Upcycle Progress: Googie Sign

My Upcycle Project is creating a metal sign out of used soda cans in the Googie/Space Age aesthetic. I have started to collect cans and cutting out templates to use in my design. The shape of the sign itself includes a rocket with a trail, this part of the design is influenced by an Oldmobile sign I found online. I am also including a starburst shape in my design, I chose to attempt to replicate the starburst on the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.


[1][2] The real world signs I took inspiration from as wellas some of my preliminary sketches

This week I began fabrication of the starburst. I dimensioned and cut the template out of cardboard before I traced it onto a sheet of aluminum I had from a pervious project. I used tin snips to cut out this starburst and started comparing it with one of the flattened soda cans I’ve collected.

Here is my step-by-step from cardboard to aluminum. The final starburst is just about the width of a soda can, so they should be an easy next step to rivet on.

The starburst ended up very sharp after first cutting so I filed down the edges. This is a similar process that I will next repeat with the rocket design and trail. After that I will flatten some soda cans, drill a hole through them, and use some leftover rivets I have to connect the cans with the template. I began working on an electrical component for my design as well. From my freshman projects class I have an Arduino kit with lots of LED bulbs. I am going to fasten these bulbs across the rockets tail and attempt to program a “crawling” effect or other patterns to add another element to my design. While digging through my room for tools I also came across some fairy lights that I may put on the back of the sign to give it more depth.

The electronic components I am looking to implement.

This has been a busy week for me and I was not able to put in as much time as I would have liked. My goal is to finish the metal fabrication component of the sign over this weekend. I also have not decided on how I am going to hang this sign yet, currently I am thinking of command strips to make it easier to attach to the wall. Then the rest of this time will go towards setting up electronics, code, and dealing with all the issues that come up in the fabrication process.


Image Credit:

[1] Credit to Ben Faltinowski. https://greatgalacticspacegimmick.com/2017/06/05/the-space-age-craze-coming-soon-a-space-themed-business-sign-gallery/

[2] “Welcome to Vegas” by User Pcb21, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Welcome_to_vegas.jpg

Any other works and images are my own.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Jonathon Gruener
    March 3, 2024 10:44 pm

    Hi Brandon. Great to see how far you have already gotten on this project. How are you planning on securing the LEDs to the aluminum sign?

  • Brandon,
    Awesome to here to progress of your project. I believe you are in a good spot with your project. Hopefully the coding goes well. Where do you plan on putting this sign?


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