DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Today is the post you’ve been waiting for! Well, really it’s actually the post I’ve been making myself wait to share with you all! The colors in this playroom make me so happy!

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

If you saw June’s playroom reveal (see it here), then you know that this make over only cost me $55 total. You aren’t going to believe how cheap this amazing wall statement costs (See the very bottom of this post for the cost breakdown and sources.)

I like doing things from total scratch (no pre-made letters here!) Not only is it way cheaper, but because you can totally customize it, I think that it can be way cuter too.

Want to see the how to? Read on!

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

First I created the text I wanted in the size and font I wanted in photoshop. (They font I used can be found for free download here) I made the J to be about 22″ tall, and the other letters are about 12″ tall.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Now you need to create your text template to trace out onto your cardboard. Since I needed a “larger than standard size printer” for these letters, I took a little shortcut and traced them on my laptop screen (call me brilliant or stupid… either one works! :P)

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

I had to piece them all together like a puzzle.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Then I cut them out and taped them together. Don’t you see the potential? Haha… not looking so great… yet.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Then I traced those letters from my template onto large pieces of cardboard & cut them out.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

I used an x-acto knife for the curves and hard to cut spots.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Am I the only person who gets hand cramps just thinking about cutting cardboard?

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

I laid my lovely letters on top of the fronts of my scrapbook paper. I shuffled them around a bit to decide which colors to use for each letter. Since my letters were so large, I had to use multiple sheets for several of the letters.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Now we get to cut the scrapbook paper to fit our letters…

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Place the scrapbook paper with the front facing. Lay your letter down with the front facing the table. Glue your letter onto the paper.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Now that your letter is glued onto the paper you can flip it over and cut out the letter.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Like I said earlier, if your letters are larger than the standard paper size, you may need to patch up the places you ran out of paper.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Pretty easy.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

One Tip: When cutting, try to leave a little bit of an edge, it will help make your letters look seamless when we add the strips for mounting.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Repeat the above steps until all your letters are colorful! 🙂

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Next, take a white poster board, you know the type from Walmart that are only like 30 cents and are like 22 x 28 inches? Cut that poster into long strips about an inch wide. Make sure your strips are cut even and all the same width.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

If the letters you are covering have lots of curves, give them a bit of curl by winding around your hand.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Glue your strip all along the edges of your letters. I just ran the glue gun all the way along the strip, making sure that it was secure.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Let the strips of paper wrap around & curve with the letter.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Remember that edge I told you to leave when cutting the scrapbook paper around the cardboard letter? When you’re adding the strips make sure it covers the cardboard edge completely. But make also make sure that the scrapbook paper overlaps the edge of the white paper strips. This insures that there are no gaps & makes it look seamless.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

You may need use several strips of poster board per letter, but that’s okay, you won’t really notice it. Just try to plan out where they will start & stop so you can minimize it being on a main sight line.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Now for the lights…. I bought mine here. I picked them because they have a flat bulb head (and don’t look like cheap christmas lights) and a clear wire, which minimizes it sticking out too much. They were a 100 bulb strand, and I only used one.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

I ripped up little pieces of paper to help me with placement for the lights before I punched any holes. I didn’t want to end up with too may holes and not enough lights, or vice versa. Once I had the placement right on all the letters, I marked them with a pencil.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

To make the holes, I made an x shaped puncture with my x-acto knife…

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Then I evened it out into the nice round circle size I needed by twirling a pencil in those holes.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Now you are ready to insert your lights!

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Make sure to start the beginning of your strand with the first letter and then go letter to letter.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

My lights aren’t battery operated (which would be an awesome way to do this by the way!) so they not only had a cord with a plug, but they also had a box to change the blinking settings. I decided to hide the box in the last letter, E, as it would fit better than in the J.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

As a renter, I wanted to minimize holes in the wall, and since these letters are pretty light weight, I just hung them by securing them with sewing pins. Super simple & the sewing pins are so much longer than thumbtacks, so it worked perfectly.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Once they are all hung up, tuck in all the wires peaking out (and any bulbs that may be loose!)

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Super cute? I think so! I love how it matches the bunting flag banner I made. It’s adorable even without the lights on.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

The cords going from letter to letter aren’t even very noticeable either.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Seriously one of the best 3 hours I’ve spent crafting!

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

I love how it has different blinking patterns.

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

Total Cost 7.64

$0.30 White Poster Board (Walmart)

$2.64 Scrapbook Saper (8 pages at 1 for 33 cents at Joanns)

$5.00 Lights (found on Amazon, Here I only used one strand, and it had 100 lights on it) Seven Bucks is awesome! I didn’t have to pay for pre-made individual letters or expensive globe bulbs- but I love the result so much more because it’s totally customized in the font, color, wording, and size I want!

Make sure to check out all the other posts in this series!

UPDATE: Here is June’s Marquee in her new room on top of her DIY Pallet Dresser (tutorial HERE!)

DIY Marquee Light {and how to make it in your own Custom Font!}

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  1. Angie says:

    I've been waiting for you to post this! It looks fabulous! Did you only need one string of the lights for the whole name? I can't decide if I want to do this for my four month old son Finn or my third grade classroom at school. Hmm.

    • Hi Angie!
      Yes I just used one strand (100 lights) I debated using more, but after playing around with the placement, I decided 100 was plenty.

      My vote is to do both! Haha! Would love to hear how yours turns out! Have fun! 🙂

      <3 Hannah

  2. amy says:

    This is honestly the coolest DIY I've seen in a while! I'm so in love. Your blog is totally adorable and I'm going to start following you as soon as I post this comment! Thanks for sharing with us.

    Amy @ http://www.delineateyourdwelling.com

  3. This is amazing!! Definitely got my wheels turning on where I could put one in my house!! Lol! 🙂

    Would love it if you linked up: http://theculturedcavewoman.com/2013/09/27/simplified-saturdays-1/

    Have a great weekend! 🙂

  4. Mama Tully says:

    This is just the cutest project EVER! I have 3 kids….I want to make one for all of them, haha!!!

  5. Mindi Carwin says:

    Okay, I am totally following you now, you are so creative! I love how cheaply you made these, they are totally adorable!

  6. Sandrine says:

    Fantastic!!! And I know how these "look so easy" projects go…They take hours to make so kuddos to you and thank you so much for sharing. Quick question: I wanted to take a look at the room reveal and maybe share it on my blog (twiggyandlou.blogspot.com) but when I click on the link, it sends me to Pinterest. Is there another way to see the entire room? Thank you and again…Bravo!!!

  7. JM Aldred says:

    very nice, I think I can use this idea at the lake house..

  8. Love this! (And not just because my daughter's name is June too.) Definitely pinning for later! 🙂

  9. inmyc says:

    I want to thank you for the idea and the tutorial and the whole inspiration! We finally did it! We gathered a few friends on Saturday and made our own marquee letter (and not only) lights. You can check our results here: http://bit.ly/1aXAjE7

  10. Anonymous says:

    This DIY project is SO neat! All of your ideas and projects are always amazing and easy to follow! I look forward to seeing new tutorials you plan on posting!

  11. I love this – so cute! How did you post the blinking picture here? It looks like a video, but it is not. Great project!

  12. Hannah says:

    Thanks! I made an animation in photoshop image ready to get the lights to blink- just a fun photoshop trick. 🙂

  13. Dennise says:

    Love this you did a great job, and great job on the tutorial as well. I know posting every single detail can get tedious. I am sure June loves it!

    • Hannah says:

      Thank you Dennise, sometimes it's so relaxing to be able to craft and create without photographing and thinking through all the steps! 😛

      But I had a blast doing this one!

      Have a wonderful day! <3

  14. Ron O Rourke says:

    Hey, loving your blog all signed up and ready to go 😉 been looking for a way to make the old style marquee lights and you my dear are a super star 😉

  15. Anonymous says:

    OK, so yeah…that is really cool. Great job.

  16. annamnt says:

    I'd call you brilliant ! Great tutorial ! I might use a wooden board instead of cardboard for cutting the letters.

  17. Hi , Is my first time for here . It's so beautiful. Great creative Job.
    Sorry for my English , I'm Spanish .
    Bye

  18. Jasmine says:

    Hi! Just wondering whether the lights u bought white or warm white?
    By the way, great work there! Thanks for sharing this wonderful tutorial ^^

  19. JDzJane says:

    I just wanted to say that your sign is ADORABLE and I love the way you did it – no fancy tools. It makes me feel like I can actually do it. Thanks, you are an inspiration. And you have a beautiful family

  20. StephTow says:

    This is amazing! And cheap! And awesome! And cheap! Did I mention I like the inexpensiveness of it??? 🙂 Great instructions, I can't wait to do this for my rock star daughter's bedroom! Thank you so much!

  21. Seriously. You are brilliant. LOVE.

  22. Anonymous says:

    How did you get your letters to be so large? I tried using Microsoft word but they aren't as large as yours.

  23. This is awesome, you were wondering if it was genius or stupid copying the letters from the computer screen?…..I call it AWESOMNESS!!! love how you find the way to make it easy to get it done. this proyect is great

  24. Jessica says:

    Okay im in love with this!!!! i love the light up marquee look but am afraid of the light-up marquee price! one question though (coming from someone who is a little too paranoid), does the heat on the cardboard not pose a fire hazard? I LOVE YOUR BLOG! I AM OFFICIALLY A FOLLOWER 😛

  25. Becky Clegg says:

    I have to say I love your ability to do something darling without all the expensive machines and products required by so many projects! And your idea is purely creative. I'm so impressed. THank you for this tutorial, it's beautiful and I love that it's portable/renters can use it! BRILLIANT!

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