Fake WiFi Sign

Much of my family belongs to a group that celebrates our German heritage and there’s a clubhouse on a lake that they spend time at during the summer. I’ve spent time there as well, starting when I was a child, and the place has the most basic amenities you need, but nothing fancy… there’s no TV or big stereo system, no video games or pinball… there’s not even an Internet connection, and most of all, there’s no WiFi. When you’re there it’s more about spending time with family and friends, being outdoors, on the lake, enjoying some downtime “off the grid” as it were.

So my cousin told me he wanted a (fake) sign to put on the wall advertising a non-existent WiFi network to trick people into trying to connect to it. I’m guessing he wanted to see the youth get excited and then frustrated, which is always a fun pastime for older people…

I liked his idea enough to kick out a quick design in Inkscape, load the SVG into LightBurn, and toss some 1/4″ Baltic Birch into the laser cutter to make one for him. I chose a Germanic looking font and the word “Gem├╝tlichkeit” which is a German word used to convey the idea of a state or feeling of warmth, friendliness, and good cheer. Which is great for a fake WiFi network password aimed at tricking people. It’s even got umlauts! Who chooses a WiFi password with umlauts in it!?

When I heard my cousin was moving out of state for a new job I decided I had to make two signs, one for the clubhouse and one he could take with him to his new home. I used two different techniques as well. The first was simple etched wood that I then sanded and covered with polyurethane, and the second was etched, then spray painted white for the etched letters, then rolled with black ink on the top surface, and finally covered with polyurethane.

I used enough polyurethane on the black and white version to pretty much fill in the etched part so it (almost) matches the top surface of the black part. Since I used oil-based polyurethane it also took on a yellowy tint, which I think worked well because it makes it look like other things on the wall which have probably been there for the last fifty years. I mean, what’s better than a really old looking fake WiFi sign for 2020?