Neon Sign Design Process, Explained

A surprising fact about neon signs is that they are all handcrafted. In this video, join chef Katie Pickens as she learns to make her own neon sign over at the Brooklyn Glass workshop.

Neon signs continue to be made in much the same way as they were when the technology was first introduced.

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However, the application of neon signs has evolved with today’s tastes, branching from the nostalgic bold signage of the past to more muted and subtle placements.

The making of neon signs involves first using flames to bend glass tubes into the desired shape. Once that is done, all the air is sucked out of the tube by a vacuum machine.

The third step removes any impurities in the glass tube by applying high voltage to it while, at the same time, a vacuum pump extracts the burned impurities. A special transformer is required to do this; therefore, making old-school neon signs is not something you can DIY at home.

The second last step is to make a high vacuum within the tube before finally pumping neon gas into the tube. If made the right way, a neon sign will last 8 to 15 years.

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