Since childhood, I have experienced an unhealthy craving for luminous objects. Probably, this is the fault of the garlands that in childhood we collected with Father for the New Year. So when my Bride and I started planning the wedding, I knew that I wanted to make something glowing, it had to be unique and look amazing.
My initial idea was to do something LED based. I rummaged through a lot of ideas on the Internet. As a result, on one site I came across glowing postcards, I liked them, but it did not seem suitable to me, I wanted to decorate with something the hall where the wedding banquet will take place. It was then that my fiancee came up with an idea with signs for guests on the tables.
Before moving on to a detailed description, I want to warn you. Although these plates are quite simple to make (I have not the most straight arms, but it worked) - it will take a lot of time! You need to make sure that you have enough time before the upcoming celebration so that you don't have to implement crazy ideas the night before the wedding.
Although, even if you decide that it is beautiful, but you are not able to do it yourself, you can contact an advertising workshop. There will most likely be a milling and engraving machine, as well as all the necessary materials, they will have the production of such plates on the table for guests, it will take a minimum of time, I do not think more than 1-2 days. And since the technology is very simple, the cost of making such plates for a wedding will be minimal. Just do not forget to send a link to this article so that it is immediately clear what you want from them.
Now for the positive. If you are not familiar with one of the eighty guests at our wedding, then most likely your guests have not seen anything like it either. Of course, they will take these plates with them and keep them, it will glow until the battery runs out.
Please note that if your wedding banquet will take place in a brightly lit room all the time, then the glowing signs for guests will not be so impressive. Although if you take sufficiently bright LEDs, then the signs will look decent, and even good, in a normally lit room, but in a dimly lit or dark room they look fantastic.
Now let's get started …
Stage 1: Materials and tools
Here is a list of what I used for this project. As always, you may find something cheaper or better, so use your imagination.
- Large office clips (large paper clips)
- Double-sided tape (foamed)
- LEDs, color and size for your choice
- Lithium batteries CR2032
- Polypropylene rod, preferably transparent (I used a 10 mm diameter, it all depends on the size of the diodes you buy)
- Acrylic sheet 1.5-2 mm thick, cut into rectangles (mine were 70x50mm in size)
- Paper for printer
- Clamp or small vise
- Engraver (I used Chinese, it's pretty cheap)
- Drill, for the diameter of the diode (if less, then you can drill the hole to the desired diameter, if more, then the free space can be filled with glue)
- Printer (or access to it)
- Pipe cutter or other cutter (maybe a scissors for cutting branches, all that you can get a clean cut of a polypropylene rod)
- Hacksaw for metal (make cuts in a polypropylene rod)
Stage 2: What to do with LEDs?
For our wedding, we chose red and yellow tones, so red LEDs were purchased. When choosing LEDs, be guided not only by color and brightness, but also by the angle of dispersion (view). LEDs have a very directional light, so it is better to choose an LED with a maximum dispersion angle, consult the store, I am sure they will advise you something.The larger the angle of dispersion, the more evenly the plate will be illuminated for guests, and vice versa, if the angle is very small, then only the middle part of the plate will be well illuminated. In any case, it's best to test one first in practice.
I also recommend conducting an experiment on how long the diode will glow brightly on the selected batteries. Taking this time into account, and light up the signs at the wedding.
Stage 3: Making the holder
Perhaps the most laborious step is the manufacture of holders from a polypropylene rod (for attaching pieces of acrylic). Perhaps there is a simpler and more elegant solution, but I came up with this and it works.
Before doing the whole batch at once, I recommend completely making a couple of working samples and making sure that everything works. After that, start mass production. Otherwise, you can waste a lot of time …
We cut the polypropylene rod into pieces (cylinders), 12mm high. The height is selected in such a way that the LED fits there entirely (up to the shoulder on the LED, if any) and there is still a place for fixing the acrylic. the gap between the acrylic and the LED should be kept to a minimum.
After we cut the rod into pieces. Drill a hole in each of them. If done correctly, the LED will fit snugly against the inner walls. Attention, the diodes are inserted only after the cut has been made for attaching the acrylic. A small vice will help you to drill, but do not overdo it when clamping, do not deform the plastic.
After drilling, proceed to the cuts. It is necessary to make a cut at one end of each resulting tube, up to about mid-height. Acrylic should fit snugly into the resulting groove.
After that, you can clean and remove the burrs with a fine-grained sandpaper. Do not be afraid if some minor flaws remain, this will not be noticeable on the finished product.
When attaching the LEDs, you can use a little glue for additional fixation. Make sure that the feet of the LED are perpendicular to the direction of the groove (cut) to ensure that the guest plate is parallel to the base.
Step 4: Prepare the clamps
This is where double-sided tape comes in handy. it will perform 2 functions at once, firstly, to isolate the contacts of the diode from the clip, and secondly, to securely fix the diode itself. When applying adhesive tape, remove the protective film from one side only, we do not need the clip to stick together ahead of time.
At this stage, it is possible to give the paper clips the desired color. For example, if your wedding lights are blue and silver, then you can take the blue LEDs and paint the clips with silver spray paint.
Step 5: engraving names
I have ugly handwriting, so I was worried that there would be a disaster, but in fact it turned out not so bad.
The biggest challenge at this stage is the final guest list. Some give confirmation at the very last moment.
First, we print on the printer the text that you want to engrave on the plates. The text should be mirrored horizontally. This can be done in any suitable program. Get creative with your font and size. I had a font with a height of 18px, if the names turned out to be too long, then I just made the font on the plate a little smaller.
Since at this stage, you may not have information about the numbering of tables, you can simply write the word "Table" and engrave the number later, having previously printed the numbers on the printer (mirrored).
I recommend practicing first on unnecessary pieces of acrylic to fill your hand.
Stage 6: Build
Once everything is ready, the assembly seems to be a rather simple operation.
LED and acrylic are fixed in the holder.
We place the battery between the legs of the LED, from which it starts to glow.My legs turned out to be too long and I was afraid that they would touch the metal (there will be a short circuit and the battery will quickly fail), so I shortened them with scissors.
If you are worried that the battery will drain quickly. Then you can place a strip of paper between one of the feet of the LED and the battery. This will prevent him from turning on. And already immediately before the banquet, someone has to go through and pull out all these pieces of paper.
Fix the LED with a clip at the very base. Make sure it is firmly gripped and not flickering.
That's all I wanted to tell you about making plates for guests on the table… Good luck with your wedding preparations!