I’ve cut myself a piece of steel for the sign and managed to get it completed to the point where I can attach the EL wire.
I first grabbed two washers, bent them slightly and welded them to the steel. Once complete these can be used to tie of the hanging wire on the back.
I then used a grinder to remove light surface rust and to give the steel an industrial “brushed” look.
I sprayed the steel with 4 coats of clear coat. It’s a top coat suitable for car body work and seems to stick to the steel well.
In what I personally believe was a stroke of genius, I found that if I pressed hard and drew over my design on paper with a ball point pen, the design would slightly scratch the varnish, effectively transferring the design onto the steel.
I then drilled a couple of dozen 3mm holes with a drill press, sprayed another clear coat onto the steel and it was ready for the EL wire to be attached.
Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos in between, but here’s a picture of the steel, ready for the EL wire to be attached.
If you look closely, you can see the design “scratched” into the clear coat.