Build a remote controlled ‘On Air’ sign 

‘On Air’ signs are most commonly seen in movies, especially during a radio show. Have you ever wanted one for yourself, maybe as a decorative sign on your wall or at the entrance of your room. Through this article you will be able to make your own ‘On Air’ sign. The steps to make one are really easy to follow along, with materials that are easy to find and you may have most of them already at home. 


Magnetic fridge letters 

Plastic sheet 

Remote control receptacle

LED spotlight 


Aluminium foil 

Step 1

For the first step, you need to collect a bunch of magnetic fridge letters, these will be used to spell out the words ‘On Air’, or any other wording you want to spell out. 

You will need to choose the letters that make up the word and place them on a wooden board, make sure to space them out correctly, you can draw a baseline to make sure that they are in a straight line and not tilted, once you are satisfied with the way it looks you can apply some glue and stick it to the wooden board. 

Step 2

Next, you will have to vacuum former the letters. 

Vacuum former is when you heat up a sheet of plastic to a point where it will mould on the object that it is placed on, to do this you will have to place the object on a over a plate, the plate being used should have a bunch of holes in it, this plate then suck the air around the object. When you place the plastic over it, the vacuum will pull the plastic making it mould onto the object, and once the plastic cools down it hardens and then release the vacuum and separate the object from the plastic mould, there are many tutorials online that show a more in depth tutorial of the vacuum former technique. 

Place the wooden board containing the lettering over the plate, then pace the vacuum frame over it letterings, after it cools down you can then start separating the mould from the letterings, make sure to be careful while during this as the plastic is pretty thin and can crack if separated in a haste. Then with the help of an utility knife you will have to separate the part with the letterings. 

Step 3

Spray paint it. You can use any colour spray paint, the colour red would be more suitable for the ‘On Air’ sign. You can then spray paint the back of the plastic mould. You will need to coat it several times to get a really pigmented colour. Once the back dries up, flip the mould to the front side and spray paint it black, you will need several coats of paint. Once the paint dried up you will need to take a sander and sand the front side of the letters, this will only expose the letters to the colour red while the surrounding will be black. You will then need to clear coat it so that the letters appear glossier. 

Step 4

Next, you will need to take out a  remote control receptacle and a LED spotlight. You will need to unscrew the case of the spotlight and take out the panels with the LEDs out and then remove the cable. You will then need to make a box for the sign, the box is made up of MDF, you will need to cut the MDF to cut into the size you want the box to be and then carve a slot into each panel. The slot is made to hold the sign that was made earlier. You will have to cut another panel that will go at the back and will be attached to the wall. Then you will need to coat all the panels with some spray paint. 

You can then use clamps to keep the panels in place and then attach them with some brads, you will need to make sure that the slots are one the same side. Once you have attached the bottom and side panels you will need to slide the ‘On Air’ plastic mould into the slots.  

Step 5

Your sign is almost done. You now have to drill a hole on the edge of the back panel, this is where the wire will pass through. Drill 2 holes on the top panel, this will help in attaching the sign later. 

Spray some adhesive into the box and then apply some aluminium sheet on it, this is done to bounce the light around inside the box. You then have to attach the LEDs on the back panel. You then have to drill a hole into the space you will be attaching your sign and screw the back panel on it. You can then attach the wire through the space to your back panel, you can attach the box to the back panel and screw the holes made at the top. Use the remote to switch on the sign and you are done with your sign. 

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