On a recent trip to Target, I came across this vintage looking Christmas sign. The photo on the box made it look legit, however, disappointment ensued after opening the box for a closer look. It looked cheap and cheesy and definitely wasn’t going to work.
Here’s what you need to make your own marquee sign:
Paper Mache Letters – I bought 8″ ones from JoAnns. The best thing about these, other than the fact that they are only $3, is that they aren’t made in China.
Christmas Lights – I bought this 50 count box at JoAnns as well but ended up buying and using the GE LED crystal pearl lights from Fred Meyer.
Carpet knife or and exacto knife
Fabric tape measure
Lay your letters down on a flat surface, then take your knife and cut the top off of each one. The knife moves through the paper mache pretty well and should only take a few minutes to do. Set the letter tops and the zig zag pieces in the middle off to the side.
Next up, paint your letters. It was cold and rainy out the day I did mine so there aren’t any photos, but you get the idea.
Once your letters are painted you will need to mark the spots on the back where your lights will go. Fifty lights divided by 4 letters means 12.5 lights per letter. The ‘S’ has 12 lights, the ‘N’ has 14, the ‘O’ has 11 and the ‘W’ has 13. They are spaced about 1.5″ apart. This will vary depending on your lights and letter size.
Take your scratch awl or any other sharp object you can find and poke a hole on each of your ‘x’ marks. I had to punch my holes from the front and this made it so that I didn’t have to mark up the inside of my letters.
I had to dig into some of my leather tools to get the holes punched since my paper whole puncher wouldn’t do the trick. The mini punch set from Tandy and a rubber mallet worked perfectly.
Now its time to put the lights in! Pop the bulb out of the socket, gently, then push the base of the bulb through the hole on the front of your letter. Push it through until just the light is showing. Then reattach the bulb to the socket on the back of the letter.
Once all of the lights are in, you’re done! Plug that baby in and enjoy.
In order to make mine stand on its own a bit better, I hot glued a piece of wood to the base of all the letters.