The best thing about living in Seoul is the plethora of unique things to do throughout the city. I recently took part in a neon sign-making one day class, something I didn’t even know existed! Here’s how you can make your own neon sign at SMOO:D, Seoul.
One Day Class
One day classes are very popular with both locals and travellers, offering a unique opportunity to learn something new or make the perfect souvenir/gift. From painting and jewellery-crafting to learning how to brew coffee, there are endless possibilities.
Step 1: Choose a Design
When you arrive to the class, the host will present you with a huge book of designs to chose from. Additionally, many designs specify 1-2 colours to make with, however, if you want more colours or to make changes, there is just a 5,000 won fee.
Step 2: Choose your Colours and Canvas
Once you’ve chosen your design, its time to pick which colours to use as well as the backing canvas. While black metal and glass make a cool, sleek canvas, the wires will be visible…and a bit of an eyesore. I went for a white canvas to hide the wires, what’s more, you can rest assured that white backdrop will go well with any colour you choose.
As for colours, there is a rainbow of options. However, it’s worth noting that the thickness of the sign will depend on the design you choose. If you’re feeling stuck, the host can help you select a colour and other components.
Step 3: Trace your Design
The next step is to sketch the design onto your canvas. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an artist, the host will provide you with tracing paper so you can draw the design with precision. Once you’ve finished drawing, it’s time to wrap and secure the neon wires.
It is worth thinking carefully ahead of choosing a design, as some are more difficult than others. If you’re unsure in your abilities, choose a simple line design to guarantee a beautiful result. Alternatively, if you’re up to the artistic challenge, go for a more complex design! Just remember, the class is an hour long and you should complete your neon sign during that time.
If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to ask for help. The host is really kind and if you’re running out of time towards the end, they will help you finish it.
Step 4: Make the Neon Sign
Unless you make neon signs for a living, you’ll probably find this next part tricky. The host will assist each person in how to set up and wrap the wire, as one side is luminated, while the other is dull. You must sew the wire to the canvas by making small holes, using super glue to secure it together. Just be careful not to glue your fingers to the canvas!
I chose a relatively simply design but this final part was very technical and needed a great deal of concentration. Nonetheless, I was so happy I did it, if not for the sense of accomplishment at the end!
Step 5: Light up your Masterpiece!
Voila! Your masterpiece is complete. The host will turn off the lights so you can snap some magical photos of your creation. After that, its time to take it home and decide where to display it!
One day classes are such a rewarding experience and a wonderful opportunity to try something new. The make your own neon sign class was more difficult than any other workshops I’ve done in Seoul but wow… I adored my sign at the end! I recommend it to anyone with nimble fingers or fancies an artistic challenge! My room has never looked prettier.
You can book the class easily via the SMOO:D website. Simply select a location (Gangnam or Hongdae), add the class to your online shopping cart and choose a date/time during checkout. The only issue with this method is that the website is in Korean, but it should be easy to navigate with a browser translate function.
Typically the class costs 40,000 won for 1 person, but SMOO:D regularly run events and promotions, during which you can take the class at a discounted price. What’s more, you can get group discount rates if you come with 4 < people.
I actually booked my class via Trazy, which at the time was cheaper than booking through the SMOO:D website. However, the Trazy calendar is not in sync with that of SMOO:D and you should refer to the store information before booking.
On Trazy, you can select a location and then choose whether to make a sign with 1 or 2 colours, which costs 29,900 and 34,900 won, respectively. As I mentioned earlier, if you initially choose 1 colour but change your mind later, you can pay the fee at the class. Once booked, you will receive a confirmation email that you can present to the host on the day of the class.
SMOO:D Hongdae Address: 1013-ho Hyosung Hongik Officetel, 183 Yanghwa-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul Operating Hours: 1:30pm - 9:00pm weekdays, 11:00am - 8:00pm weekends Directions: Hongdae University Station (Subway Line 2, Gyeongui Jungang Line, Airport Railroad) Exit 3. SMOO:D is inside the building directly adjacent to the subway exit, with an Olive Young and CU on the ground floor.
SMOO:D Gangnam Address: 1501-ho Hyundai Girim Officetel, 42 Seochodae-ro 78-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul Operating Hours: 1:30pm - 9:00pm weekdays, 11:00am - 6:30pm weekends Directions: Gangnam Station (Subway Line 2, Sinbundang Line) Exit 5. Walk straight and take the first left. Turn left again and SMOO:D is inside the building to the left of the GS25.