DIY Lighted Marquee Sign

July 6, 2015

I saw all kinds of marquee signs on sites like Pintrest. I saw a couple good tutorials for how to make them but having a Dad that does woodworking came in very handy and we came up with our own way to make a custom sign of my (soon to be at the time) new last name.

Marquee Sign

This is how we made our custom wedding marquee sign. I am sure there are other ways to do it. In fact I know there are because I saw them on other blogs. Everything we made during the wedding was a lot of trial and error. I wanted to share the successes with the world so maybe some other brides and grooms can avoid the trial and error process and save some stress. Please let me know in the comments if you improve upon our process!

Items Needed:

    • Plywood- 3/4 "
    •Particle board 1/8"
    •Big head nails
    •Poster board
    • Hot glue sticks
    • Paint and Primer
    • Globe lights (we used these)

Tools needed:

    • Jigsaw
    • Clamps
    • Hammer
    • Glue gun
    • Photoshop or other software such as Paint

How to:

Step 1:

Pick a font and decide how big you want your letters to be. You will want to pick a font that has a bold option. The wider sans serif fonts are preferable. I honestly cannot remember the specific name of the font I used but you can see that I chose a wide bold sans serif font. Once you decide what size you want your letters to be create your Photoshop (or whatever program you decide to use) file. I wanted mine to be about 2ft by 2ft so I started out with a 24"x24" file:


Of course depending on what letters you are using if you don't want them to look skewed they won't all be exactly the same size. For example my letter C turned out to be 16" x 22".

Step 2:

Print out your letters. Unless you have an industrial printer or want to spring to have it printed the easiest way is to break it down to print on 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper. My breakdowns looked something like this:


Step 3:

Tape your letters back together and cut them out.

Step 4:

Trace your letters onto plywood
*If you are really confident in your free hand drawing skills you could just draw right on the boards and skip steps 1-4 (besides deciding what size you want your letters to be)

Step 5:

Cut them out with a jigsaw and drill holes for your lights. This is where I can't really help because the size of your holes and the spacing will depend on the lights you buy. You can see here how we spaced out our letter O.
Cut out

Step 6:

This is the trickiest part. I am sorry I don't have pictures of this stage. First we tried wood glue and clamps and that wasn't strong enough to hold. Then we tried a nail gun and those nails weren't strong enough to hold. I am telling you our failures so you can avoid them too. Finally we realized we needed to bend and clamp the particle board around the letters and hammer it onto the base letters with big head nails. This step definitely takes 2 people to help bend and clamp.

Step 6 and a half:

If you have letters like our R and O for the insides particle board won't bend at those angles so we used poster board and a hot glue gun. You may also need to use an x-acto knife to trim the top of the inside poster board to match the height of the outsides of your letters. (I did) You can see below what our R looked like put together before it was sprayed.

Step 7:

Now the fun part. Spraying! You will want to do this in a well ventilated area. I went outside and put down a paint tarp in the grass. Because I wanted to use gold for my final letters and the particle board was darker than the plywood I decided I needed to prime them first. I used Krylon Primer that I bought at Michaels craft store. I used 2 coats of primer.

Step 8:

"All that glitters is gold" Is that the saying? Anyway, for my letters I choose Krylon Metallic Gold Spray Paint Oh! One thing I see in the picture below I forgot to mention is for rounded letters like the O we needed to bend 2 pieces of particle board together so we wrapped the seams with electrical tape. It took 2 coats and some touch ups for my gold paint.
sprayed gold

Step 9:

Put in the light bulbs. We put the base of the lights up in through the back and screwed the bulbs in from the front. I think all in all we connected 6 packs of lights to finish ours. Then the best part... light it up! We tested our letter E before hooking them all together.
lit up

Step 10:

Enjoy it! Ours all put together was 14 feet long and a focal point at our wedding.

Hope this helps someone! Leave any comments or questions below!

Comment Box is loading comments...