ON AIR sign: a tutorial

ON AIR lamp lit up

I came across this SMYG lamp on my most recent foray to IKEA and I gots me an idea. I do love an IKEA lamp hack. Here’s my last one.

I initially bought it with the idea of personalising it for my niece’s birthday but then she’s in the US and this sucker is a bit heavy to post overseas. Not to mention the whole plug conversion pain in the arseyness. It’s a word. You know it is.

So I had a little ponder about things that light up and as I’ve always loved old-fashioned ON AIR signs thought I’d have a crack at that.

ON AIR lamp 2

What you need:

IKEA SMYG lamp. In Australia the product number is: 002.017.77.

Spray paint

Exacto knife or paper scalpel of some description

A bit o’ tape.

What to do.

1. Print your stencil then carefully cut it out using your exacto knife. Go slowly. I give you that advice from bitter experience.

I originally wanted to use Helvetica as my font but the capital “R” was not right. So I ended up using Arial Bold printed at 120 points. I like its simple, utilitarian look.

TIP: Don’t forget to save your in-between-y bits like the centre of the “O”, “A” and “R”.

2. Unscrew the plastic panel from your lamp.

3. Cut your stencil down to a size that will fit nicely on the panel and then tape it on.

ON AIR stencil on plastic panel

Initially I has thought to use double sided tape around each letter to get it to really sit flush against the plastic. But I gave up on that idea as too much like hard work and just used double sided tape for the centre bits of the “O” etc. So just really nestle your paper on down as close to the plastic as you can and tape the sides on like this:

ON AIR stencil taped to panel

If some bits of the stencil are clearly sitting up a bit from the stencil, you can use little bits of double sided tape here and there to get any recalcitrant sticky-uppy bits sitting really  flat.

4. Tape a plastic bag around the rest of the plastic panel so you don’t get any paint on it.

ON AIR stencil ready to be sprayed

5. Spray your plastic panel. With spray paint. What are you? A wild cat?

Because I’m impatient, I gave mine two coats of White Knight Quick Dry Gloss Enamel in Royal Blue. If you’re more patient that I, three or even four coats would give a really solid look.

6. Allow to dry. If you have had some leakage out the sides of your stencil, you can use a cotton tip dipped lightly (don’t soak it) in nail polish remover to carefully clean those up. I didn’t have any leakage (on my stencil – just so we’re clear) , but there was some slight fuzziness around a couple of edges that messed with my perfectionist tendencies. I did some really minor cotton tip work.

ON AIR lamp close up

7. Plug it in, light it up and pretend you’re Daddy Warbucks sending out a message to Annie’s real parents.

You can rotate the angle of the lamp. Like so many IKEA products, it’s a clever little piece of design.

ON AIR lamp

It’s also designed to be hung on the wall. Which I think I’ll do but haven’t decided quite where yet.

Other ideas: personalise with a name; make one as  nightlight for a baby or toddler’s room and stencil “SLEEP” on it. When it’s on, the kid knows what it says and to stay the dickens in bed. We could have used one of those.

Either way, I think if you have a go I think you’ll feel pretty smyg about the results. Annoyingly smyg.

IKEA Smyg lamp

Image source: ikea.com.au