Make a Festive Metal Sign with Christmas Lights

Article Posted By: Laura Sullivan

of The Home Depot

This DIY metal sign is great for Christmas, or any holiday.

With luminous white light bouncing off the reflective metal, this DIY metal sign with a holiday message is a polished, classy version of the Lite-Brite toy you played with as a child. With this simple project, it’s easy to customize your holiday message to fit your décor. Or maybe you just want to put your name in lights.

Just follow these step-by-step instructions.

A metal sign with festive holiday lights

Tools & Materials:

Cost for materials: About $25

Step 1

Measure your aluminum sheet then print out letters to the correct size for whatever word you’d like to spell. I would recommend keeping it short! For my particular project, I just created three different Microsoft Word documents then fit a letter into each. I printed out the individual letters, then I resized them a bit on a copy machine, using the enlarge or reduce function.

Print letters to make a metal sign with lights

Step 2

Poke holes in the center of the letters about the distance apart that you’d like each light to be on your sign. Be sure that your light strand has enough wire to reach between holes — and also that you have enough lights in your strand. (This simple three-letter word took a 50-light strand, believe it or not.)

Poke holes in letters to make a metal sign

Step 3

Tape down the letters in the right position on the aluminum sheet.

Tape down letters to make a metal sign

Step 4

Mark the aluminum through the holes with a permanent marker. Remove the letters and check again to be sure everything’s lined up.

Mark the aluminum to make a metal sign

Step 5:

Measure the width of the socket of the individual lights (very precisely!) so that you can choose an appropriate size drill bit. You want the socket to fit into the hole tightly and the light to fit snuggly onto the front of your sign. I chose a 3/8-inch drill bit because that was the precise measurement of the largest width of the socket. Drill holes where you’ve marked the sign. I found it helpful to apply lots of pressure until some metal bits fly off. Then lighten up at the end so that the metal doesn’t “pull.”

Drill holes in aluminum to make a metal sign

Step 6

Put the lights in one at a time. Pull the front of the light off by twisting and pulling very carefully. It may be helpful to use a kitchen towel to grip the light bulbs as you twist. Push the socket into the back of the metal sign and attach the light to the front. I checked that my lights were working after I put each light in, since it can be a little tricky to get the front of the light snuggly into the socket.

Stick lights into the aluminum

Step 7

I used books to prop up the sign as I was working … it definitely did the trick!

Use books to prop up the sign as you work

Step 8

Place on a mantel or bookshelf (or anywhere you’d like to spread a little cheer) and enjoy your custom-made metal sign!

A metal sign with a holiday message

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