A glimpse into the neon sign studio.
When a clear glass tube is filled with an inert gas, such as neon or argon, and an electric current is introduced, electrons flow through the gas, causing its atoms to glow. When you introduce phosphor powders and various types of colored glass, a rainbow of hues are possible.
To shape the neon glass tubes into your design, we use a glassblowing technique handed down through the ages. First, the plan. We draw out the pattern for your neon sign creation on a fire-resistant sheet of paper. To bend the glass, we use a burner (variations include ribbon, cannon or crossfires) with a propane flame set at 1,200° F. As the glass reaches the desired temperature, we gently guide each section of the neon sign tubing in-and-out of the flame and form the appropriate letters or shapes desired.
The neon tubing is then connected to a high-quality vacuum pump, which removes all impurities and air while injecting the necessary gas to make the sign light-up - known as bombarding.
Finally, we check the shape against the pattern for maximum accuracy. Using transparent neon sign components, each portion of neon glass is mounted onto a clear or black Plexiglass backing. To power the neon sign, we connect the wires to a neon transformer that converts the standard 110 volt current, from our normal wall outlets, into high voltage current (3K to 15K volts) needed to power a neon sign.
Rinse and repeat until your custom neon sign creation is perfectly crafted, uniquely for you.
This “Making of” Video Will Change the Way You See Neon
When we first learned that many people were unaware of how neon was created, we could not wait to showcase it in a video. So take a trek to the local neon shop, grab some sticks of brightly colored glass tubing - and jump in the flames with us! If you thought your addiction to cuddly cat videos was bad, wave goodbye to good ole free time.