The main product that we sell on DIYSignsupply.com are our DIY light box sign kits. However, it appears that although a number of people purchase and use our DIY light box kits (it is one of our best selling items) the kits still fall out of some of our readers' budgets. This article is geared toward those readers who really need a lighted box sign kit but can't afford anything over $100. This article is a DIY how to instructions for a metal light box sign that is 4' x 2' but you should be able to scale it up or down depending on your needs. I have specifically sourced materails that can be purchased at Home Depot (or your neighborhoood home improvement superstore) so hopefully you just need to make one trip to the store before you are well on your way!
Material Supply List
- (2) 8' tall (or as necessary to fit your desired sign size) 3 5/8" galvanized steel stud TRACKS (made to be installed at top or bottom of wall, not the normal studs)
- (24) #8 x 1/2" (or similar) Wafer Head Sheet Metal Screws
- (1) stick of 1 1/4" x 8' Metal Corner Bead
- Commercial Electric 8 ft. Clear Indoor LED Flexible Tape Rated Under Cabinet Light Kit
- (1) Can of Rustoleum Spray Paint (color of your choice)
- (1) 2'x4' Piece of White Transulecent Acrylic
- (1) Tube of Latex Caulk
- (1) piece of galvanized sheet metal (sized to fit your sign)
- (1) liquidtite NM straight fitting connector
- Epoxy glue
- Continuous Hinge
Step by Step DIY Guide on How to Build a Lightbox Sign From Scratch
1. Cut the studs down to the size that you need to form the perimeter frame of the lighted sign box. I would recommend cutting each edge slightly less than 90 degrees to ensure that the edge of the returns aren't exposed. If you do not have a miter saw you can use a hacksaw to cut the metal studs.
2. Cut (3) pieces of the metal corner bead to form the corners of the metal DIY lightbox sign. The corner pieces will be installed inside of the studs so please measure carefully to be sure that they will fit inside. Cut the continuous hinge down to size to fit the metal stud.
3. Fasten all of the metal stud pieces together for the box sign by first screwing each metal corner bead piece to the studs at the corners, then screw the overlapping steel stud returns together (one screw each side for a total of 8).
4. Drill a hole into the side of one of the studs large enough to fit the electrical fitting and install the electrical fitting connector (do not install the electrical cord yet that will eventually power the lightbox sign).
5. Caulk any holes or gaps at the corners to prevent light coming through from the inside of the sign.
6. Paint all of the metal framing members of the light box sign.
7. Insert the galvanized sheet metal panel into the back face of the DIY lightbox sign (please note this face should not be visible and it is assumed that paint will not be necessary. Feel free to paint the backface if it is exposed. Use the previously installed screws at the corners to install the panel at the corners and add screws along the frame if necessary.
8. Optional depending on size - if the sign requires additional support (depending on size) please feel free to add 16 gauge flat strap along the diagonal corners of the back face of the lighted sign box to increase support for the sign.
9. Cut the LED light strip to size and install it around the perimeter of the metal framing of the box sign. I suggest purchasing the brackets that come as optional with the LED light strip and glue itat regular intervals around the frame.
10. Disconnect the electrical cord from the LED light strip, insert it through the watertight electrical connector fitting, and re-connect the electrical cord to the LED light strip.
11. Unscrew and open the hinged side of the metal frame and insert the translucent white acrylic panel, then close and re-screw the hinged side of the DIY lighted box sign.
12. Now the sign is complete and ready for your customization! You are now able to take the acrylic panel to a local sign shop for custom vinyl lettering or graphics or for an alternate solution you can use different colored electrical tape to create your own message!