This article contains a lot of back story, planning and thinking than a typical DIY article might. It’s as much about my process as it is about my steps. I hope you are able to find it enjoyable or helpful.
When I got It (The Idea)
With the advent of Portal 2 I found all kinds of links (re)-surfacing with Portal creations. Lego Aperture Science Sentry Turret, the Aperture Dual Portal Device, ThinkGeek Portal Shirts.
Somewhere along the line, my brother mentioned that I should make a Aperture Science Test Chamber Information Sign. I did a few initial searches online and only discovered one person who had done anything similar. He just modified the sign from the game and had it printed on an extremely large canvas. So I decided to make one that lit up.
The first thing I did was fire up Portal 2 to find a sign. (I don’t know why I didn’t do Portal 1, it would have been quite a bit easier to find.) I ended up with this screenshot.
From the tiles on the wall I originally concluded that the signs were 3 feet wide by 6 feet tall. Later I decided that the wall tiles are probably not 1 foot square, and the total height is probably 8 feet, which would mean it is 4 feet wide. The important thing is that the sign is 2 times taller than it is wide.
I decided that 2 feet by 4 feet would be an acceptable size to work with. Not too large for a wall hanging, but not so small that you couldn’t see any of the details.
Plan and Sketches
Using a my screenshot and another from a Google image search, I made a sketch of of the sign in my notebook. (My original screenshot had a sign size of just over 9 cm, so I drew the sign to centimeter scale in my notebook. When designing logos for the sign I usually stayed in centimeters, rounding up or down when convenient. A few measurements went from exact centimeters to rounded centimeters to rounded inches for their final placement. You can’t tell.)
For those interested in the math… My sketch is 9 cm, actual glass is 2 ft, or 24 inches, also known as 60.96 cm, rounded up to 61 cm. Each centimeter in my sketch accounted for 6.77 actual centimeters, or 2.66 inches.