DIY: Make a marquee sign for your room
We’ve all seen those twinkling lights outlining the ceilings of dorm rooms on Pinterest. If you’re trying to be a bit more creative, this marquee sign is great way to include those lights. It’s just enough lighting for hosting a mini movie night or trying to disguise a nightlight. Choose your favorite word or pick a keyword from your favorite quote, you’ll be proud of your own creation and add unique decor to your room.
Things you’ll need:
- Foam poster board
- Poster board
- X-Acto knife
- String lights
- Hot glue gun
- Spray paint
- Electrical tape
- Using the foam board, trace the letters you need. Focus on drawing straight lines, measuring enough room and spelling correctly (there is no spell check, so it really is a DIY). To ensure straight lines, you can use a stencil. For a cheap alternative, you can print letters out, which is what I did.
- Carefully cut the foam board out with your X-Acto knife — be aware of anything underneath. You don’t want your mom to see you’ve cut her favorite tablecloth.
- Mark where you want to place a light with a pencil. The string lights I used had 70 bulbs connected to one, so I tried to space those out across the entire word. If you need more, you can connect a second batch of lights. You’ll punch holes in these marks later.
- Take the regular poster board and cut strips to make the sides of your letters. I measured about 3 inches for the width. Don’t worry about the length — just cut it as long as your poster board. You can always cut it shorter or add more later.
- Take a strip of poster board and run it along each side of the letter. Put a crease and fold at each corner — this will save you some frustration when you’re gluing.
- With the heated hot glue gun, put together each strip to the foam letter to make it three-dimensional. You want to place the foam letter in the middle of the poster side, so it can stand up.
- With my X-Acto knife, I poked “X’s” where I marked a hole for the light. This made it easier for me to enlarge the hole with scissors. For a neater look, you can use an unsharpened pencil because it makes a good-sized hole and you don’t have to worry about poking yourself.
- After laying down a tarp or newspaper, spray your letters. I’d suggest going outside for this because you’ll need to leave the letters out to dry. A well-ventilated area is also advised, so you don’t inhale fumes. Letting the letters dry will take little time. To be safe, give it about an hour.
- Once the paint is dry, take your string lights and insert a bulb into each hole. Once they are all full, reattach the string and secure them in place with electrical tape.
This article originally appeared in print on September 11, 2014.