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How to Make Neon Signs

Prashant Magar Oct 23, 2018
The mere mention of neon signs brings images of flashy-signboards displayed on prominent city squares or market places. In a way, these boards symbolize the modern lifestyle in full glory and assure much-needed popularity for your brand or product.
There is a certain commercial approach, which can be used to produce neon signs. When you happen to ride past the streets of a metropolitan city like New York or Las Vegas, the first thing that catches your attention are the flashy signboards. Thus, in order to sustain in an increasingly competitive market, it is essential to make your own neon signs.

What is a Neon Light

A lighting display consisting of glass tubes filled with gas, through which electric current is passed to make these tubes emit light. These tubes can be bent into any shape as required to form characters or a design.

How to Make Neon Signs

One way of making neon sign is by using an extremely helpful computer tool, Photoshop. It is perhaps, the most versatile tool in popular use all round the globe. A graphical work can be easily designed using Adobe Photoshop. The following steps will clarify the use of this software in making your own neon signs.
Open a new Photoshop window or a document. A new window will pop-up inside, which prompts you for the details of the project. Enter the size requirements, like the dimensions, the screen resolution and the fitting.
Select a desired color background from the 'fill' option in the 'Tools' bar. Similarly, go to the 'Text tool' and select a color for the text that you will enter. Make sure that the foreground and the text create a contrast. The text can be entered in a desired font style with all the curves and vivid flowing styles to make it more attractive.
There are blending options in 'layer styles' tools at the bottom of the screen.

The next step involves adding the glitzy effects. The Outer Glow option in the same 'layer styles' option provides the color setting using an 'eyedropper'. The width, size and texture is done by this tool.
The softening and highlighting of the characters should be adjusted in accordance with the size of the sign. In order to make your own personalized neon sign, the 'Bevel' and 'Emboss' tools can help create a trademark display.

How to Make Neon Signs Commercially

A thoroughly cleaned glass tube is placed in a coating machine which guides a phosphor liquid inside the tube. This liquid is then drained back at the bottom of the tube. The coating is allowed to dry by placing it in ovens. The presence of neon imparts red or orange light glow. Color tints can also be made by coating the tube with color material.
The tube is then bent using several procedures like gas burners for shaping big curves and bends or small torchlight burners for small bends. The characters and designs are generated by the shaping and bending of these tubes. In case of a bigger signboard, several sections of neon tubes bent into a particular shape are spliced and joined together.
After the required shape has been achieved, the ends are 'sealed' by fusing the ends of the tubes. The tube is then cleared of all the impurities by a series of procedures. A vacuum is created in the tube, and then it is refilled with hot, dry air again.
High temperature is passed by introducing electrodes supplying large current and heating its inside to almost 400 degree Celsius. This process is called bombarding.
Soon after this process, the gas is filled inside the tube at a low pressure. The process should ensure, no impurity re-enters the tube. The tube is then put through an 'aging' process, which makes the gas inside stable and operate for a long time.
Finally, the tubes are mounted according to the demands of the signboard after wiring and last-minute checks. These neon signs are powered by huge neon sign transformers specially designed for the boards. Their quality and working should be monitored regularly, in order to get the best results.
If you are successful in creating a really attractive neon sign, it may add glow to your venture along with the signboards. Therefore, best of luck with the neon signs!