Neon signs are cool, but they can be fragile and expensive if you need a custom design. If you’d rather make your own on the cheap, you can use EL wire, some simple plastic tubing and a heat gun.
If you’re not familiar, EL wire (or electroluminescent wire) is a thin light-up strip of wire that comes in a variety of colours. You can find various lengths and colours online for relatively cheap. In the video above, SparkFun user Npool shows you how to use that wire to create a faux neon sign that’s much more durable than regular neon signs.
Npoole uses rigid plastic tubing, like the kind used in aquariums that you can find at pet stores, as the outer shell for the neon signs. Start by inserting the EL wire into the tube, then use a heat gun to shape it. It may take a little planning to get your design right, but the end result looks great. Npoole finished by using black electrical tape to block off the parts of the sign that aren’t meant to be seen, much like regular neon signs.