Tag Archives | marquee

DIY Marquee Letters

Hey guys! So, if you were familiar with our blog before we got started on YouTube, you probably remember our DIY Marquee Letters tutorial of yore (here’s part 1, part 2, and part 3). We built them for our wedding and they were actually the first DIY project we ever started. I say “started” because we didn’t complete them until months later, but still – I count them as the first!

We still get comments and questions about these letters, so we thought doing a video tutorial would help show how we made them. Plus, since this is our second time around and we have a few years of DIY experience under our belts, we came up with some ideas to make a couple tricky parts easier. So check out the video above to see the tutorial! And if you wanna see a budget breakdown, scroll to the end.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn

[Before we keep going, I want to pause and say if you have a second it would mean SO much to us if you’d like our video or subscribe to our channel. Since we’re brand new to YouTube, every view, like, and subscription makes a huge difference for us. Click here to see the whole channel. Thank youuuuu! We’re doing a big goofy happy dance right now!]

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn

So if this looks like something you want to tackle, here are the steps in the video broken down. You can also look at the old 3-part tutorial linked to above, but this version has the updates we made and is a little more succinct (since we did it in a weekend instead of over a 6-month period haha)

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn

Materials

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn

Tools

Step 1: Making guides

This step is a tiny bit of up front work that is going to make things way easier later in the project. We’re going to make a few wooden blocks to use as guides. We didn’t do this the first time we made these DIY marquee letters, but they helped so much this time around.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn First, we cut four 2-5/8″ long blocks out of some scrap 2x4s. These will hold up the letters to the correct height for nailing in the metal flashing later. We used our miter saw, but a jig saw works too, just cut slowly (and maybe use a clamped-on straight edge to guide you).

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Next we’re going to make a height guide to help us nail in the right location. We cut another piece of scrap wood to be 3-3/8″ long and drew a line at 2-5/8″. This will show us where the plywood is from the outside of the flashing.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Both of these measurements are based on using 3/4″ plywood. These guides will make more sense once we get further along in the project, but trust us, you’ll want to have them!

Step 2: Making the letters

We made printable templates for every letter (you can download them here). These are PDFs that will print out on several pages and be the right size to cut out a 2-foot tall letter. We taped together the template, which is easier said than done, at least when you have a cat.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Then we cut out the outline of the letters, taped them onto our plywood, and traced around them using a yardstick as a straight edge.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Before removing the paper, you’ll want to use the hole center guide we included in the template download to mark where to drill each hole.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn NOTE: The lights we used are a pack of 25. Our E and K had 25 total holes. If the letters you chose have more than 25 holes, you might need reduce the amount of holes and eyeball how to space them out OR look for a bigger set of lights.

Line up the center template with each circle on the letters, then either use a center punch or tap a nail a few times into the center mark.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn When you remove the paper templates, you’ll be left with tiny starter holes to show you where you need to drill.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn We drilled through these using a 13/16″ spade bit, but you could also use a forstner bit or hole saw. We’d recommend double checking the diameter of the socket part of your lights before doing this. You want it to be a snug fit.

Sometimes drilling all the way through in one go can cause a little tear-out. It’s not a huge deal because the back of the letters will never be seen anyway, just make sure you’re drilling into the front of the letters. Or you can play it safe like we did by drilling halfway through the letters from the front, then flipping them over and drilling the rest of the way through.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Next we cut around the outlines of the letters with a jig saw. This is easiest to do if you have a couple clamps to hold the wood still, but we made the first set without any. Carefully guide the jig saw around the outline of your letters.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn There might be a couple places where you need to turn a corner and can’t, like the inside cuts of our E. Just drill a hole along the line you need to cut, then place the jigsaw blade in that hole and start cutting along that line.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Woohoo, at this point things are starting to take shape!

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn

Step 3: Sanding and staining

Before staining them, we’re going to give the edges a quick sand. For the outside edges of the letters, we used a 220 grit sanding sponge because it’s easy, flexible, and can contour to the edges a bit.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn We used little scraps of 220 grit sandpaper to sand inside the holes we drilled.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Then we applied one coat of Minwax stain in dark walnut. To keep the coat of stain even, Evan applied it and I wiped off excess as he went. This prevents it from pooling or soaking in too much in some areas and coming out splotchy. It’s not 100% necessary to do it this way, but we think it helps. Don’t worry about staining the edges or inside the holes, they won’t be visible when you’re done.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn

Step 4: Adding metal flashing

This next part, adding the flashing, was definitely the hardest step the first time we did this project. But because we made those scrap wood guides earlier, it’s gonna be a lot easier this time. Go ahead and place your first letter on the 2-5/8″ scrap wood blocks to raise it up off your work surface.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn First we sketched out our letters and measured all the sides, writing the measurements down on our sketch. We planned for the flashing to start at the middle of the bottom of each letter, so the first measurement is just a partial length and we allowed for some overlap at the end.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn We start our flashing at the bottom of each letter and plan for a little overlap We used those measurements to pre-bend the metal flashing. We’ve found the easiest way to do this is to grab a hammer and a sturdy (thick) putty knife, and find yourself something cushy to work on, like carpet. Because we were working outside, we used our doormat. Having your flashing on a cushioned surface lets the putty knife sink into it when you’re hammering.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Put on some gloves (the flashing is sharp). Measure from the end of the flashing to where you need to make the first corner on the letter and draw a line at that point.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Then align the edge of the putty knife with that line, and hammer the handle so that it indents the metal.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Once you’ve given it a few whacks of the hammer, you should be able to bend it easily by keeping the putty knife edge in the crease and folding the metal against it by hand.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Every time we made a bend, we made sure to a) measure the side of the letter again just in case before bending, b) make sure we were bending in the right direction (bending inward or outward), and c) test fit the bend to make sure it fit the letter before moving onto the next bend. We caught a couple measurement mistakes on our end, so we definitely recommend playing it safe!

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Here’s what we mean by corners that bend inward toward the letter.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn And here are the corners that bend outward away from the letter.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn If you do happen to make a bend in the the wrong spot or in the wrong direction, you can undo it. Lay the metal against a hard surface and hammer the bend flat. Then you can re-bend it in the correct spot/direction.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn When you have all your bends made and everything fits, it’s time to secure the metal to the wood. This is where the guides we made are going to come in handy. The blocks we made earlier hold the letter up to the correct height so that when the flashing is wrapped around them, the plywood is centered in the flashing.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn And the 3-3/8″ block will show you, from the outside of the flashing, where the plywood is so that you can nail into it.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn The first time we did this project, we were trying to simultaneously hold the flashing centered with the plywood and hammer into it at the same time. It was not the easiest thing in the world. So trust us when we say these guides will save you!

Another thing that made the project easier this time around is having a nail gun. We haven’t used it much so we did have a slight learning curve, but once we got the hang of it it made nailing the flashing into the wood much faster. We used the outside height guide to show us what height to make the nails at, and we ended up cutting a little notch in it with our jigsaw to even use it as a place to rest the nail gun so our spacing was more consistent.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn However, this is totally 100% doable with just a hammer and finishing nails. It’ll take a little more time, but it’s not difficult. We recommend nails that are only 3/4″ or so so you’re not hammering forever. Use the height guide to line the nails up with where the plywood is and hammer them in.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Whichever method you use, it definitely helps to have one person hold the letters secure while the other nails into them.

If a nail goes through your wood don’t worry, just pull it out with pliers, sand over the rough spot where it exited the wood, touch it up with a dab of stain, and re-hammer in the nail. Just think of it as added character.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn There will be a few areas you can’t nail into because a hammer or nail gun won’t fit. We secured these with super glue. We used gorilla glue last time, but in our opinion, super glue was easier.

Some places won’t need nails or glue (like the tight corners of the K), but other places will (like inside the E).

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn We dabbed some super glue in between the metal and wood, then used scrap wood and rubber bands to hold them tightly together. You may not need to do this step at all, it all depends on your letters. You can also often bend the metal so that it’s bowing against the wood, which holds it against it. But adding a little super glue is easy in a pinch.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn And congrats! You’re done with the hardest part!

Step 5: Adding lights

The last step is adding the lights. All in all, this is pretty straight forward. Just unscrew the bulb, pop the socket through the hole, and screw the bulb back in.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn We had 25 lights and 25 holes, so we made sure that a light was used in each one. This meant we had to do a little back tracking on the legs of the letters. Where you have to backtrack, skip every other hole on and then fill the ones you skipped on your way back. See how I skipped the holes on the leg of the K? I’m going to fill those on the way back up.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Annnnnnnnd done!!!!

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn We are so happy to have another set of these DIY marquee letters, and this set was WAY easier to build than our first. Maybe that’s a testament to the skills we’ve learned over the past few years, or maybe it was just because while making the first set we were also trying to fix up our newly bought house and plan a wedding at the same time haha. Either way, we’re super pleased with how these came out.

They are perfect for a wedding (we might be biased) but would also be awesome for an engagement shoot, baby shower, party, or even just as home decor. We have our set that spells LOVE in our living room and they make us happy every day. Hope you enjoyed our DIY Marquee Letters tutorial!

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn

Budget breakdown

Materials

Tools (the required ones only, we used other things just because we had them. Also, I’ve linked to both the versions we have and more budget friendly versions. We tend to invest a little more in tools because we use them all the time, but if you want to save the less expensive versions below all got good reviews)

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You can also find us at:

YouTube…………….. https://www.youtube.com/evanandkatelyn
Instagram………….. http://instagram.com/evanandkatelyn @evanandkatelyn
Instructables………. https://www.instructables.com/member/evanandkatelyn/
Facebook………..….. https://www.facebook.com/evanandkatelyn/

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1

Makin’ Loooooove… COMPLETE! {DIY Marquee Letters}

***UPDATE***

We still get lots of comments/questions about these, so we made a video tutorial! Came up with some new tips that make the tricky parts wayyyy easier. Check out the video below!

You can also click here if you want to see the update tutorial in written form, or keep reading below to see the original one.

[Before we keep going, I want to pause and say if you have a sec it would mean SO much to us if you’d like our video or subscribe to our channel. We’re new to YouTube, so every view, like, and sub makes a huge difference for us. Thank youuuuu!]

***END UPDATE***

We finally got to use these at our wedding!! We ADORE how they turned out! It was 100% worth the time and effort.

DIY Marquee Letters - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Marquee Letters - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Marquee Letters - evanandkatelyn.com

If you need to get caught up on the DIY Marquee Letter saga, check out part 1 and part 2.  You can also see a budget breakdown and materials list at the end of this post.

Here’s how it started: before we even bought our house, we went to a wedding expo and spotted these marquee letters. We instantly fell in L.O.V.E. with them and had to figure out how to make our own!

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

So we made a template (psst- download it here), cut it out of plywood and stained it, and then we derped around for a few months doing all sorts of house things instead of completing this project.

Finally, we decided it was time give the people what they wanted finish ‘er up. And that meant doing the hardest part: adding the metal flashing to the sides. We bought four rolls of 6-inch aluminum flashing because we wanted our letters to have metal siding (there are some tutorials online using poster board for the sides but we wanted something a little more sturdy). We couldn’t find any tutorials for making wood and metal letters so we decided to wing it.

(Before we get into all the pictures, a quick side note: we worked on this project on and off over several months so don’t be surprised if our outfits, location, time of day, and Evan’s haircut-necessity-level change from picture to picture.)

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

We started with the L because it was the easiest and because we are just OCD enough that the thought of doing the letters out of order bothered us. The first step when adding the flashing is to unroll your metal and sit the letter on it.

Choose where you want the start and the end of your metal to meet (for the L, we chose the bottom of it), then make your first bend in the metal. We used the help of a putty knife and a hammer to make our bends.

Draw a line on the metal where you want your bend to be, place the sharp end of a putty knife (or similar object) on that line, and hammer the handle of the putty knife so that the sharp end is pounded into the metal. This works best if you’re working on carpet or a rug instead of a hard table top or hard flooring. You need some give underneath the metal to allow the putty knife to push into it.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

You’ll notice in the photo above we have a few bends in the metal already. Once you make your first bend, you’ll need to measure along your letter to find out where on the metal roll to make the next bend. So for the L, we did it like this:

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

We started the edge of the metal where it says “Start” above and measured how far that point was to the lower right hand corner of the L (where “A” meets “B”). On the metal, we measured that same length from the edge and made a 90 degree bend using the putty knife and hammer technique. We did that all around the L. The angle marks above our rainbow-esque metal flashing in the guide above indicate what direction the angle is bent at.

It’s pretty easy to do this for each letter as you go, but if you chose a complex looking font it could get tricky. Therefore, we highly recommend a sans-serif font!

For some letters, like the L, it was pretty easy for just one person to do the measurements and bends.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

But other letters were two-person jobs, like the E. I never thought about how many angles a capital E has until we had to bend sharp metal around every one of them! For the E, I needed to hold the flashing up while Evan measured and bent so that it didn’t fall onto itself. And sorry about the PJ’s. Although it took us months to finish this project, extra time could not be spared to get properly dressed.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

Once you have all your angles made, you’ll see the shape of the letter start to form and you can wrap the metal around your letter! Ahhhh!! Exciting!! Just don’t forget to cut off the extra metal (see it to the left of the L in the image below) with some sturdy clippers. We liked to leave a couple inches of overlap when we cut it.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

We did not take a picture of the O at this stage of completion because it required a slightly different method. Since the metal did not have any bends or corners to hang onto, it wouldn’t stay put. So I had to pretty much wrap myself around the letter while Evan hammered nails in to anchor it. This is actually the only picture we have of this stage of the O because it was all hands on deck for this one.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

Which brings us to our next step: attaching the metal.

First we made guide lines on the metal so that we could center it against the edge of our plywood. Since our plywood was 1/2-inch thick and our metal flashing was 6-inches wide, we marked dots that were 2-3/4 inches from each side (so that there was a 1/2-inch space between them going down the center of the metal).

Then we connected our dots and used those as our guide. These marks were made on the side of the metal that would be attached to the wood.

In hindsight, it would have been easier to do this before bending the metal. Oh hindsight!

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

On the other side of the metal (the side facing outside), we marked dots along the center of the metal (3 inches from the edge) so that we knew where to nail. We made a dot every inch or so, but you could do more or less if you wanted.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

Since we had our plywood and nail guides, we wrapped the metal around the letters, aligning the plywood with our 1/2 inch space on the inside of the metal. Evan hammered in a nail or two while I held it in place to keep it from shifting.

We used short 1/2-inch finishing nails to do the job. We started out originally using longer nails, but a few times we didn’t hammer them in straight enough and their ends poked through the wood (ooops!). When that happens it’s kind of a pain to carefully pull them out without causing more damage.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

But the 1/2-inch nails were harder to hammer because holding such a tiny nail was difficult. So we used our longer nails to hammer little pilot holes through the metal and just barely into the wood, and then hammered our shorter nails into the pilot holes. It was WAY easier. Also, we still (carefully) used the longer nails at the corners because we felt like that they might be a better anchor.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

So after Evan hammered in a couple nails to keep the metal from shifting, together we’d go down each side of the letter and create pilot holes, and then add our 1/2-inch nails. Lots and lots of nails.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

IMG_3896 copy2

The V and the E needed a little extra help because there were areas in each that we couldn’t nail due to lack of space for the hammer. On the V, we couldn’t get the hammer passed a certain point in the “dip” of the V. So we decided to nail as far as we could and then use epoxy.

That didn’t work too well because it was hard to hold the metal against the wood long enough for it to set. We didn’t have a big clamp, so we tried to wedge enough random tools in there to hold the metal down in place. I’ll pause while you laugh.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

Yeah. That didn’t work. So we went to Home Depot, got some Gorilla Glue, and picked up a big clamp. And then taped the crap out of the whole thing because we really really didn’t want another glue fail.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

The Gorilla Glue worked! But it squished out the sides (womp womp) and we had to cut the excess off with a razor blade, which was annoying. When we did the other side of the V, we made sure to apply as little glue as possible so that we didn’t have the same problem again.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

Even though the Gorilla Glue worked, there were a lot of places on the E that we couldn’t use nails and we didn’t want to deal with all the gluing and clamping again.

So for the parts of the metal that went in between the “legs” of the E, we bent them so that the sides were curving toward the wood of the E (like the colored pieces in the image below) and then hammered a few nails in between each bent piece of metal to hold things in place (along with nails around the perimeter of the letter too of course). Since the curved metal naturally wanted to press against the wood, we didn’t need any glue there.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

After the metal was firmly attached to all our letters, it was time to screw in our lights! We used two packs of these outdoor lights. Depending on the size of your letters and the closeness of the holes you drilled, you may need more or less.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

We had to screw in the lights in a way that made sense with the flow of the letters. Meaning for the L, we started at the bottom (so that we didn’t have to have a cord running from the floor to the top of a letter) and we added lights going toward the top. But we skipped every other light so that when we reached the top of the L we could make our way back to the bottom, filling in the lights we had skipped on the way up.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

On the O, we went straight across from the L to the base of the O and looped around clockwise until we got to the part of the O that was closest to the top of the V, filling in every light up to that point. Then as we continued the O (past the point closest to the top of the V) we just filled in every other light again until we reached out O starting point, where we then backtracked and filled in the holes we missed. Similar to the method on the L.

Basically, any time you know you’re going to have to backtrack, start skipping every other hole so that when you make your way back you have holes to fill in.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

We wired the lights this way because we didn’t want to have long stretches (like from the outlet to the top of the L or the base of the O to the top of the V) where there were lights that weren’t being used. Because that meant wasted lights, and we really didn’t want to buy a third pack. Hope the graphic above helps make sense of it! If not, it will make more sense when you get to this point and start playing with it.

I am happy to say, after much measuring, hammering, cutting, hammering, gluing, and hammering… we are FINALLY done!

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

So of course we had to take a million pictures…

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

We love the look of the metal and wood. On this zoomed in picture of the O you can really see how snugly everything fits together.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

We L.O.V.E. them sooooooooo much! Can’t wait to have these at our wedding, and we are super excited that they’ll have a spot in our home for us to enjoy forever :)

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

Finally, here’s the budget breakdown. This is all rounded, but it’s pretty accurate:

(2) 2ft x 4ft pieces of pre-sanded plywood – $30
(4) rolls of 6 inch metal (similar to this but longer and therefore pricier) – $24
(1) 8-oz can of Minwax stain in Dark Walnut – $5
(2) packs of clear globe lights – $38
Nails, hammers, clamps, saw, brushes, etc – already owned/needed to have anyway

TOTAL = $97

Not bad for four very sturdy 2-ft tall letters that we love!

PS- Check out part 1: making the template and part 2: cutting out and staining the letters for the full tutorial of this project! :D

Note: This post contains affiliated links. Thank you for supporting our blog!
155

Makin’ Loooooove… part 2 {DIY Marquee Letters}

***UPDATE***

We still get lots of comments/questions about these, so we made a video tutorial! Came up with some new tips that make the tricky parts wayyyy easier. Check out the video below!

You can also click here if you want to see the update tutorial in written form, or keep reading below to see the original one.

[Before we keep going, I want to pause and say if you have a sec it would mean SO much to us if you’d like our video or subscribe to our channel. We’re new to YouTube, so every view, like, and sub makes a huge difference for us. Thank youuuuu!]

***END UPDATE***

(Continued from part 1) There are a ton of great toys you can use for this next step… I mean… power tools… I used my jig saw. It’s a great wood/everything cutting power tool when you’re living in an apartment and don’t have a garage to store big toys. Soon to be fixed ^_^ (I’m sure there will be a post with a handyman garage setup).

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Since we traced the letters in the previous post cutting them out was pretty easy. Remember, don’t push too hard or the edges will be rough and require more sanding. If you are unfamiliar with using a jig saw I would practice on some spare lumber. Also, since we bought our lumber before hand we planned the height of the letters so they would not require any cutting on the top and bottom. Before you know it you’ll have a masterly crafted letter in your hands:

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Letters like the L are pretty easy to cut. No hard to reach corners. But when tight corners do arise don’t loose hope. Again, get some extra lumber and test to see how tight corners you can cut with whatever power tools you are using. With my jig saw I ended up doing a gradual turn and then backtracking to get that straight edge I wanted:

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Before you know it you’ll have all your letters cut out! Good thing we remembered to take a picture when we were all done and not just partially so!!… not.

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Whatever could we be spelling?! Live?!… umm can’t think of anything else but the other live… and love :)

Next we roll out the template again and gently hammer a nail in (somewhat of an oxymoron). Just nail it partially in to mark where you’ll be drilling later:

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

For the lights that we mentioned earlier a 13/16″ spade drill bit worked PERFECTLY! Just barely lets the light socket through. Make sure to measure a properly sized hole if you aren’t using our same lights. Run to your fav hardware store and pick up a your fav type of hole drill and have at it!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Follow the pattern you laid out earlier with your gentle nailing and you’ll do swell! Lay out your letters and admire your handiwork:

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

After you’ve made all the holes for your light bulbs, you’re gonna want to sand things down a bit. Because the plywood we got was pre-sanded, this part was pretty easy. We just did a few gentle swipes along the face of the letters and focused mainly on the edges using 220 grit sand paper.

Next came my favorite part… staining!! This was the first time we stained anything and it was awesome. Now we want to stain ALL THE THINGS! Before you go all stain crazy on your letters though, I’d recommend testing the stain on some scrap wood first. Again, we used Minwax stain in “Dark Walnut” (because we loved how it look on some projects over at Young House Love!)

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

We tested how the stain looked after sitting for 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, and 10 minutes. When each section was done, we wiped things down with a clean old T-shirt. The visual difference between the stain times was pretty subtle so we decided to go with 1 minute. Hey, we are impatient!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Now it’s time to go to town on the letters! Make sure to wipe them down to get rid of dust and stuff first. Also, work somewhere well-ventilated. For us that meant our wittle teeny apartment balcony. Gotta work with what you’ve got! Also, remember to lay down a dropcloth or something to catch any drips. I read online that you’re supposed to apply the stain with the grain, so that’s what we did. The internet said so, so it must be true!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

We didn’t worry too much about our edges because they won’t show once we add our metal sides. Also, by the time our minute of staining time was up almost all the stain was absorbed by the wood, but we still wiped off the little bit of excess with a clean old T-shirt.

Literally like 5 minutes later, we were done! Of course, you know we also had to pop some light bulbs in and test how they looked with the stained wood. One step closer to marquee-style letters for our wedding!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

PS- Check out part 1: making the template, and part 3: attaching the metal siding for the full tutorial of this project! :D

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DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com
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Makin’ Loooooove… {DIY Marquee Letters}

***UPDATE***

We still get lots of comments/questions about these, so we made a video tutorial! Came up with some new tips that make the tricky parts wayyyy easier. Check out the video below!

You can also click here if you want to see the update tutorial in written form, or keep reading below to see the original one.

[Before we keep going, I want to pause and say if you have a sec it would mean SO much to us if you’d like our video or subscribe to our channel. We’re new to YouTube, so every view, like, and sub makes a huge difference for us. Thank youuuuu!]

***END UPDATE***

Makin’ loooove…letters! As in L.O.V.E, sheesh! Just look below and see what I mean…

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

We saw these marquee letters at a wedding expo and immediately thought they’d be awesome to have at our wedding. But renting them from a wedding decor company would be hella expensive, so my engineer fiance got to work! First we took some super precise measurements by taking a picture of my arm against the letters so we could eyeball the size later. You can tell by my expression that I totally did not feel awkward at all posing in the middle of the display.

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Then we got home and got to work! We figured out from the above picture that we wanted them to be about 2 feet tall, and we went from there. We sorted through my library of 1,300+ fonts (I have a font problem… and I’m not ashamed) and picked one that suited us. Then we made a to-scale image in Photoshop. You can download it here if you’d like to use the font we used as a template.

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

The little circles are guides for where the light bulbs would need to go. Then we just printed it and boom- instant template!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

When it came to supplies, we had to decide if we wanted to use wood, metal, foam core (that’s what most the online tutorials use), or something else. We ended up deciding on wood for the letters and metal for the siding. We found pre-sanded 2-foot-tall birch plywood that said “ready-to-stain” at Home Depot for $14 a pop. Sold! We picked up two of those, a roll of 6″ galvanized steel, some Minwax stain in “Dark Walnut” (because we loved how it look on Young House Love!) and a couple packs of outdoor lights.

We were just sort of wingin’ it and picking up what looked like it should work. We’ll do a full supplies list and cost breakdown at the end of things since I’m sure there will be more stuff we need to get along the way.

Next we cut out our letters, taped them together into something traceable, then laid them out on our plywood and traced away!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Once our letters were traced, it was time for the fun part- sawing! But this post has gotten pretty long, and Evan’s definitely the power-tool-wielding one in the relationship, so he’ll probably write about the sawing stuff. So for now we’ll end things here and pick back up later with part-2! On a side note, I should try to remember NOT to wear my super flattering XXL comfy pants when we’re taking pics for the blog… oh well!

PS- Check out part 2: cutting out and staining the letters, and part 3: attaching the metal siding for the full tutorial of this project! :D

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DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com
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