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DIY Back Light Panels

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I made two types of backlit panels for the Shin-Yukari station.


For "large" advertisement boards such as this one:



I used a clear polyester sheet such as this one: 0.040 Clear Polyester-SKU 703-03




  • Cut it to size, then score it (make regularly-spaced horizontal grooves) on one side with a knife (I used the #16 scoring blade from X-ACTO).
  • Cover three of the four edges with aluminum foil (to avoid light leaks)
  • Paste a short section of LED strip on the fourth edge.
  • Paste a thin white styrene sheet on the back side.
  • Paste the printed advertisement on the front side.


The idea is that the light generated by the LEDs travels through the polyester sheet from one edge to the other, is caught by the grooves at the surface of the sheet and reflected towards the front. The light appears as if it was coming from inside the sheet. If the grooves are close to each others and regularly spaced, the light intensity will be uniform over the whole panel. For a small panel, having LEDs on one edge is good enough.


This is exactly how backlit panels for LCD displays used for smartphone or TVs work. I am very satisfied with the result and I plan to use this method to make large advertisement boards for the city buildings.


For the indication boards at the ceiling of the station, I simply glued six white rectangular LEDs together, connected them in series three by three, then covered them with a thin sheet of styrene.




Overall, as I can control the current for each of these panels using the PWM controller described in my previous post, I am able to carefully balance the brightness of each panel.




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Great idea!  I'm totally going to use this!

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Stunning! Been looking at something like this for a long time! I had fiddled with it way back and looked like it would work for small stuff and this really proves it will work on larger ones! Back lit signs are so ubiquitous in Japanese scenes!





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Your attention to detail is truly something else! 😍

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Amazing! It looks amazingly realistic, I'll try to do it also!!

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