How to Build a Lighted Sign

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Purchasing a big, backlit sign for your business or organization can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars. However, if you simply need a small sign to let customers know your business is open or closed, or listing your business hours, you do not have to spend a lot. Make your own lighted sign, using items found at your neighborhood hardware store.

Lay the sign on a level surface. Determine which area of the sign you want lighted. You may want to simply outline the border of the sign, or you might want to light the text or graphics. The number of holes you drill should match the number of lights on your strands of lights.

Set the measuring tape along the area to be lit. Using the tack or push pin, poke equidistant holes all along the area to be lit. Turn the sign over and make sure the holes are all the way through and visible. If not, turn the sign over and repeat.

Use the drill or hammer and nail to drill or punch holes along the perimeter of the sign, as well as around the lettering or graphics inside the sign. Depending on the size of the bulbs, you may need a smaller or larger drill bit. Test it first on a piece of cardboard to make sure you have the right size.

Starting with the hole closest to the border of the sign, push a light through the hole. Make sure it is the bulb closest to the plug-in end of the strand.

Repeat until all of the lights are pushed through the holes in the sign. If any of the bulbs appear loose in their holes, use glue dots or staples to secure the cord and bulb into place. Hang your sign and plug it into an electrical outlet.


  • Don't leave your lights on when you are not present.