Build It | Channel Letters with Jimmy DiResta
Ask This Old House host Kevin O’Connor heads back to Jimmy DiResta’s shop to build a sign
- Trace the chosen letters onto a piece of plywood.
- Cut out the letters using a band saw or a jigsaw.
- Count out how many lights are on the string lights. With that number in mind, trace out on the letters where each light will be placed, being sure to space them evenly.
- Drill holes for each of the lights and sand the letters thoroughly.
- Cut small spacers out of the remaining plywood. Glue to the back of the letters to allow for space for the wiring.
- Wrap the flashing around the letters and secure with the hot glue and a nail gun. Use a speed square as a brake when bending the flashing.
- Cut two pieces of scrap wood the approximate length of the letters.
- Prime all the letters with spray paint and allow them to dry. Then, paint the inside of the letters with the desired color.
- Flip all the letters upside down and cover the holes with painter’s tape to prevent paint from spraying to the other side.
- Spray paint the outside letters with the desired color. Paint the two pieces of scrap wood for the backing the same color. Allow everything to fully dry.
- Remove all the lightbulbs from the string lights.
- With the plug on one end of the letters, hot glue each lightbulb socket into each hole in a logical manner. Once the sockets are all in place, secure each connection with silicone caulking.
- Screw all the lightbulbs back in place.
- Secure the two backer pieces to the spacers on the letters with wood screws and a hand screwdriver. To make it easier, you can predrill the holes with a drill.
Everything Jimmy and Kevin used to make the channel letters, including the metal flashing, plywood, lights, spray paint, and hot glue, can be found at home centers.
Expert assistance for this segment was provided by Jimmy DiResta.