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RAD Marquee Letters Sign Tutorial DIY

RAD Marquee Letters DIY Sign Tutorial 

Welcome to the SWEET HAUTE blog and to this rad DIY project RAD Marquee Letters Tutorial -that you can make yourself with a few simple supplies and some elbow grease. This Marquee Sign Tutorial was so exciting to put together, I made these for our son's Skater Boy Room which is coming together nicely, more to come later before the big reveal and I'm even thinking of doing a little tour to focus on the details further. So stay tuned for that in the near future! This particular project was easy to do, the kids can help so get them involved so you can start grooming your little future DIY'ers early. This project was fairly inexpensive, I found the letters on sale and I also had a coupon for the store. I definitely want to make some even larger DIY letters out of large left over cardboard moving boxes for another space eventually, but I wanted to save some time and energy with this project so I purchased some pre-made 23 inch paper mache letters this time.

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~Be Sweet
"Before" and "After"


Scotch Tape Re-fill (or other 1 inch circular guide)
Paint (color of choice)
Box Cutter/ X-acto Knife
Extra Blades (for chosen cutting tool)
Velcro 3D Command Strips (if mounting on wall)


Step 1:

Prep and 'pre-cut' out your letter panel, on the right (correct) side that you will be reading it. It should be facing you so that you can read it.

 Again, remember to cut of the right side that you need for project, the lights will be facing you so you need to cut off the front side of letter they way you will read the word.

 Do a pre-cut line with the blade be for slicing through the cardboard completely. My letters were really thick, even thought they may not appear so, it was more difficult than anticipated and I had to use a little elbow grease. Good thing I only had 3 letters, man it was a pain staking process during this step since you have to use muscle YET you have to be careful not to damage letter....whew....

 It does get a little dusty and messy once you start cutting with the blade, I only was using this surface to cut on because the height of our buffet table, and for the fact that the natural light reflects off it amazingly for the images. Cut off front of letter, section by section....

Step 2:

Do you 'final' cut and carefully cut the cardboard/ paper mache panel off the front side of each letter.

Remove inside cardboard spacers.
Prepare for paint.

Step 3:

Paint inside of letter, and outer edges if needed. You do not need to paint back or side inside walls of letters but you can if you wish. They might warp with the moisture, so use a thin coat AFTER the other section is dry or unpainted. Do NOT paint all at once to prevent warping of paper letters.

Here I'm painting bottom surface only, then once dry I painted inner edges.

Step 4:

Next get a 1 inch circular item to use as a guide in making your light holes. I used a scotch tape re-fill. Measure how far apart you want your lights.  Do a pre-run of how they will fit to ensure you have enough lights for your project. Trace your circular guide onto the cardboard back of your letters.

Using a pencil, tape 'refill', and box cutter to complete the next step in this process.

Trace your circles, I made mine about 2 inches apart. Look to see how many light you want on each letter, my string had 25 bulbs so I space them out according to my letter and string of lights.

Step 5:

Use a box cutter or X-acto knife to cut a star shaped opening for your lights to poke through the cardboard letters.

Again, I measured mine about 2 inches apart, yet I 'eye balled' it so you can be exact and use a tape measure or  just place where it looks right to you.

I switched to my craft table for this part in case the blade went all the way through and bounced of the surface on the other side. Did not want that. This table is a little lower so I was sitting for most of this to save my back from aching. I did the pre-cuts again, then the final cuts.

Step 6:

Insert your string lights and tuck away the excess cord to hide. Use an extension cord if needed.

Unscrew light bulbs before attempting to insert them in to cardboard letter, only insert socket portion of light.

 They aren't the most glamorous, or professional looking set of letters but you get the idea. I created these for our son's room, stay tuned for the is a tween age room make over. So I made these to be a more 'teenage', 'guy-friendly, and rustic look. You can always make these more fancy or tweak them to be perfect in order to fit into any design style.

The (right) photo above shows how the string lights are inserted through the back side of the letter, wires showing and all. Tape wires into place, so they are unseen. Plan out the wire length ahead of time before you insert, make sure you have enough slack in order for it to reach outlet or if you need to use extension cord. Get creative on how you can make the wires less noticeable or hidden once they are on display in your space.

 After lights are replaced into the sockets, check to make sure it lights up before you mount it on wall or display it in your space. The lights that are not lit, that  usually mean that they are not connecting, need to be tightened into socket, or they are leaning crooked in the socket and need to be straightened.
 The glow is so pretty! Even in the daytime...

Step 8:

Prep marquee light letters for installation, you may need an extension cord for it to reach the wall outlet. Use double stick to hang like Velcro 3D Command Strips or something similar to protect your letters and the surface you are hanging them on. You can also lean against a wall, shelf, etc.

Keep a look out for the reveal of its final home in our son's tween room make over. It will feature this R.A.D. marquee sign like a theater focal point! So excited!!!!

LOL ok, I was so excited to start the project...I opened the box in my son's room and took a quick (before) picture. I didn't notice until later that his 'baby' sock, which is supposed to in his closet 'storage,' was peeking out through the door. PHOTO BOMBED by a sock. I had to re-take that picture. So sock.

Have you made a similar project? Did you use the same method, or a different method? Let me know your thoughts. Comment below with questions...

~Be Sweet


Sweetest Haute

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  1. I love this! Pinned! Thanks for being part of our party! I hope you will swing by on Monday at 7 pm and party with us. We love having you.
    Happy Saturday! Lou Lou Girls

  2. thank you for visiting!! Appreciate it


Welcome to the SWEET HAUTE Blog! I recently switched back to Blogger after goDaddy managed WP deleted my database from 2015-on so most if not all current comments/ past posts are gone. Please leave a comment or ask a question below. If a post you are looking for isn't appearing, it is still on my YouTube channel. You can also email me, find out more in the 'About' section. Thanks!

~Be Sweet
Sweetest Haute

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