DIY Decor

SEMI-DIY MARQUEE LETTER

SemiDIY Marquee Letter // 7thhouseontheleft.com

When I was in high school, I saw a news segment about the Neon Museum in Las Vegas. Two things resulted from me watching that: 1) I had to go to Las Vegas to see this place, and 2) I had to own a vintage marquee letter.

Neon Museum // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Well, I haven’t yet made it to Las Vegas (it’s on my “30 Things to do Before 30 List”), and I’m still holding out for the perfect vintage marquee letter. The ones I find are always either too small, not the right color or over $500. When we were busy putting the finishing touches on the covered patio, the console table was in dire need of something extra – something fun with personality and a pop of red. We needed a marquee letter!

I came across bunch of DIY tutorials online but most of them were made from foam or cardboard. I wanted something a little more durable and something that would be easy to clean – especially since we wanted to use it in the covered patio area.

SemiDIY Marquee Letter // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Then, I found the jackpot in DIY marquee letter tutorials from Kristen over at The Hunted Interior. Be sure to check out her blog, it’s awesome. Kristen found a great resource forΒ unfinished wooden letters on Etsy (here). Some paint, a string of lights and we were in business. I don’t think I was even finished reading her post before I clicked the “Place Order” button for a letter B. With shipping, it was about $50 – a lot cheaper than the finished marquee letters I found online. It came in the mail a few weeks later, and I was immediately in love! It was huge – a bit bigger than I imagined – but it was perfect.

SemiDIY Marquee Letter // 7thhouseontheleft.com

To start off, I marked the places where the lights would go using little tag sale stickers. While playing around with the placement, I was continually checking the spacing with my mini tape measure.

3/4" Paddle Bit // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Greg drilled the holes where each sticker was with a 3/4″ paddle bit. It’s really important to drill from front of the letter, toward the back, because when you’re done, the back will have some major splinters.

SemiDIY Marquee Letter // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Once all of the holes were drilled, I prepped the letter for paint by spraying a light coat of primer all over the front and back of the letter. Since this was going to be for the outdoors, we primed both sides to protect the unfinished wood.

SemiDIY Marquee Letter // 7thhouseontheleft.com

As for the color, we were going to a big pop of red, so we chose Rustolem’s Royal Red in a high gloss finish. I love this shade of red because it’s not too bright, and it’s the perfect “vintage” red – which was the look we were going for.

SemiDIY Marquee Letter // 7thhouseontheleft.com

For the lights, we picked up a box of frosted globe string lights. There were 25 lights on the string, but since we only had to make 23 holes for the lights, we just tucked the extra two lights in the back and unscrewed the bulbs just enough that they wouldn’t light up.Β Attaching the lights to the letter was super simple. All I had to do was take out the bulb, put the socket on the back of the letter and reattach the bulb from the front. And just like that, we were all finished!

SemiDIY Marquee Letter // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Isn’t that easy?! I’m completely crazy about how it turned out and love seeing it when we go in and out of the house.

SemiDIY Marquee Letter // 7thhouseontheleft.com

I love how the frosted globe lights show up so well against the red letter, too. It looks good during the day when the lights are off and even better at night when we turn it on.

Covered Patio Console Table // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Overall, Greg and I are totally thrilled with the results. It’s easily the number one thing our friends and family point out when they come over. I can easily say it’s one of our favorite SemiDIY projects to date.

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32 Comments

  • Reply
    Christina P (NS)
    August 22, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Hi there,

    What size wooden letter is this? I went to the Esty shop but they offer various sizes. It looks great!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      August 22, 2013 at 11:35 am

      Thanks! It’s 24″ tall.

    • Reply
      Brittany
      August 22, 2013 at 9:54 pm

      Looks like the 24″ letter w/shipping is $80…am I missing something? This is such a fun and easy project though! Love how it turned out!

      • Reply
        Ashley
        August 22, 2013 at 11:31 pm

        For some reason, I’m remembering it being a little over $50. Maybe the price has changed since then? Not sure!

    • Reply
      Christina P (NS)
      August 23, 2013 at 8:53 pm

      Aww man, I was so wrapped up in admiring them the first time I went I didn’t even notice that they don’t ship to Canada – boohoo *tear*

      • Reply
        Ashley
        August 24, 2013 at 1:54 am

        Aw, that’s a bummer!

  • Reply
    Amy
    August 22, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Very clever, love this DYI idea! I happened to notice your beautiful kitchen in this post. Do you have any details on it (i.e. counter top, paint)? I’m new to your blog so if you already posted something about that I apologize, I didn’t see the post. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Allison
    August 22, 2013 at 11:45 am

    It looks lovely, you did a great job! I’m curious, do you have any photos with the lights on at night time?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      August 22, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      Thank you! Not at the moment (I took the after photos the morning I left for vacation). I’ll be sure to take some when I get back though : )

  • Reply
    Alana @ Sparrow + Grace
    August 22, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    *Swoon*

    Definitely going to have to do this for my home.

  • Reply
    Jessica S
    August 22, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    I love this! Great job! I’ve put it on my ‘to-do’ list. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    August 22, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Eek! I love it! I love anything typography related. I can’t resist picking up any type of ampersand I can find, and one of my fave things in my house is my vintage type drawer filled with random wood type and letterpress. So, I love your DIY marquee letter. It looks absolutely fabulous! (BTW, i went to Vegas in February for the first time. Wasn’t super excited to go, but my fave part was the Neon Museum. Def a must see for designers!)

    • Reply
      Ashley
      August 22, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      That sounds awesome! Jealous!

  • Reply
    Tani
    August 22, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    This looks awesome!

  • Reply
    Megan @ Rappsody in Rooms
    August 22, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Wow! You could have fooled me that this was DIYed. It’s gorgeous!! I might have to do this too. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    August 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Very cool! You know, I have to be honest and admit that I’ve seen a lot of marquee letters and always thought they were over the top, kinda obnoxious, and cheesy. You’ve made a converter out of me! It all depends on how ya style it, and I’m loving it on the console table with your other unique accessories!

  • Reply
    Tiffany {A Touch of Grace}
    August 22, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    Holy cow that is awesome! I never would have thought to do this! It looks so awesome. Thank you so much for the tutorial!

  • Reply
    Steph B
    August 23, 2013 at 3:10 am

    Looooooove this idea and your blog! Hubby and I just closed on our first house together – so excited! Your projects are amazing and so inspiring – cant wait to get started!

  • Reply
    Lil
    August 23, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Love it!

  • Reply
    Stephanie @ simplebees.blogspot.com
    August 23, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Love it! Now I just need a place to put a large B!

  • Reply
    Becky Carl
    August 23, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    So glad I found y’all!! Such wonderful ideas and you are now in a folder on my computer called “PROJECTS TO DO ASAP”. I just love this letter!

  • Reply
    Staci @ My Friend Staci
    August 24, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    This looks fantastic. Looking forward to some nighttime/evening shots of your patio once you get back from California.

  • Reply
    RENA L.
    August 26, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

  • Reply
    Kayla
    August 27, 2013 at 10:07 am

    This looks amazing!!! I need to make one of these so bad…now where to put it?

  • Reply
    Stephanie B
    August 28, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Did you paint the back white?

    • Reply
      Greg
      August 28, 2013 at 10:52 am

      We primed the entire letter to seal it against the elements. We only painted the front red.

  • Reply
    Erin
    July 3, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Where did you find battery operated globe lights? I am striking out big time in my search. Beautiful work!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      July 9, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      It’s actually not battery globe lights and just a battery pack that serves as a power source for the globe lights. Sometimes places like Battery Plus has them or, if you have any electrician friends, they might be able to point you in the right direction in your area. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Ira
    March 26, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    Love the B! The four panel tandem bike hanging, was it a DIY?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      July 2, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      Thank you! No, we purchased it from Pottery Barn a while back.

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