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Flashing Lights! How to Make Your Own Vintage Marquee

Did you love our mini marquee sign? Or do you dream of seeing your name in lights? If the answer to either of these is “yes,” then you are going to go bananas over this one that is even bigger and ridiculously easy! This is a modern take on the vintage marquee signs often seen on old movie theaters, circus tens, and sometimes still show up at state fairs. We punched ours up a bit with bold Brit + Co. colors and a time saving hack of using pre-made cardboard letters. 

Materials:
12 inch paper mache letters
– globe string lights (about 10 lights per letter)
– spray paint

Tools:
- hot glue gun
– exacto knife
– cutting board
– masking tape 

Start by using the exacto knife to cut out the top of each letter. We found once you got it started, the top layer just ripped off really easily and cleanly. Remove the top piece and any cardboard supports inside. You can either save this top piece for future projects or recycle it, but we won’t be needing it for this one.

Continue cutting off the top portion for all your letters. Now, since only actual letters are available, we had to get creative to make the signature “+” in our logo. We started by taking the letter “T” and cutting two pieces off the bottom. Next we cut off the tops and then the side on the top. Then, we glued one of the detached bottom pieces to the top. Lastly, we glued a side on the bottom and our adorable little plus sign was done.

Next up, flip your letters upside down and cut x’s where you want bulbs to go. Then punch out the hole using the dull side of your exacto knife. Repeat this with all your letters.

When you’re done with the cutting and punching of holes for the lights, flip the letters back over and you should have something that looks about like this.

Paint time! Head to a rooftop, backyard, or other well-ventilated space to get your spray paint on. We recommend laying a drop cloth or cardboard down to protect your work area. Apply your spray paint in 3 coats to get a nice solid color. Let it dry for 10 minutes between each layer. You might be able to get away with 2 coats, but we’ll leave that up to you.

While the letters are drying, unscrew all the bulbs from the string. Then when they’re dry, flip them upside down again and in reverse order. Start inserting the back of the light string from the side that you do not intend to plug into the wall (aka the “female” end). You may have to connect 2 or 3 strands together to spell out your whole word.

Insert the back portion of the light strand into each hole, making sure to start and end each letter at the bottom.

To hide those annoying wires, tape them down into place and secure with glue so they won’t show when you flip the letters back over. If you don’t have time to do this step, you can skip it, but it really does help the letters look cleaner and more professional. Then, flip the letters over and screw in the bulbs. Now the moment you’ve been waiting for, plug them in and watch the letters be transformed!

You could use these at a party, wedding, or place them in your house or office. How much do you love this marquee?!

Spell out your name, your initials, a favorite series of words (Hack! Make! Create!), but we went good old Brit + Co. as we were in need of some stellar studio signage.

What will you spell out with your sign? Will you use them to celebrate a special occasion? Talk to us in the comments below :)