A few weeks ago someone approached me about building a marquee sign for their show.
The stage was 32 feet wide, 12 feet deep and they wanted the letters to be about 2 feet tall.

Don’t worry, I said no.

That’s a pretty monstrous project for never having created a marquee sign before – but it reminded me of one I’d seen on another blog a year or so ago…. so I decided to give a mini-version of it a try.

My Step-Dad handled all of the wood cutting and drilling for this – so I actually got off pretty easy in terms of the workload.

First off, you need to create your letters:  I printed mine to be 9″ (23cm) tall and 1.5″ (3.8cm) wide in each straight section (so each straight line of the M was that wide)
You need them to be fairly wide so that you can fit the lightbulbs within them.
Print them out and then cut – these are going to be your stencils.

I bought this glitter foam (with an adhesive backing) at Michael’s.
Flip it over and trace your letters BACKWARDS onto it.  (that way when you flip it over to the sparkly side the letters will be facing the right direction).

Cut them out and determine your spacing.

I decided I wanted about a 3″ edge all the way around the outside of the sign.

My Step-Dad cut the board to size for me and added 1″x2″s as a framework all around the back.

I’m not sure what this board is called, but you can find it in the pegboard section of your Home Depot or building centre and it comes already laminated in white.

I used the paper you see in the bottom of the photo to make sure my letters were inset from the edges equally.
I just peeled off the adhesive backing and stuck them in place.


 My Step-Dad came up with this brilliant “jig”.  It’s just a metal band that he screwed to a piece of wood so that all the drill holes would be spaced perfectly.

Did I tell you he’s a genius?

I was a bit nervous that the drilling would tear up the foam letters, but it turned out absolutely perfectly!  (Thank you Papa!)

This is the tedious part – and before you begin MAKE SURE YOU HAVE MORE THAN ENOUGH LIGHTS!

With the wall plug section at the bottom corner, one by one push a light through each hole.
The wires will tangle and the lights will pop out and the back of the board will look like a hot mess when you’re done…

but it will be worth the work in the end.
Duct tape helped hold them in place.

I ran out of lights about 22 holes short of completion.
When I went back to the store to buy more – they had sold out of the kind I was using – UGH!
I had to buy a different kind of light to finish the board off, and while it’s not dramatically noticeable, I see it and it bugs me.
(I mention it to save you from learning the hard way too)

Another tip – buy indoor lights.  The outdoor ones have wires that are stiff and difficult to bend and manoeuvre.  It wasn’t until I had to come up with an alternate set that I noticed how much easier the indoor ones are to manipulate.

 Kind of cute right?
Christmas marquee, DIY marquee sign, Merry and bright marquee

I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

For the original tutorial that this idea stemmed from, click here.



Have a great one!

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Between Naps on the Porch