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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys!

So I decided, since my Halloween Party this year is going to be Haunted Freak Show, I would make a few props and then share them with ya'll!

First project: Freak Show Marquee Sign! And I decided to share my progress!

SUPPLIES:
  • Foam Board (1 sheet black, 1 sheet white)
  • 1 Exacto Knife
  • 1 String of white Christmas Lights (any kind)
  • Red Spray Paint
  • Other Supplies: pencil, ruler, tape
First, decide what kind of design you want the base of your sign to be. I just kind of free handed something and cut it out with an exacto knife, but you can get ideas from the internet.
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Next, decide what kind of letters you want. I spent time going to different craft stores first to look at different kinds of letters but in the end I decided to cut my own from foam board because I knew had some awesome carnival fonts on my computer :)
When you decide what kind of font you want, size it appropriately and print them until you get the size you want.
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Then prepare them for tracing on the white foam board! I used some tape on the back of the letters so they wouldn't move around when I traced.
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Then of course, next go through the pain-staking process of cutting out each detailed letter! Whew! :cool:
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That's what I've got for now! More progress pics as I go! Next will be spray painting the letters! :D

MORE TO COME...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
UPDATE!!!!!

Here's the next step: Spray Painting!
Paint your letters red with any kind of red spray paint you want. Or, you could do any color you wanted really. Let them dry.
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Now, here's something extra I decided to do, but you don't have to if you don't want to. I thought the sign needed a little something extra so I painted around the edge with some gold acrylic paint. Then after I had my letters placed I made some little decorative swirls on the sides too. Just free handed it. :)
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Next, you'll want to glue down the letters. I just used a hot glue gun and put little dots of glue around the outside of the letters, just at the outer points because I knew I was going to be poking holes through the middles of the letters eventually.
Then, once all your letters are glued, use a pencil to figure out where your going to want all the lights to go and poke lightly through to make a sort of guide. I just eye balled it and did what I thought would be aesthetically pleasing.
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That's all so far....I'll post next when I finish the next step which is poking the lights through the back! :D

TO BE CONTINUED....
 

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Discussion Starter #6
PART THREE....

Here are the last few steps to finish the sign! :D

What to do next, after you've established where you want the holes, is to poke all the way through your foam board. I used a knitting needle that I had lying around because it was the perfect thickness for the lights going through. I just poked through the front of the board until I made it through, and then went around to the back and poked through the back as well just to make it open enough for the lights to go through.

Then I just proceeded to put all the lights through! For my sign, I needed 2 sets of 50 lights and didn't even use them all. I just used standard Christmas lights, nothing fancy and they showed through the other side exactly how I wanted. They were the perfect length!
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Don't forget to tape down some of the lights on the back so they stay put. I only really needed to tape down the place where I connected the two strings.
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Here's the finished product! Don't forget to test your lights to make sure they do turn on! :D
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(Sorry that last photo is so fuzzy. I think my phone was having trouble focusing because of the lights being on.)

Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed this tutorial and hope it was easy enough to follow! I will definitely post pictures of the sign when it's up at my party this year. To hang it, I just plan to poke a couple of holes in the top and feed some string through, but hang it or use it in any way you like if you decide to make your own! :D

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! :D :D :D
 

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Discussion Starter #15
That turned out very nice, will the lights be steady all the time or flickering?
For now they are steady. I might eventually get them flickering tho. Since each word has a different stream of lights it'll be fairly simple, just getting them to either alternate or go together will be the tricky part haha. I'll get a video if I end up going the flickering route. :)
 

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Since you have 2 strings of lights, you could use one of the Arduino Four-Banger controllers without the audio part to at least flash each word, one at a time. Or if you get crazy, go with 4 sets of lights (2 on each word) and see what happens. I havent used one of these yet myself and I am not sure if you can setup the relays for a sequence when it isnt triggered. If anyone can correct me, please do so. UPDATE: I had parts for this controller on order for a few weeks now and finaly got them, a seqeunce for the relays can be used only during a trigger. So not really usable for this, sorry.

Another way, over the top maybe, use one of the 4 channel DMX dimmers. Some of them have built in sequences and you dont need to control it with DMX. Earlier this summer, I found a working one on Ebay for $30 shipped. I must have lucked out because right now, the cheapest one I found was $75.
 
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