My 3 Monsters: DIY Marquee Letters

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DIY Marquee Letters

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DIY Marquee Letters at /
Well, friends, we survived the Triple Sweet Sixteen party last night!  It was super fun, but I'm glad we have a couple of years before we have to do it again.  We feel so blessed that Sydney has such great friends in her life -- that's reason enough to celebrate every single day.  We decided, almost on a whim, to make these lighted marquee letters I've been eyeing on Pinterest for each of the birthday kids and I'm so glad we did!  They looked awesome lit up in the back yard as the kids watched a movie under the stars.  Sis loved hers so much, she's planning on hanging it in her bedroom now.  

I've seen these marquee letters all over the internet and have ALWAYS wanted to try making them.  I think they're such a cool, vintage industrial accent to add to any space.  I had planned to make my boys' initials for their room when we got around to fixing it up, and I probably still will.  I really love how these turned out.  There are a million tutorials out there for making these letters, so I won't try to reinvent the wheel here.  To see basically how these are made, read this tutorial over at Lolly Jane.  {Their projects always turn out so cute!}  

DIY Marquee Letters at /
I wanted to have a rustic look, so I wasn't super careful when I painted my letters.  You can still see the brown cardboard peeking through, which I love.  When the paint was dry, I took some sandpaper and roughed up the edges as well.  

After Christmas last year I had picked up several strings of these tiny globe lights on clearance so we decided to use them for this.  There were 50 lights per string so I tried to make sure that each letter would only take one string.  It worked out just about perfect to have 50 bulbs per letter.

When the paint was dry, I used a 3/8" drill bit to drill holes for my lights.  I placed the letter face down and drilled my holes through from the back about 1 1/4" apart.  You can see the rough edges around the light sockets, but you really don't notice it at all when the bulbs are lit.  You could sand those edges or clean them up with an exacto knife before inserting the lights if it bothers you.

Remove the light bulbs from your string of lights and insert the sockets through the holes from the back side, then flip the letter over and replace the bulbs.  Plug it in at this point to make sure everything still lights up.

DIY Marquee Letters at /
Unplug the lights and place the letter face down on your table.  Working one or two at a time, gently pull each light socket upward so that the bulb is snug against the cardboard on the face of the letter and place a little hot glue to hold it in that position, as shown below.

DIY Marquee Letters at /
This will keep all the light bulbs straight and even on the front side of the letter and make it look better.  That's really all there is to it!  Hang it up, plug it in, and ooh and ahh at how cool it looks.  Here it is in the afternoon:

DIY Marquee Letters at /
And then after it got dark:

DIY Marquee Letters at /
Removing the face of the letter takes away some of it's stability.  You can see here how the curvy letters were a little distorted when they were hanging and swaying in the breeze.  It wasn't really a problem, just something to be aware of so you're not surprised.  When I hang it in Sis's room, I'll add a couple extra small nails to help it keep it's shape better.  

All in all, I think we spent a little less than an hour on each letter.  Not too bad for such a high-impact project.

Have a great day!


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