Thursday, September 26, 2013

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! 
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!


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.


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)


I had to piece them all together like a puzzle. 


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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.


Pretty easy.


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. 


Repeat the above steps until all your letters are colorful! :)


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.


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


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.


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


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. 


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. 


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.


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. 


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


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


Now you are ready to insert your lights!


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


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.


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.


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


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


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

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


I love how it has different blinking patterns.


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!




33 comments :

  1. 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.

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    1. 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

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  2. 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

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    1. Thank you Amy! Your comment made my day! <3

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  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! :)

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

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

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    1. Haha! Thanks, you are so sweet & you totally just made my day! :)

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  6. 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!!!

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    1. Hi Sandrine! Thanks for your sweet comment- yes it did take several hours but it was totally worth it! :)

      Here's the link to the post- sorry about it redirecting you to Pinterest- that would be my pin it Hoover button over my images- sometimes it gets in the way! :)
      http://www.welivedhappilyeverafter.com/2013/09/55-little-girl-playroom-reveal.html?m=1

      Stay in touch!

      <3 Hannah

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

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    1. So glad you like it! You should make one- the end result is stunning! :)

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

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    1. Haha! You have great taste in names! ;)

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  9. 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

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  10. 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!

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  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!

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

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  13. 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!

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

      But I had a blast doing this one!

      Have a wonderful day! <3

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  14. 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 ;)

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    1. Thank you Ron! You just made my day! Feel free to share a picture of your finished marquee light on my Facebook page when you're done! <3

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

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

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    1. Aww! Thanks! Wood would be great too! Let me know how it turns out! <3

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

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    1. Thank you for your sweet comment! You made my day! <3

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

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    1. I'm pretty positive I got the warms ones- because I thought the white would be too harsh.... Sorry I can't 100% remember! Have fun! :)

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