Make: DIY marquee letters

Marquee letters 1  Really Pretty Useful
Marquee letters 1 Really Pretty Useful

Marquee letters are everywhere this Christmas - almost every press show had some somewhere. And I used to love them - until I made some myself. They're not particularly difficult, just really fiddly.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I like full disclosure, if I think something is too much of a faff or doesn't quite work out as I'd have liked then I'll tell you. And this was both. Put it this way I usually make a craft project I want to share with you once to check I've got the steps right and to work out if what I have in my head is actually achievable. Then I make it again for step by step pics. But there was NO WAY I was making another one of these, I am not patient enough.

Have I put you off yet? No? Ok here is my wordy and non-pictury step by step for you - with the pitfalls worked in.

Marquee letters 2  Really Pretty Useful
Marquee letters 2 Really Pretty Useful

You will need

3D cardboard letters that spell out your chosen word (go short people) A string of battery powered LED fairy lights (As a guide my string has 96 lights on - how long yours will be depends on the length of your word.) A craft knife and cutting mat Cardboard Prit Stik Ruler A mini screw driver (it should be a similar diameter to your lights) A lump of play dough or plastercine Spray paint (I got mine here)


Slice off the back of your cardboard letters with your craft knife and take out the innards to leave you with a recessed letter.

Use the pencil and a ruler to mark out where your lights will go. Try to evenly space them, always starting at the same point from the bottom of your letter so the lights line up as far as possible along your word.

With lump of plastercine in the recess of each letter to protect your fingers, use a screwdriver to punch holes through the letter for each light.

Now you could spray paint it now and just poke your lights into the recess of the letter to give you that marquee look. But I wanted to hide the cable of my lights in the recess, so I decided to put a card border around each letter.

I cut 4cm wide strips of card and stuck them around the letters. I just used a prit stik because the glue gun was just a whole heap of mess.

Next spray paint your letters with an enamel spray. I would like to confess here that my spray painting skills leave much to be desired - but hey I can work on that. Do several light coats. Don't be afraid if your cardboard looks a touch wrinkly at the edges because it will straighten as it dries.

Once it dries you can add your lights. This is the bit that made me want to scream. Getting the flippin (I used stronger language) lights into the holes and keeping them there while you poke all the others through would test the patiences of the very saintliest saint! They kept popping back out or going too far through. Hence you only have two pictures because I don't dare move them again in  case the lights popped out.

So in short, if you've been planning to make your own marquee letters, I wouldn't bother. Just save up and buy some, or let the trend die away without ever have joined in.


Now to raise all our spirits - let's remember a craft project that worked and have a look at my wee boys and me (with still wet just-had-a-shower hair, sorry), seeing our advent tree for the first time - they were excited and I was so chuffed.

Advent tree  Really pretty useful
Advent tree Really pretty useful
Advent 2  Really Pretty Useful
Advent 2 Really Pretty Useful

There a happy ending. x