How To DIY LED Neon Signs

It is impossible to overstate just how popular LED neon signs have become across multiple industries. 

LED neon signs are all the rage right now. And, it’s easy to see why – they’re vibrant and catchy, providing vivid imagery to your sign and instantly grabbing everyone’s attention. And, for anyone looking to adopt signage for their brand or endeavors, there’s a significant chance that the LED neon signs are the top option to consider at the moment. 

However, what if you’d like to save money on the sign by installing it on your own. Here, we’ll examine the DIY neon LED sign and show all you need to know to get this dynamic visual aid set up on your own. 

Understanding LED Neon Signs 

custom LED sign

What are LED Neon Signs?

It’s a pretty self-explanatory name, of course. LED neon signs provide significantly better aesthetics to traditional signage, giving a brighter and more attention-grabbing look to your brand and name. 

Known to some as neon flex signs, LED neon signs have seen massive adoption and popularity recently, leading to even more use in the past few years by brands across different fields and industries. 

These signs have especially helped more people and companies move away from the traditional signage option. And, while they offer the same shiny look, they essentially replicate it using flexible LED strips that emit the same glow. 

Of course, understanding the different properties and characteristics of LED neon signs should provide you with more information before looking into the guide for a DIY neon LED sign. Here are some components you should know:

  • LED Neon Flex: In most cases, this is the part of the neon sign that gets a lot of attention. Here, you have a flexible tubing structure that’s made of a translucent outer jacket. The flex itself is what houses the LEDs, and you get an outer jacket that’s made of a weatherproof, UV-resistant material.
  • LED Modules: Arranged neatly inside the LED neon flex are individual LEDs. As we all know, these are semiconductor devices that emit light whenever you add an electrical current to them.
  • Electrical Current: When an electric current flows through the LEDs, they emit light. For LED neon signs, the common standard is to get low-voltage direct current (DC). This is a power source that doesn’t consume too much electricity, and which provides a much lesser risk of hazards and accidents. And, considering that the signs themselves are usually applied in public places, it is more appropriate overall. 
  • Color Options: One of the uniquenesses of neon signs is that they emit different types of colors. You can find RGB LEDs that allow for mixing colors, or choose for single-color LEDs if that is your preference. As for the former, it is possible to control the color options to create different hues and make dynamic color effects. 
  • Installation: All in all, the process of installing a LED neon sign is relatively easy. The signs can be mounted at different locations and on a variety of surfaces, thanks to brackets, clips, and other mounting support options. And, if you’d like, there are also some manufacturers that can fashion a DIY neon sign with LED rope. 

This flexibility means that you can always shape and bend the signs in the way you’d like. 

  • Control Systems: With specialized controllers, you can make changes to the LED neon signs just how you want. If you’d like, you could even implement special effects like flashing, dimming, and more – all of which will help make the sign more visually appealing to onlookers. As part of the DIY LED neon sign installation, you can also find product options that allow for animations. 

In general, controllers can be programmed to provide specific lighting sequences and patterns. Simply choose which works for you.

With these features – and many more – LED neon signs have become a mainstay in different industries today. They offer significant benefits to the old way of implementing signage; benefits which we’ll take a look at in later sections. 

Nevertheless, it is critical to keep in mind that these signs also come with higher construction and installation requirements than the traditional neon signs. As long as you can accommodate those, you shouldn’t have an issue. 

With their use of LEDs and flexible tubing, they’re able to replicate the same appearance of traditional neon signs, while also offering additional material benefits. 

Benefits and Advantages Over Traditional Neon Signs 

As we explained earlier, LED neon signs have become the industry standard when it comes to implementing digital signage. They are incredibly attractive, providing vivid imagery and a quick, attention-grabbing structure that makes them incredibly realistic for anyone looking to implement signage. 

However, apart from the mere fact that they look appealing, these signs are also beneficial on several fronts. Some of the benefits that you can get from the signs include: 

  • Energy Efficiency: We live in a world that is constantly going towards green living and energy conservation. And, LED neon signs fit into that need perfectly. These signs operate using LEDs, which are known for their energy efficiency and power conservation. As such, they run lower utility costs and allow you to cut down on your carbon footprint. 
  • Longer Lasting Operation: You will also get more out of your LED neon signs than traditional signs. LEDs are capable of lasting for tens of thousands of hours, while traditional neon tubes will usually need to be changed and replaced more frequently. In the long run, LEDs benefit you across the board. 
  • Material Durability: We should also point out that LED neon signs are more durable than their traditional counterparts. As explained earlier, the LED neon flex is made of a durable, weather-resistant material that can withstand some pretty harsh conditions. It’s less prone to damage, and it can hold its own against external impact and even vibrations. 
  • Flexibility in Design: It should go without saying that LED neon signs allow you to be more versatile and fluid with the available design options they provide to you. Now, it is possible for you to shape these signs to your preference, creating different designs and effects. Combine that with the fact that the lEDs can be easily customized to fit your requirements, and you’ll find that they are the perfect fit for a creative environment. 
  • Overall Safety: If you recall, LED neon signs tend to operate using low-voltage electric currents. This means that they don’t generate much current and can easily be managed. With the implementation of this current structure, LED neon signs provide much more safety compared to the traditional neon signs. They generate less heat, and this same low-voltage operation means that you have a lower risk of encountering electrical hazards. Plus, you can touch the signs without fearing electrocution. 
  • Easy Maintenance: A direct consequence of the signs’ long life is that they don’t require much in terms of overall maintenance compared to their traditional counterparts. There are no gases needed here, so there is no need for constant refilling. And, if you notice operational failure in any of the LED modules,  the process of changing it is pretty simple. 
  • Cost-Effective: All of these lead to perhaps the most important – the cost savings. To be fair, the initial investment needed can vary. However, in the long run, you’ll find that LED signs have lower operating costs due to their energy efficiency and longer lifespan. Combine this with the need for free replacement and easy maintenance, and you’ll see the financial benefit.
  • Versatility: Need something for an indoor store? Want to attract people from outside? It doesn’t matter. LED neon signs are available for you. Their weather-resistant protective casings means that they easily repel radiation, moisture, and more. So, they are flexible in environmental operation. 

In general, it’s safe to say that the benefit of these signs will easily outweigh the initial cost of installation and setting. 

DIY LED Neon Signs: The Planning Phase

The entire process of organizing a DIY LED neon flex sign installation is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. While the installation process itself is simple, much goes into ensuring that it goes off without a hatch and the resulting installation process is something you can be proud of. 

So, it is important to ensure proper planning across the board. This planning stage will usually involve the following steps: 

Sign Design & Conceptualization: 

First, you want to understand what the sign will do and how it’ll work. We recommend that you clearly state what you want to use the sign for, as this will guide several critical aspects of the entire process. 

At the end of the day, the installation process follows the same pattern. But, understanding the purpose of the sign will help provide more nuance to the journey overall. 

You can also collaborate with creatives and designers to develop the overall concept and aesthetic of the design. Have a vision in mind, and collaborate on bringing it to life. 

Lastly, check to see if there are any permits or licenses you might need to have the lights installed. Be focused not to run afoul of any laws. 

Site Assessment:

Next, you want to run an evaluation of the installation site to see how ideal it is for LED neon sign installation. Ensure that the site is structurally sound, has access to electrical outlets, and is visible enough for the sign to be seen by everyone. 

Once that is done, you can easily measure the desired installation area to ascertain that the LED neon signs will be able to stay there. 

Optimize Electrical Connections: 

Electrical is one of the most critical aspects of a LED neon sign’s operation – after all, how’s it going to function if there is no supply of current to it? 

This means that it will be important to ensure that the electrical capacity of the installation site is sufficient enough to power your signs. Identify the power source and look into the feasibility of connecting the LED neon sign straight to the electrical grid.  

For this step, we would recommend getting a qualified electrician. They will be able to ensure compliance with the right safety standards and provide any counsel you might need. 

Installation Planning:

Here, you get a proper overview of the entire installation method to ensure that it goes off without a hitch. First, look into the appropriate installation method by considering factors such as the sign size, mounting surface, and overall weight. 

Then, you should look into the overall logistics of the installation process. Coordinate with contractors to ensure that the tools you need are made available and on time.

Finally, since this is a DIY installation process, you should identify any safety risks and procedures that you need to take. 

Material Procurement: 

Work out a proper procurement schedule to ensure that you get all of the necessary items – from the LED modules to neon tubes to controllers, mounting components, and more. 

If there are any customization requirements, then work out those as well to accommodate your needs. 

Installation & Testing:

With all your materials available, head into the installation phase. If you purchase your signs from NSE LED Cloud, then we will provide you with guidelines and instructions on an installation strategy. We can also provide technical assistance if you require it – all you have to do is give us a call. 

Once the installation is done, go ahead to the testing and troubleshooting phase. This helps you to assess the LED neon sign to ensure that it works optimally and you can address any malfunctions.

Compliance & Maintenance:

To be fair, LED neon signs don’t need so much in terms of maintenance. However, establishing a maintenance schedule will help to ensure that you can get the most out of your signs at all times. 

You should also ensure that your signs are in compliance with all local laws and safety standards. In some cases, this might mean conducting periodic checks.

The Complete LED Neon Sign Installation Checklist 

NEON sign options

Embarking on a LED neon signs DIY installation process will require a few tools here and there to make the job seamless. So, gather a checklist and ensure that the following tools are made available: 

  • Measuring Tape: This is pretty simple – you use the tape to measure the installation area and ensure proper alignment of the LED neon sign.
  • Level: With a level, you ensure that the sign is installed straight and balanced.
  • Drill and Drill Bits: When installing screws and brackets, drills and drill bits will come in handy.
  • Screwdriver or Power Drill: Used to tighten bolts, nuts, and other fasteners in the installation process.
  • Wire Strippers: With wire strippers, you strip the insulation off the electrical wires for optimal connections.
  • Wire Cutters: You use wire cutters to cut and trim wires to the appropriate lengths.
  • Electrical Tape: The electrical tape ensures proper fastening and securing for your electrical connections. 
  • Pliers: Used to grab and twist wires – as well as tighten nuts and adjust components.
  • Ladder or Step Stool: If the installation requires working at heights, a sturdy ladder or step stool will be necessary for safe access.
  • Safety Equipment: The LED neon DIY sign installation process is fraught with several safety risks. So, it is important to have safety goggles, gloves, dust masks, and other protective gear to ensure that you’re safe at all times.
  • Mounting Hardware: Get everything from brackets, screws, and bolts to secure your LED sign.
  • Power Tools: Depending on the complexity of the installation, there is a possibility that you will need additional power tools like a reciprocating saw and a rotary tool to cut and shape materials.

In many cases, you might need additional tools to work with. However, when you work with NSE LED Cloud, we will provide an itemized list of everything you need for your DIY LED neon sign kit and to get the sign installed without a hitch. 

Setting Up Your LED Neon Sign: A Simple Flowchart 

bar NEON sign

Like we said earlier, the process of installing a LED neon sign is relatively straightforward. In fact, it’s possible to get started and handle everything that needs to be done as quickly as possible. 

While the specific instructions can vary based on the manufacturer of the sign and its design, below is a general flowchart to help work the process: 

Pre-Installation Preparation:

We already went through the pipe-installation phase. Remember to go through each step and ensure that the process can be done safely and in accordance with the law. 

Marking & Measurements:

With your measuring tape and level, mark the exact spot where you’d like to make the installation. Be accurate as possible with your measurements, and ensure proper alignment and positioning of the sign to avoid any defects.

Mounting the Sign:

Once you’re set, you can begin mounting the sign. In most cases, this will be done with a drill and drill bits. Create neat holes on your marked spot, then fix the brackets or screws to hold the sign up. Then, attach the mounting brackets or other hardware to the installation surface, with bolts and screws, you can ensure a tight fit. 

For this step, you also want to make sure the LED neon sign is properly aligned with the mounting brackets. We will provide instructions on proper attachment and alignment, and you can follow those to ensure that everything is done optimally. 

Accommodate Electrical Connections:

This is one of the most important steps of the entire process. Here, you want to identify the power source for the LED neon sign and see to it that it is compatible with the sign’s power requirements. Compliance with local laws and codes should also be ensured to avoid any regulatory issues down the line. 

For this step, we would recommend consulting with a professional electrician for guidance and assistance with any connections. 

Once you’re set, strip the insulation from the electrical wires of both the power source and the neon sign itself. Connect them, matching negative and positive terminals based on the instructions we will provide. 

Remember to use wire nuts or other connectors to secure the connections to ensure that they always fit and avoid any damage. Then, finally, insulate the connectors with electrical tape to prevent short circuits and ensure overall safety. 

Testing and Adjustments:

Once you’ve secured your electrical connections, you can turn on the power source to test the LED neon sign and examine its operation. See to it that the sign is properly illuminated, and that all features and colors are available as intended. 

If the need arises, you can make adjustments – tighten screws, optimize the sign’s alignment, and adjust the brightness settings. 

Final Checks and Cleanup:

Run one more check on electrical connections and other critical components to ensure that everything runs as intended. Then, run a quick clean of the sign and its surrounding areas to take out any debris or residue from the DIY neon signs LED strip light installation process. 

When it’s all done, conduct a final visual inspection to ensure that the sign is properly mounted and functioning as you’d want it to. 

Ongoing Maintenance:

As explained earlier, you want to make sure that you have a reliable maintenance schedule for your led neon sign. The signs don’t necessarily need much in terms of maintenance, but ensuring that they work properly will be important if you hope to get the best out of them. 

From periodic cleaning to regular inspections, ensure that all components of the LED neon sign are optimal. We at NSE LED Cloud will also provide maintenance recommendations for you to follow as you hope to optimize these tools and get the most out of them. 

Remember that we’re always available if you will need any additional help with the installation process. Besides our detailed guidelines, regular assistance will also be provided to you. 

Important Safety & Security Considerations 

What you need to know to make sure the process is simple and safe:

As part of the DIY LED neon sign installation process, it is critical to ensure that you protect yourself. This process, albeit simple and straightforward, can impose several risks that you need to be aware of. 

So, familiarizing yourself with them and understanding how to keep yourself safe will be important. Here are some things to keep in mind: 

Recognize Electrical Safety:

By far the most significant risk you face is with electricity. This is why you need to be especially careful to familiarize yourself with safety rules all through the installation process. Get a good understanding of basic electrical safety practices, and follow our guidelines for installation if you need any help. 

If you’re unsure about electrical work, then we will recommend getting a certified electrician to help out with the process instead. 

Power Source and Electrical Requirements:

Also related to the initial point, you want to make sure that the power source you’re connecting the LED neon sign to is compatible with the sign’s electrical requirements. Once again, this is something that a certified electrician will be able to help you with. 

Turn Off Power:

We recommend that you turn off power supply to the entire installation area before you begin the process. Also, make clear labelings on the fuse or circuit breaker that correspond to the area to prevent accidental power restoration while you work. 

Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

We can’t emphasize this enough. Al through the installation process, always wear appropriate protective gear. 

Secure Mounting:

You should also see to it that screws, mounting brackets, and other hardware used to secure the LED neon sign are suitable for the installation surface and can support it. 

We will provide guidelines for this, so feel free to follow them. 

Height Considerations: 

If you’ll be installing the signs at great heights, then make sure to get a sturdy ladder or platform to aid you. Also, don’t overreach when you’re on the ladder and follow all related safety practices. 

Circuit Overloading: 

As part of your electrical due diligence, be sure to guard against overloading your circuit by connecting too many signs or other electrical devices to a single power source. Keep the electrical load within the circuit’s capacity to prevent a possible electrical hazard. 

Secure Wiring and Connections:

On a final note, inspect all electrical connections and ensure that wires are properly connected, stripped, and insulated with the right nuts and connectors. 

Tips and Tricks For A Successful DIY LED Neon Sign 

glass NEON sign

To ensure a successful DIY LED neon sign installation process, you also want to keep a few things in mind: 

Sign Testing:

Before you even install the signs, be sure to test them. This way, you can check for defects and make returns where necessary. At NSE LED Cloud, we provide adequate testing of all neon signs to ensure that they operate as they should, so you have our guarantee of efficiency. 

Measurement & Alignment Checks: 

You also want to double check the signs to ensure that they are aligned and placed within the right measurement parameters. Accuracy is the name of the game here. 

Personalization: 

To improve the reach and efficiency of your LED neon signs, feel free to personalize them as much as possible. Personalization can offer several benefits, from creative freedom to greater sign visibility.  

You can reach out to us to learn more about the different personalization options we can offer you. 

Test Special Effects:

Never be scared to experiment with possible light effects – ranging from dimmers to special effects and more. Of course, this will depend largely on the type of LED neon sign you have. 

Get Inspired:

Thinking of having LED neon signs? You’re not the only one. There are several people who have used these signs in the past, and you can check them out to see which of them is using these signs in the most creative ways. 

Common Issues You’ll Face – How To Avoid Them

Despite being straightforward, there are also a few issues that could plague the success of your DIY LED sign installation process. Some of these include: 

Electrical Wiring Issues:

In terms of electrical wiring, you want to be especially wary of improper and loose connections. While the former can lead to the signs not illuminating at all, the latter can cause flickering and intermittent operation. 

To avoid these, it is important to ensure that your connections are secure, firm, and properly stripped. Your electrician should be able to help with this. 

Mounting and Alignment Problems:

Incorrect positioning and insufficiency support are two major issues that might plague the efficiency of your mounting and alignment. This is why we recommend that you properly mark the installation site and ensure that your mounting brackets work fine. 

Defective Components:

Through no fault of your own, components in the entire LED neon sign kit might also be a bit faulty. To wit, we recommend testing your entire kit to ensure that everything – from the LED signs themselves to the installation materials – works as it should. 

Environmental Factors:

In general, you want to watch your electrical components and ensure that they are resistant to moisture and any environmental factors that might want to affect their efficiency. Also, be wary of extreme temperature and their possible effect on the lifespan of your signs.

Conclusion 

The DIY LED neon sign installation process is one that is quite easy across the board. And, with the steps we’ve outlined, getting this done shouldn’t be a problem at all. 

Remember that with NSE LED Cloud, you have all the help you need. From getting the entire DIY installation kit to counsel on how best to go about the installation process, feel free to let us know what you need and we’ll take it from there! 

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