope to see you at this week's party. xo

Claire Armstrong

Tuesday 9th of October 2018

Thank you!


Wednesday 3rd of October 2018

I love your sign and I have been wanting to work this this as well. Thanks for inspiring me :) Thanks for sharing on To Grandma's House We Go!

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 4th of October 2018

Thank you p, they are so easy and the wire comes in loads of different colours.