Oh Neon, how I love thee so. Still trying to figure out why anyone that owns a piece of Neon Signage or Art Work seems to instantly become ultra cool and super credible in my eyes? Maybe it’s because of its bold, striking, almost offensive display and reputation that I’m so immediately drawn to it. Without a doubt, it demands to be centre of attention in any given setting and unapologetically gives no f***s about whether you like it or not. It’s loud, it’s proud and instantly expects every bit of your undivided attention as soon as it’s switched on. I can pretty much guarantee that if your as crazy about Neon as I am then you will thank me later for introducing you to this revolutionary product called EL Wire. This stuff is literally A…MA…ZING!

I’ve seen so many different DIY’s floating around on You Tube and Pinterest that yes easily show you how to achieve this look however, I do strongly feel that there hasn’t been enough focus on a few vital steps that will essentially make this a DIY worth doing. Such as the best placement for the battery pack, how to achieve the best font style for your design and most importantly how to guarantee your text/wire placement staying in the required position you tell it to. Talking from experience, I have tried a few different techniques and think that these key tips will definitely help you create a piece of Neon Art with an end result you will be proud off rather than feeling disappointed because it wasn’t as easy as you were originally promised. One of my pet hates is buying materials for something that ends up looking like utter shyt at no fault of your own, making you realise you should have just spent the extra money and purchased the real thing hassle free right from the start. Yes, we have all been there my friend however before you go spending unnecessary money on a Neon sign, why not give this achievable tutorial a chance?

*Firstly go purchase yourself some of this extremely affordable product – I got mine from Amazon and purchased 5 metres worth in the colour PINK but they have a varied selection available in all sorts of lengths! (Copy the link below to buy the one I purchased.)


There’s two main parts to this DIY – #1 being a Canvas Transfer and #2 the construction of your EL Wire design (because who said you had to settle for just a plain white background right?!)

SO let’s get started……

The Materials you will require are – 

Place your chosen size Canvas on top of a slightly smaller book (that will fit underneath snuggly, giving the canvas more stability and preventing any sinking in the middle once the process starts.) Now pour your Medium Glue, (Mod Podge for those that can’t be arsed to resource,) directly onto your canvas.
Make sure you evenly distribute the glue onto all of your canvas area – I recommend using a bristle brush rather than a sponge one to do this as it enables the glue to sink into the canvas more effectively. Keep adding more glue if you think parts require more coverage but be careful not to make it too overly wet.
Once you have printed your background design onto a piece of paper (the thinner the better, approx 160 gsm) turn the image face down onto your canvas providing it with full coverage.
Now with a flat object, (I used just a store card), use the edge to flatten out any lumps or air bubbles that may now have presented themselves after placement. If these are not smoothed out at this stage, your image is unlikely to take to these particular parts of the canvas, so make sure you take your time and be patient with this step. Wipe away any of the excess glue from the sides to tidy it’s appearance.


Once you’ve allowed your canvas to dry for 24hrs provide yourself with some cool water and a clean sponge. Now begin to slowly soak through the top paper layer of your canvas. You will soon see the image of your design start to appear.
Use your thumb and fingers in a constant circular motion to rub the saturated top layer of paper away from your canvas. Be careful not to rub too hard as you may risk rubbing parts of the image away completely. Unless of course you are wanting to achieve more of a distressed look in which case rub slightly heavier in some places, just like I did here. If you are wanting a shine to your canvas after this transfer is complete then i suggest letting this dry out and again covering it with a thin layer of the glue (used in the previous step.) This will give it a slight sheen – unless you are wanting a matt finish, like I was here, in which case miss this step.
Now for all you rebels, you can choose to draw your lettering directly onto your canvas. However for all perfectionists giving this a try, stencil onto your tracing paper (or baking paper for all us cheapskates – does exactly the same thing, trust me) and start to design your letter formation. TOP TIP – remember you are slightly limited in regards to the number of entrance and exit points that you have to weave your EL Wire through on the canvas so try and keep the text as continuous as you can. Something I had no choice but to improvise with when trying to complete the original design I had planned for this step. (See, this is where I appreciated playing it safe.) Once you are happy with your letter composition then temporarily stick it into place to act as a guide for the next step.
With a sharp point, I used a wool needle, pierce all the holes that you have worked out to be your entrance and exit points. TOP TIP – This usually occurs at the beginning of a letter or to a letter that may need more than one stroke ie.a T or a H.
Cut the thicker start to the EL Wire off with scissors so that it is a consistent and correct width to start feeding through the holes.
Disconnect the battery pack from the other end of the EL Wire to make it easier to weave the cable. TOP TIP – work out now where you want your battery pack to sit on the back of your canvas as this will dictate what point you will need to start threading your wire from. 


With this example I wanted the battery pack placed at the bottom of my canvas so this meant I had to work in effect backwards when threading my letter formation, so that the battery pack was sitting flush and no wire was essentially wasted.
Now as you start to form your letters, (remember for this particular one I worked backwards) keep them in place by taping them down with the washer tape. This not only determines how much wire you require but also helps bend and shape the cable into whatever style you want, making it easier to position in a few steps ahead.
almost done……
Now this is where you will need your mini clippers, pinchers and your crafting wire. I found a matching pink option within my local HobbyCraft store – it cost me just over £2 and was described as 0.8 mm jewellery/crafting wire, making it easy to manipulate yet strong enough to aid and hold my EL Wire into the required position. Start by cutting approx 20 – 25 1″ length pieces as you will be using these to help secure your EL Wire in various places.  
Remove the washer tape and start piercing your canvas at chosen points, along either side of the EL Wire so that when pulled down tight from the other side the crafting wire holds the EL Wire down firmly into shape. With this being the same colour, it is barely visible from the front and neatly pulled as tight as required behind the canvas. TOP TIP – Use this method when wanting to keep any particular curves or bends in you text design. It prevents you having to make any unnecessary entrance/exit holes and maintains the EL Wires shape securely without being seen.
Tighten by twisting together the crafting wire from behind and snip away any access.
Now using a glue gun, fix your battery pack to the desired position onto your canvas. TOP TIP – Remember you will need to access the batteries once they need replacing, so ensure that you are gluing the correct side down.


In need of a quick demonstration? Then click onto this little video tutorial below….

With this method the possibilities are endless! There are so many more I’m wanting to create now I’m convinced of the best method. So if your wanting to give this a go then do what I did and start to find some visual imagery that will help you decide on the look, feel and text of your Neon Artwork.

Sticking with current colour trends, the design inspo for this particular DIY came from this gorgeous image I stumbled upon Pinterest…

Sourced from tokyobleep.tumblr.com

Goodluck guys and if you have any other tips or questions about this method then please get in touch via the comments box below!


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