happily anne


DIY // Light Up Marquee Letters

For the past couple months I haven't had any motivation or desire to do any DIY projects. That changed overnight. I've been spending a little more time on Pinterest the past couple days and I got some inspiration. Now, I have like a dozen different projects I want to do! Mack and I went out and about yesterday looking for some DIY supplies. We also hit up a bunch of thrift stores in search of cool old records for the new record player we just bought. We had a blast and got the necessary items to make some of the projects I recently became interested in. I was super anxious to try this project in particular, but I couldn't really start on it last night (since it was dark and I wanted to make sure to take pictures for my tutorial). I started on these Marquee Letters as soon as I got up this morning and just completed them. Though they aren't perfect, I think they add some really cute depth and interest to our collection of home decor.

What You'll Need:

- Some strings of round-bulb lights

- Cardboard letters (I got mine at JoAnn's)

- An exacto knife (any knife will probably work)

- Spray paint (if you plan on painting your letters another color)

- Pencil


1. Take your knife and start cutting the backing off the letters. It doesn't take much to get it going, you can just make a cut and continue tearing it off. It tears cleanly.

2. If you're wanting the "+" sign, you'll have to make one yourself (I couldn't find a plus sign or an ampersand letter at JoAnn's). I bought a "T" and cut a piece off the bottom, added it to the top, and it looked like a plus sign. I got the idea to do this from here. :)

3. Take your bulbs and kind of plan out where you want them to be, how many should go on each letter, and if they're far enough apart. Trace around the smallest part of the light bulb for an idea of how big your hole needs to be.

4. Use the knife to cut an "X" shape into all the circles so the bulbs can be pushed through.


5. Paint your letters if you wish to do so. I used a metallic gold paint (it dried really fast too).

6. Poke your light bulbs through the holes and screw them into the sockets. Since your letters are hollow now, you'll be able to hide most of the cording in the back.

The Finished Product:

And there you have it! Adorable, vintage-looking Marquee Letters. Like I said, there were a lot of imperfections but I really like the way they turned out. I think they look even more glorious once they're lit up! You may have to twist the bulbs a little tighter once you turn them on - only about 25% of the lights came on when we first plugged them in. I can't wait to display these in our home.


Here are the two lovely tutorials I used for this project:

If any of you guys love this idea as much as I do and decide to make some of your own, please feel free to share with me! I'd love to see your take on the project and see how they turned out for you. Happy Sunday you lovely people!