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My vintage neon sign fell off its mounting plate. The supports that connected the black acrylic back plate to the neon tubes became brittle and broke in many places. This guide follows the steps I took to restore the sign to its original condition.

For this project you will need:

Step 1: Remove Old Clips and Clean Sign

Picture of Remove Old Clips and Clean Sign

I started out by removing the brittle clips from the mounting plate, which I could easily do with my hands. The supports didn't come away completely, however. There were still stumps leftover, but I was happy to leave them alone because you can't see them from a distance.

If you don't have a backplate to begin with, or yours is broken, use a plastic scoring knife to cut down a sheet of black (or clear) acrylic to just larger than the dimensions of your sign. If you need to cut holes in the plastic for routing wires, do so slowly and with pilot holes so as to not crack the plastic. Here are some tips about working with sheet acrylic.

Clean the sign! Gently wipe and/or brush the sign tubing with cleaner and paper towels and/or an old toothbrush. This is a good opportunity to get into all the spots you can't normally access when the sign is mounted.

bpark100010 months ago
Neon signs emit UV radiation, which degrades all plastics near them. If mounts are degraded, so will be the back plate. Replace it! I would not rely on glue to hold the clips; I would bolt them on to the back plate. If the glue fails, the sign gets broken!
If sections of the neon tube are painted black, now is the time to renew that while the sign is disassembled.
Also note that the supply makes high voltage and is dangerous! Be sure that the insulation is not also degraded by the UV, and disconnect power when working on the sign.
bekathwia (author)  bpark10009 months ago
Thanks for the tips!
zyck10 months ago
Nice work. Basically that's how it's done. I did it for many years. If you ever have to do it again, try snapping tube supports to glass, make sure the bases of supports lay flat on acrylic, once all look good put glue on supports and lay neon in place again, make sure all bases have full contact to acrylic, let dry and you ready for wiring.
My grandfather in the picture.
bekathwia (author)  zyck10 months ago
So cool, thanks for sharing!