A friend emailed to ask where she could get a giant letter "M" that lights up for her husband's 40th birthday present. Certainly, the typography trend isn't going anywhere – and old, illuminated letters are a nice twist on our lexical love affair. But they're not easy to find; here's what's available…
A-hunting we will go
For originals, eBay and Etsy will come up trumps… eventually. Keywords to try include: fairground marquee and lightbulb letter. Try, too: thevintagewall.com; theoldcinema.co.uk (if you have cash to splash); somethingorother.co.uk; and the antiques-trade markets (locate them at iacf.co.uk).
If you want something specific spelt out, and have a deadline, repro is your safest bet. I'm not usually a fan – signage can look especially twee – but signsforhomes.co.uk make stunning old-style copies, the circus-y ones, with visible bulbs. Letters start at £195 each.
You make me feel like…
If you happen to want to spell the word "dancing", Rockett St George sells a beautiful – new – Perspex panel for £89, modelled on a 1950s nightclub sign, with red letters on the front; you can put your own light behind it if you like.
It's a gas
Alternatively, make like Tracey Emin with neon gas: buy ready-made words and phrases ("kiss", "hot", "I love you") or create your own, for £45 per letter (plus a transformer – from £45 to £100) from theletteroom.com.
Keep it simple
If you want to make your own, get step-by-step guides for the super-simple plywood, jam-jar and paint version at bit.ly/QKccCl; or go a bit more pro here: bit.ly/LgLSJZ. Lights4fun.co.uk sells the festoon light strings you'll need and "foamcore" is better known as "foamboard" here for Googling. Do send pics if you manage it!
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