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You can make your own neon sign at this Brooklyn workshop

Annalise Mantz

Between open signs, advertisements for beer brands and theatre marquees, neon literally lights up our lives. You can find neon signs almost everywhere you look in NYC—even in your own apartment, if you take this class at Brooklyn Glass.

Kody Shafer, studio manager at Brooklyn Glass, teaches the hands-on One Day of Neon class ($250 per person). And we mean really hands-on: After a brief introduction, students get right to work melting and bending glass tubes over an open flame. By the end of class, you’ll have a one-of-a-kind piece of neon artwork to take home.

“It’s all made by hand,” Shafer says. “There’s no machines that can do this work. The methods really haven’t changed in the past 100 years.”

Yep—that means everything from the sign in the pawn shop down the street to the Instagrammable neon in trendy bars was handcrafted by a neon expert. It’s even more impressive after you try bending melted glass into a right angle.

In the one-day workshop, students will practice making an abstract piece of neon art to learn the basics of working with glass, electricity and neon and other gases. The two-day Intro to Neon: Weekend Intensive ($500 per person) is a little more in-depth, giving students more hands-on experience splicing, bending, attaching electrodes and working with fire. While you probably won’t be able to write your name in neon after just one class, you can always rent studio time at Brooklyn Glass to practice your technique.

Reserve your spot in the next One Day of Neon class here to make your own abstract sign—or “lightning in a tube,” as Shafter calls it. It’s gonna be lit.

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