Pixel Words

Mark Bodlien from Word of Life Bible Institute in Schroon Lake, NY brings us these pixelated signs for their stage.

They decided to drill holes in 1/4″ luan with a hole saw, paint the face black, and cover the rear with a diffusion material. That way they could elevate the design element without the audience seeing the light fixture. The LED bars were placed behind and shot directly at the back of it so you could get every lumen possible without spill on the ceiling or floor. This was two different versions of the design for two different recent events. The LEAD sign was the theme for their Missions Conference at the Word of Life Bible Institute. The very next week was the kick off to their Word of Life Snow Camp for which they made the POLAR SEALS sign for their theme.


1/4″ Luan plywood
2×4 Framing
1 Gallon Black paint
1 Gallon wood glue
Roll of diffusion Gel ($$$) or thick, clear plastic sheeting ($)
Hardware to rig from ceiling
Truss or pipe to hang LED backlight from


First determine the design you want to make, then the size you want the final sign to be. Cut out the luan panels and map out where you want to drill your holes. For the LEAD sign, Mark used a 3″ hole saw with hole 4″ on center. So he mapped out a grid with a drywall square and pencil with marks every 4″. Then he marked the intersections that he wanted to drill.

Then he made a 2×4 frame for each letter/panel and glued and air-stapled each letter to the frame.

Then he sanded the splinters off the back.

Then he painted the front.

Then they tinted the glue with some black paint, just in case the glue seeped out of the holes, then rolled glue on the back with a paint roller and placed pre-cut pieces of diffusion sheeting to the glue.

After everything was dry, Mark screwed/bolted all the letters together and placed rigging hardware in the appropriate spots. When they made the POLAR SEALS sign, Mark wanted to isolate the POLAR panel and the logo panel, so that was done with some black fabric and individual LED bars for those panels.

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One response to Pixel Words

  1. Vaughn VanSkiver February 27, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Great look. Love the use of the luan and diffusion material. Great job.

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