Step-by-step process for creating an LED neon sign

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Step-by-step process for creating an LED neon sign

Custom neon signs can bring a unique look to any business, bar, eatery, home or special event (such as a wedding).

Faux neon signs have a different manufacturing process to traditional glass tubing neon signs. On this page we explore the step-by-step process involved in transforming your design idea into a finished neon sign.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the differences between traditional and LED neon signage:

Traditional neon signs

Faux neon signs

  • Made with glass neon tubing
  • Needs more power to run than LED
  • Can be hot to the touch
  • Some people find the light from traditional neon signs more appealing than LED
  • Made with acrylic neon tubing so more robust than traditional glass tubing
  • Energy efficient with lower running costs than traditional neon, especially for large signs
  • Cool to the touch
  • Slightly shorter lifespan than traditional neon signs

You can find a full list of the pros and cons of LED neon and traditional neon here.

Step 1: Email us your design idea

The first step in the design process is to email us your idea at [email protected] and tell us the basics of what you want.

Do I need to come up with a design or can I just tell you what I want?

Either! You can send us a rough sketch, a detailed drawing, a photo or digital artwork. We’ll also need an idea of the size, colours and backboard or mounting you’d like.

If you prefer, you can tell us the kind of design you like—for example, lettering in a particular font, or your company logo—and we’ll create a design for you based on this.

The more information you give us, especially visual, the better we can interpret your idea and produce a design you love.

The beauty of LED neon is that there are very few limitations on what design you can have—you can choose from a wide variety of letter designs, colours and finishing touches. LED neon signs can flash, change colour or be dimmed so you can get the exact look you want. You can find out more about the colour and effect options for faux neon signs here.

You can even choose the look of the sides of the characters, logo or design. At NeonPlus®, we can finish our channel letters with a metallised surface such as aluminium, brass, zinc, gold or gunsmoke.

This unique feature is still in development but should be available in the next few months. You can read more on our texture development page here.

The range of lettering available for custom made neon includes everything from channel letters, halo effect, to edge lit characters or the more traditional looking slim-line characters.

Step 2: We’ll give you a call

Someone from our team will telephone you and go through your idea so we know we’ve understood your requirements. At this point in the process, you’ll have a chance to tweak your design and ask us any questions you might have.

Step 3: We’ll put a quote together for you

The designers in our graphics department will draw up artwork that we can use internally to give you an accurate quote. They’ll then pass this to the sales team, who’ll work out how much the sign will cost.

They’ll then send you a quote and give you a ring a couple of days later so you can ask us any questions.

How much do faux neon signs cost?

As custom LED neon signs are made to order, the amount you pay will depend on the size and intricacy of your design. Acrylic neon signs and glass neon signs are similar in cost, but you can expect to pay slightly less for large outdoor LED neon displays when compared to traditional neon.

Running costs for faux neon are about 80% less when compared with traditional neon signs.

You can find a list of approximate prices related to the size of a sign with our guide How much does a custom neon sign cost?

Step 4: You’ll receive a draft design of your neon sign

When you let us know you’re happy with the quote, we’ll generate a final proof that you’ll need to sign off. If the final proof looks good to you, let us know and we’ll get to work on your sign.

Step 5: We make your neon sign

For NeonPlus® it takes seven stages to produce a custom sign and it involves a lot of experts in several different departments. The seven-stage process below takes around 10 days, depending on the design of your sign.

1. Machining the acrylic and backings

Our technical team will machine the sign’s backing out of acrylic, metal or wood, and cut the acrylic tubing that will hold the LEDs.

2. Preparing the cut parts ready for paint or vinyl

3. Our technicians paint the pieces or apply vinyl to them

Whether your sign is painted or finished with vinyl will depend on the intricacy of the design. We usually paint very detailed designs rather than apply vinyl.

4. LEDs are fit inside

Low-voltage LEDs are embedded closely together inside the acrylic tubing.

5. Final assembly

We put all the parts of your sign together and mount it onto the backing board.

6. Three-hour test and quality control

The quality control process involves putting your sign through its paces and checking that it looks perfect and works brilliantly.

7. Packaging ready for delivery or collection

Step 6: You get your new sign!

You’ll receive your order on a next-day or same-day service for the UK and most of Europe. If you’re ordering outside of the UK and Europe, delivery time will depend on which country you’re ordering from.

As faux neon signage is powered by LED, you won’t need to have a fire switch installed (these are required for traditional neon signs that use 100w or more energy to run) and you won’t need to ask a specialist contractor to install it. This means you can save on installation costs and enjoy your LED neon sign as soon as it’s delivered.

You can view a wide variety of amazing neon designs—from bar signs to slogans—in our gallery.

If you have an idea for a neon signs you’d like us to quote for then let us know here.

For more information on faux neon signs visit our Advice Centre.