If you’ve ever wanted a neon light but can’t justify the cost, this project is for you! Thanks to the invention of electroluminescent wire, it’s now possible to DIY a neon-effect light in any shape you like. Seeing as Christmas is approaching, we decided to create a white neon snowflake, with a sprinkling of glitter for added sparkle. Read on to find out just how easy it is to create a neon light of your own.
What you’ll need
To do this DIY project you’ll need the following tools:
Drill with drill bits
In addition, these materials will be needed:
1 small piece of MDF
Block of wood
Assorted sandpaper to fit your palm sander
Quick-dry primer and undercoat paint in white
Rust-Oleum Sparkling Glitter spray paint
EL Wire in white with battery pack
Cost, time and difficulty
The approximate cost of materials for this project is £25. You can access the shopping cart of some of the tools and materials used through this link. Depending on your DIY skills, this project shouldn’t take longer 2 hours to complete, excluding drying time.
Print out a snowflake shape to the size you want your finished neon light to be. Use this as a template to trace a slightly larger shape onto the MDF board. Use a jigsaw to cut out this shape.
Cover the edges of the snowflake with quick drying surface filler. This will prevent the edges of the MDF board from absorbing the paint too much. Allow to dry thoroughly before using a palm sander with sandpaper to smooth any rough edges.
Mark out where the EL wire will be positioned on the snowflake shape. Mark a cross at the points where the EL wire will need to be pushed through to the back of the shape. Use a drill bit with a slightly larger circumference than the EL wire and make holes at these points. Add one larger hole in the centre to fit multiple pieces of EL wire through.
Paint the whole snowflake shape with a primer and undercoat paint in white. You may need two coats, so allow to dry between layers. Once the final coat is dry, for extra glitz you can use a glitter spray paint to cover the whole shape in glitter. This also provides a protective clear top coat to seal the paint.
Cut a block of wood the same depth as the battery pack and screw this into the back of the snowflake in the centre. Add a hanging hook to the block. Tape the battery pack to the back of the snowflake beneath the block.
Feed the EL wire through the central hole from the back and weave it into the hole at one of the tips of the snowflake. Feed it through the ‘branches’ of the snowflake on either side of the line. On the reverse, take the wire back to the centre and repeat until all the arms of the snowflake have an EL wire design. Tape any remaining EL wire to the back of the snowflake.
And there you have it, a DIY neon-style light! Turn on the EL wire and proudly position your snowflake decoration on a sideboard or hang it on a wall to add an eye-catching feature to your festive decor. If you want to create a different design to decorate your home all year round, simply trace out the shape onto MDF and follow the same steps to outline the design or write out a phrase.
As with all our projects, please take care while using tools, materials and equipment. This article was written by Cassie Fairy. You can find Cassie’s blog ‘My Thrifty Life’ at Cassiefairy.com, where she shares daily blog posts on Christmas DIY projects, upcycled finds, low-cost festive recipes and plenty of inspiration for living a lovely life on a budget.