DIY Marquee Letters

When I saw this DIY Marquee Letter Tutorial on ohhappyday.com, I couldn’t wait to try my hand at creating them. My friend is in love with C9 Christmas lights, so I decided that her Birthday would be the perfect opportunity to see what crafty piece I could come up with.

First, I scaled out her initials in Adobe Illustrator so that each letter took up (4) 8.5″ x 11″ pieces of paper. I choose the font Helvetica, but you could really choose any font or even create an icon.

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Initial layout in Illustrator

Next, I printed the letters and scotch taped them onto 1/8″ foam board. This can be found at Hobby Lobby in extra large sheets, or any craft store. I cut each letter out with an Xacto knife and ruler, scoring them until they cut clean. Then I took my string of C9 lights and removed the bulb so that I could trace the hole opening onto the foam board. This will give you the perfect opening to fit your light bulb through.  I evenly spaced the holes apart, making sure to accomodate 25 light bulbs in both letters.

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Materials: 1/8″ foam board, poster board, ruler, cutting board, Xacto (I started with a box cutter, but found the Xacto was better), scotch tape, packaging tape, string lights, spray paint

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Use the socket with a bulb removed as a template for the hole openings. Evenly space them apart by using ruler marks as a guide.

For the rounded 3-D edges, I used regular poster board that I cut into 5.5″ wide strips. Using packaging tape, I inset the letters 2″ into the poster board and carefully taped it to the back of the letters, but first I used scotch tape until I was happy with the placement, then secured everything with packaging tape. Once I was satisfied with the contours, it was time to spray paint. For this project, I picked out “Pimento Red”, a deep orangey-red color, and took the letters to the garage.

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Make sure to spray in even strokes, using light coats until the desired density is achieved.

My project was almost complete at this point! Now all I had to do was place the string of lights and bulbs into the sockets from the back of each letter.

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Place the letters face down and insert the lights sockets, then screw each bulb in from the front to secure the socket in place.

The end result is a festive, fun decor piece! I was really happy with how they turned out and can’t wait to try out other ideas using string lights.

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Fun!

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