Marquee letters have become a big thing in the home decor world over the last year. They make a great visual impact in a room, but can be pretty pricey to get the look you want. Luckily, there’s an easy DIY way get the same thing for a fraction of the price!
This idea came about when my friend told me she was cutting the top of some papier-mache letters to paint and place in her kid’s room. It blew my mind that they were hollow…I never thought of that! (I know, I know…here’s my sign…)
First you’ll need a few supplies…
- Papier-mache letters (I used the 8″)
- Paint in your preferred color(s)
- Foam paint brush
- A string of Christmas lights (100 count strands are great for most words)
- Xacto knife
- Pen or Phillips head screw driver
First you’re going to take your Xacto knife and you’re going to carefully cut the front face of the letter off. If you look closely, you can see where the border of the letter is and start cutting just to the inside.
Once you’ve managed to cut off the front, you’ll find little squiggly bits of cardboard inside go ahead and remove those. You’ll want to trim and little bits or jagged edges you may have missed.
Now bust out your paintbrush and paint. For my “Boo” I went with a plain acrylic purple. Since Christmas sparkles and shines, I chose a metallic acrylic paint for “Cheer”! Paint the inside of the letters and the outside. If you get a little crazy like I did, you can paint the backs too. It will probably take two coats of paint to get everything covered and have no brown paper peeking through.
Once your letters all painted up and dry it’s time to poke the holes for your lights! To start turn your letters over and mark out where you want to put your lights. This will help you space them out instead of trying to do it as you go. For the 8″ letters, I find 5 lights vertically and 4 lights horizontally fit pretty well. Once your spacing is marked out take your pen or screw driver and start trying to push it through the cardboard. Be careful while doing this if you place too much pressure on your letter you’ll create a hole that’s too big. That’s why it looks like one of the Os in “Boo” is missing a light. It keeps falling out of the ginormous hole I poked!
Once all of your holes are poked, you can start placing your lights in the holes. They should fit snuggly. You may have to play with the lights a little so that you can get the cord to be at the bottom of each letter before you move on to the next letter. I like to leave a few lights between my letters so I have some space to move them around.
Now that your work is done, plug in that bad boy and enjoy your handiwork! The weight of the lights will make it hard to get your letters to stand up instead of fall backwards. I try to incorporate something else in my decorations to help keep the letters upright.