# BIG LETTERS!

#### Robert F Jarvis

##### Well-Known Member
Director wants 3 foor high letters C L U E for the play Clue. Wants them with adjustable (DMX) colors. I've made shallow hollow boxes with LED tape around the inside perimeter and letters cut out from the front panel that have worked well in the past. But he wants free hanging shaped letters. Thinking of either gluing LED tape to surface of letter cut outs or sticking a thin plastic perimeter around shape to put LED tape on and then some form of translucent cover. Ideas?

#### microstar

##### Well-Known Member
If the letters are actually hanging, why not make them solid out of Foamcor and just light them with RGB LED ellipsodials rather than mess with LED tape? You only have 4 letters=4 fixtures.

#### theatricalmatt

##### Well-Known Member
Frosted plexiglass letters + ellipsoidals to backlight them?

Or, projection screen material and a lot of mapping.

#### Robert F Jarvis

##### Well-Known Member
Frosted plexiglass letters + ellipsoidals to backlight them?

Or, projection screen material and a lot of mapping.
Great ideas coming in. The LED Ellipsiodal on white letters good idea but a/ with cut out letters we are going to backshoot onto a cyc and b/ director wants black letters when lit.

#### Robert F Jarvis

##### Well-Known Member
Great ideas coming in. The LED Ellipsiodal on white letters good idea but a/ with cut out letters we are going to backshoot onto a cyc and b/ director wants black letters when lit.
The plexiglass idea would work. But we are a volunteer outfit and quotes I got for 3' high letter were out of our reach.

#### JChenault

##### Well-Known Member
I see two approaches.
one would be to make a light box in The shape of each letter. 1/2 inch ply for the back. Male it 1/2 inch or so deep with lean for depth Put led tape around the edge and cover with some kind of diffusion.

another approach would be to go,with an led/neon outline of the letters. Cut out the letters with 1/2 or 3/4 ply. Put the led tape around the outside. get some polyethylene tubing from Home Depot/ Lowes. Cut it in half and glue it over the LED tape. The polyethylene diffuses the light nicely.

#### Robert F Jarvis

##### Well-Known Member
I have used the first approach very succesfully for rectangular boxes with the letters cut out from the surface plate. Amazingly effective. The curved nature of the letter sides threw me until a friend recomended thin aluminum. I can bend it "L" shaped and cut out tabs from the bottom half to fix to the underside of the letter. Putting a translucnet cover needs solving. The second suggestion though I think really needs looking at. Novel approach for me and well worth a try. Thanks.

#### kicknargel

##### Well-Known Member
Frosted plexiglass letters + ellipsoidals to backlight them?
For a budget version, use coroplast. 4mm "natural" backlights very well. Also works as the front of a light box.

#### jtweigandt

##### Well-Known Member
For pajama game, I did the "sleep tite" sign as large cutouts in black foam board.. Gel material over the cutout areas, Then the trick to lighting them was tissue paper on the back of the gel
I back lit from the floor at a high angle tightly shuttered and aimed . the spill going into the above stage blackness. Tissue paper picks up the light and gives the letters a glow.

Could use clear material now, white tissue, and a color changing light source.. either an ellipsoidal, or just a barn doored LED par. The tissue paper is the key to picking up the high angle light.and transferring the glow forward.

So I ended up with the "neon" sign hanging in the middle of the window.. Easy, Cheap, Effective. What's not to like other than I don't have a picture handy.

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
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This is not an answer that solves the OP's problem but, someone down the road is going to be reading this post and I hope this will help them find big letters.

I used www.craftcuts.com to get custom made "Roxie" letters for Chicago this spring. They will custom cut letters out of wood, mdf, foam, cardboard, and metal. Up to 48" high and a variety of thicknesses, depending on the material. You can choose from dozens and dozens of fonts. Yeah you could have made them by hand for cheaper, but sometimes fast and well made is in the budget. After tax, shipping, and a 10% off coupon for signing up for emails, I paid $260 for 35" x 1/2" MDF letters in the perfect Art Deco font that the director wanted. Paint them, glitter the crap out of them, hang them and I was done in 1/3 the time it would have taken to make them. (Yes we dropped in a mirror ball and it's not period, this song is Roxie's fantasy and not the real world and the director likes to use the mirror ball. Fight me.) Last edited: #### derekleffew ##### Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member This is not an answer that solves the OP's problem but, someone down the road is going to be reading this post and I hope this will help them find ... ... a Brail Curtain. Where did you get the gorgeous brail drop? What material and what color inherently? #### gafftaper ##### Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia ... a Brail Curtain. Where did you get the gorgeous brail drop? What material and what color inherently? That's a burgundy colored Austrian Puff from Grosh. So cool with LED's on it! This is closer to the original color. #### GrizzlyMatt ##### Member This is not an answer that solves the OP's problem but, someone down the road is going to be reading this post and I hope this will help them find big letters. I used www.craftcuts.com to get custom made "Roxie" letters for Chicago this spring. They will custom cut letters out of wood, mdf, foam, cardboard, and metal. Up to 48" high and a variety of thicknesses, depending on the material. You can choose from dozens and dozens of fonts. Yeah you could have made them by hand for cheaper, but sometimes fast and well made is in the budget. After tax, shipping, and a 10% off coupon for signing up for emails, I paid$260 for 35" x 1/2" MDF letters in the perfect Art Deco font that the director wanted. Paint them, glitter the crap out of them, hang them and I was done in 1/3 the time it would have taken to make them.

(Yes we dropped in a mirror ball and it's not period, this song is Roxie's fantasy and not the real world and the director likes to use the mirror ball. Fight me.)

View attachment 23286
I used to work with a director who wanted to use the mirror ball for EVERYTHING. I'm rather adverse to mirror balls now because of it

#### jtweigandt

##### Well-Known Member
I used to work with a director who wanted to use the mirror ball for EVERYTHING. I'm rather adverse to mirror balls now because of it
Thats OK.. when I"m on stage I like to say that I'm a threat/threat 1/2 with dance being the weakest link. But I am actually in reality because of a ballet credit, afaik, the worlds only ballet dancing wallaby surgeon.

#### GrizzlyMatt

##### Member
Thats OK.. when I"m on stage I like to say that I'm a threat/threat 1/2 with dance being the weakest link. But I am actually in reality because of a ballet credit, afaik, the worlds only ballet dancing wallaby surgeon.
Now, important question: were you operating on the wallaby backstage?

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
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But I am actually in reality because of a ballet credit, afaik, the worlds only ballet dancing wallaby surgeon.
I have questions. In my mind this sentence conjures imagery of you in a Nutcracker costume, dancing across the stage to operate on a wallaby.

#### TimMc

##### Well-Known Member
I have questions. In my mind this sentence conjures imagery of you in a Nutcracker costume, dancing across the stage to operate on a wallaby.
I thought he was the surgeon for dancing wallaby...

#### jtweigandt

##### Well-Known Member
Now, important question: were you operating on the wallaby backstage?
So I guess the point was.. if there is ever a point, that Gaff may need to reach out of the comfort zone, and embrace the disco ball. I performed orthopedic bone pinning on a couple of wallaby's years ago because I was the one in town with the skill set that came the closest and I was too stupid to say no. Also recruited as a community actor into a professional ballet production.. way beyond my skill set and comfort zone, but it was a hoot. So I was in the premier of an original piece, and we performed locally at two different venues. So not the nutcracker by any means. Pictoral proof.. I'm to your right (SL) of the dancer on the table.. and had just lifted her up there (rather she lept, and I had hand on her waist and arm to provide the illusion of being lifted And of course the obligitory post op picture of a baby wallaby, me in my aussie cap, wallaby with a newly pinned femur as I recall. And so.. here I am maybe unique in the whole world.... Embrace the disco ball...

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
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@jtweigandt I'm extremely disappointed to learn these are separate events. I really wish your first picture (instead of a dancer on the table) featured a wallaby mid-surgery with Dancers gathered around arms raised in surgical triumph as you in the surgical scrubs lifted the wallaby similar to picture two!

#### jtweigandt

##### Well-Known Member
And thus your tag line "Don't worry, I've screwed up bigger shows than this!" I guess I should apologize for taking this thread so far off the rails.