Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

November 3, 2014

DIY LED "Celebrate" Plywood Sign

DIY light up plywood sign
I'm so excited that I can finally begin sharing the DIY holiday projects I worked on with Canadian TireEven though I haven't celebrated Christmas in many years, getting free rein to create some creative DIY holiday ideas was an opportunity I couldn't turn down.  Over the years, some folks who also don't celebrate Christmas have thanked me, not only for sharing my thoughts, but also for not filling their inboxes with Christmas-themed blog posts.  So I thought long and hard about this opportunity but ultimately I said yes because the Canadian Tire team didn't necessarily want full-on "Christmas" from contributors; they wanted fresh ideas and encouraged creative, personal (even a little off-beat) projects.  I think that my Christmas-celebrating readers will enjoy (finally) seeing a few holiday-themed posts from me, but for those who don't celebrate Christmas, you'll be relieved that a lot of my projects are really just wintry and party-friendly (and, most importantly, still 100% me).  I've always loved the glittery parts of the holidays (evidenced by the fact that I've made and sold Christmas ornaments for many years so this was an incredibly fun and nostalgic experience for me!

CANVAS holiday bloggers
Check out the fabulous group of Canadian bloggers involved: Jillian Harris (Jillian Harris Design), Sarah Gunn (Yummy Mummy Club), Kerri Roche (A Pop of Pretty), and Jo-Anna Rooney (A Pretty Life in the Suburbs).

Canadian DIY Blogger

Let's get to my first project: an LED plywood sign that spells out "celebrate":

Projects using LED tube lights

I'd spotted light up signs floating around the web, and really wanted to try one for myself.  I love how it turned out and I especially like that it's versatile and could be used for any festivity.  I could have used the words "Be Cool" (my second choice) and just kept it up for winter parties (or in my office as a helpful reminder).  See how un-Christmassy my Christmas projects are?  I promise I'm the same old me (just with a ton of glitter stuck in the seams of my hardwood floors).

Modern holiday ideas with CANVAS

LED Sign Supplies:

How to Make an LED Sign:

I used a piece of plywood left over from another project that was already the perfect size - you can cut this sign to any size.  I lightly sanded the surface smooth and applied a coat of grey stain.  I used the grey leftover from the credenza hack, and I like that it hides the finishing nails and staples a bit.  Alternatively, you could wait until the nails that will hold the tubing are in place and then prime/spray paint everything to make the nails nearly invisible. 

While the stain dried, I printed "Celebrate" in a large, loopy font (one letter per page), cut it out, and arranged the text on the plywood.  A cursive font makes this project much easier.  When I was happy with the placement (and checked that the word was level and didn't slope down to one side like my writing does), I taped it in place.

Make a plywood sign

Keeping the paper in place, I hammered in some nails along the edges of the letters and started roughly placing the LED tube lighting.  It's so soft and so bendable that this was an easy task.  When there were enough nails to hold everything, I ripped up the paper - and a bunch of little pieces were left.  Oops.  I then removed the nails, removed the paper and quickly found the holes for the nails again.  I thought my method was a much more genius idea than tracing (no evidence left behind!) but I clearly didn't think it through all the way.  It took a few extra minutes this way, but still worked.

LED "Celebrate" Sign

To thread the tubing to the back, and also to make the "t," we drilled small holes using the spade bits:

Using a spade drill bit
Party backdrop ideas

It was actually Hubby's idea to make a border, because we had so much left over tubing.  We shaped a wiggly, ric-rac inspired border (loose, relaxed shapes are much easier to create) that we held in place with staples.  The lights are battery operated and all of the extra tubing and the small battery pack were affixed to the back (but slightly to the side so it's easy to reach it to turn on/off the lights).    

Easy DIY holiday party decor

It's really hard to photograph the sign lit up, but it looks so good at night!  Even during the day, it's easy to make out the lettering because I chose teal tubing which has a high enough contrast against the light grey.  You can mix up and personalize this project so easily and if you get bored of it, it's easy to remove and re-purpose the lights, and turn the plywood into something else.  I think I get bonus points for a holiday DIY that can quickly disassemble and morph into something else...

What to make with LED tube lights
Christmas mantle decorating
DIY light up sign
Holiday plywood projects
Modern Christmas Mantle Idea

Thanks for letting me share!  This post was sponsored by Canadian Tire


  1. oooh that is VERY cute! I like it, and that it can be used for all sorts of parties and not just Christmas.

    1. Thanks!! With DIY it's always a gamble: will this being as awesome as it is in my head, or will it be a total flop? I breathed a sigh of relief when it was done because it actually worked out and I also really like it! WHEW. And I love it's versatility, too.

  2. This is really cool. I like brief text for the holidays, such as on a chalkboard wall- Snow is glistening or Sleigh bells ring- winter wonderland lyrics makes it seasonal and universal. Although, even brief lyrics may be a bit much for a project like this. I'm impressed with how flexible the light tube is, making it suitable for many different projects. My daughter would love it for something creative for her room.
    Congrats on the commercial exposure.

    1. Thanks! I was really surprised by how flexible this lighting is - it's a soft mesh, not the plastic tubing I expected. I think you could totally do something like "snow is glistening ". That's such a cute idea!

  3. I feel the exact same way as some of your readers about being flooded with Christmas posts....but for me, it's Halloween, fall, or pumpkin EVERYTHING posts. Lawd, they are everywhere! If I see one more pumpkin cookie, bar, latte, craft or wreath post I'm going to scream lol.

    This is a cute idea. I probably would have drilled a hole behind where the light was to go and used wire and secured it through the back.....but I probably would not thought of drilling holes and feeding the lights through to create the T. I most likely would have sat there for hours trying every which way to loop them to make it looks somewhat presentable. Your drilled holes trump mine lol. You are one smart cookie. I know you said it's hard to photograph but does the rope all light up or just those little dots we see?

    1. I have to admit, it did seem extra pumpkin-y this year. I think it's because it's the first year you and I joined Instagram and so we didn't just see blogger decorating, but non-blogger decorating too. That's my theory, anyway. Well I totally glossed over Halloween - not even a link to old projects, oops - so I get a pass on this, lol.

      Those dots are the only lights. At night, the light thrown from those little lights extends further and isn't so concentrated in one little circle, but this photo is a fairly accurate representation. In the packaging, you can turn them on for a preview which is nice so you can see what they're like in real life if you're in Canadian Tire for any reason - I always love when you can preview stuff in the store. 3D beats photos any day.

    2. I think you are right about the Instagram part. I also have been entering all these contests to win things like Kitchen Aide mixers and Silhouette cutting machines and you have to like all these FB pages.....and I think a lot of those are "mom blogs" and they seem to go over board with Halloween/pumpkin....and my FB feed was flooded lol.

      I also totally agree with previewing things before buying...a reason why I don't shop online much...I like to touch and feel things before buying them.

    3. Absolutely in agreement with the holiday deluge comments. I happen to have an allergy to cinnamon (migraine trigger), so you can imagine what it's like for me in most shopping centers this time of year. What you've given us is great ideas for celebratory/party decor without all the usual fluff... and no cinnamon. Hooray! :)

    4. Oh gosh, I can't imagine having an allergy to cinnamon this time of year! That must be so overwhelming. The holidays definitely can be a sensor overload - the repetitive Christmas jingles are what drive me out of stores, haha.

      I'm so happy to hear you've liked my posts. I was so nervous about presenting holiday ideas but it really was exciting for me to do something different. I hate to admit this but my enthusiasm for the blog was waning in the summer, but now I feel this renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm and I have a million ideas. Canadian Tire gave me the kick in the pants I desperately needed, lol.

  4. This is such an exciting project to be a part of! And I am so inspired by your projects! I love love the colour scheme you have for your home and how festive and beautiful all of your work is!


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