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I’ve been wanting a sign with my logo for a while to hang on the wall in my office. Rather than just a plain wooden sign, I wanted to mix materials, so I decided to make this sign out of pallet wood, acrylic and LED strips.

I had the opportunity to try out the new Carvey machine, by Inventables. I could have cut the same acrylic on my own CNC machine, but figured I’d try out their new product since I had the chance.  It’s a slick machine! The output of it is essentially the same as my ShapeOko, but instead of a kit, it’s much more finished machine that is at home on your desk, rather than just in your workshop.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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Gather the materials

I gathered several slats from pallets that were about the same thickness and trimmed off the ends (where the nails were).


Cut slats for the back

On the tables saw, I ripped down some pieces to get a clean edge on both sides, then cut them to length on the miter saw. I wanted the back panel of my sign to be 14″ sq. so I cut the pieces to that width, and made sure to cut enough pieces to make up the 14″ in height.


Glue Up

Using some cheap parallel clamps, I glued up a panel for the back of the sign. If the edges have clean, straight cuts, this panel should turn out really nicely.


Clamp from both sides

When gluing up a panel, you want to clamp it from both sides to make sure that it dries flat. Only clamping from one side will cause it to bow.


Using Easel

For the logos in my signs, I used a free piece of software, for a CNC machine called Easel. I’ve also made a whole video explaining how to use it. It’s VERY simple.. and did I mention, FREE?!Screen-Shot-2014-11-06-at-11.22.55-AM


Final Logo

Although I used a CNC to cut my logos out, you could also use a scroll or bandsaw, or just paint them on.


Make the box

Cut some more pallet slats down to form the sides of what is essentially a shadow box. The height of these really just depends on how deep you want the box to look.


Tack the sides on

Using brad nails, add the side panels to the sign back. Make sure to keep top front edge of all of the pieces flush, to prepare for the front frame.


LED Strips

I found some LED strips that are REALLY bright and pretty inexpensive.  They come on a 25 ft. roll, with an adhesive back, so you just measure the inside dimensions of your sign and cut them to length.


Add the LEDs

Remove the adhesive backing and line the inside of the box with the strip, cutting off the excess once you make it all of the way around. Put the strip as close to the front edge as you can, so that it will be hidden by the front frame.


Add the logo

I printed out the logo at the same size as the one I cut on the CNC, and centered it in the size. Then, with a utility knife, I made marks on the inside angles. These cuts would help me align the pieces when I glued them down.


Glue the logo on

The acrylic logo pieces are attached with CA Glue, being careful to get the pieces lined up with the cuts made previously.


Cut the frame

Finally, I ripped down some 2″ strips of pallets, leaving one rough edge. I cut a 45 degree angle on them to make a picture frame for the front of the sign.


Add the frame

I tacked on the frame with brad nails. Quick and easy.


Mount the IR receiver (if necessary)

One LED strip I used came with a remote control for changing the colors of the strip, so the IR receiver needed to be able to be reached by the remote. I drilled out an existing hole in the sign back and pushed the receiver through.


All done!

The sign turned out really nicely, and I can’t wait to hang it in my office as well as take it with me to events.