Instructables
Picture of Building Large Lighted Marquee Letters

My daughter is getting married and saw a set of lighted marquee letters with the bride’s and groom’s initials, used in photos and as an accent at the reception. She asked if I could make them.

Marquee letters are typically made up of a flat letterform that has lighting to make a sign visible at night, with metal flashing around the perimeter. The flashing serves to direct the light outward, while minimizing light bleeding into adjacent letters.

Always up for a challenge, this is how I did it.

Please take my advice: Before you do any project involving power tools and sharp metal, make sure you know how to use your tools, and that you follow safety precautions. Wear safety glasses, and use gloves when you’re working with sharp metal flashing. You’ll thank me later. You’ll want to have both of your eyes, all of your fingers, and no stitches when you’re at the wedding. After all, you have to look good in the wedding pictures!

And vote for me in the Wedding and Lighting contests!

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Tools

  1. Jigsaw
  2. Framing square
  3. Assorted clamps
  4. Drill/driver
  5. 1/3 sheet sander
  6. Bits including spade and standard drill bits
  7. Dividers
  8. Tin snips
  9. Heavy hammer
  10. Diagonal cutters
  11. 48" 2"x2" steel angle (2 lengths- Can be used for the metal brake, not needed if you have #12)
  12. 48” metal brake (not required, but very helpful; see Instructable)
  13. Metal rules
  14. Digital micrometer (not required, but very helpful)
  15. Painting equipment
  16. Gloves
  17. Safety glasses

Materials

  1. 1/2” MDF, 4’x8’
  2. 6” valley flashing, 60’
  3. 3” steel angle, 2 pieces at least 48” long (used in lieu of a brake)
  4. 1/2" round-top screws (one screw every two inches of perimeter)
  5. Paint and painting equipment
  6. Outdoor light strings with removable bulbs (I used 5 sets)
  7. Large nylon zip ties
  8. Masking tape (I used 3/4")
  9. Paint
 
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clintonmc made it!4 months ago

Very nice ible, I used a similar technique to make two large Marquee letters as a commission for a friends Wedding.

Flashing like this doesn't seem to be available in the UK so I used galvanised steel lawn edging, which comes ripples and so needs to the flattened first. It was 6" wide though so by attaching the wood in the centre I was able to hide the wiring, and have and have a good wall all the way around. It is also wide enough that they are free standing without need of extra stands.

They asked for them to be in different fonts and they stand 70cm high.

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TIDGE27 clintonmc2 months ago

Hey, That looks great! I am in the UK and like the idea of using the lawn edging, but I was also wondering if you cvould point me in the direction of where you got the liughts for your two ltters? Thanks!

clintonmc TIDGE272 months ago
Hi Tidge27, thanks for the kind comment, I got my lights from lights4fun.co.uk.

For each letter I used one set of these:

http://www.lights4fun.co.uk/i/q/PARTY-YW/20-warm-white-led-party-lights-5-metres-white-cable

They weren't my first choice but they do allow the "ball" to be removed to push the light through the board.

I do remember them being a bit cheaper 6 months ago though.

Good night, Irene! Great work. I was trying to figure out how you two managed the metal. I will probably go with the another type of metal since I want it to get all nice and rusted for that rustic look. Again, great work. Your friends must have been very happy.

KEUrban (author)  clintonmc4 months ago

Gorgeous work.

BLR_RAVI2 months ago
wonderful..look very elegant ...far far better than the neon lights...
KEUrban (author)  BLR_RAVI2 months ago

Thank you!

doodlecraft4 months ago

Awesome! :)

KEUrban (author)  doodlecraft4 months ago

Thank you!

tabrown05 made it!4 months ago

Here is one of many that I have done, this one I made for a friend.

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tabrown05 made it! tabrown054 months ago

Here is another way you can do it without the sides as a table top display, this was also made for a friend R for their last name.

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KEUrban (author)  tabrown054 months ago
Truly beautiful. Nice work.
wtkjd made it!4 months ago

Very nicely done! What dads do for their girls.

I built one for my daughter using a box method (an identical front and back hiding the wiring inside) and then mounting the letter to a piece of shelving as a stand. Used MDF and 1x4 frame. The stand was flush mount in the back so she could hang this on the wall of her apartment. Painted in her wedding colors - sea foam green and lavender.

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KEUrban (author)  wtkjd4 months ago
Beautiful!
krelyea4 months ago

Thanks for doing this instructable, I was recently asked by my niece to do a single letter "M" for her wedding. Mine however will be a more permanent project, she plans on hanging it in their home afterwards. I will add some pics when I do my build.

KEUrban (author)  krelyea4 months ago

Great! I'll be very interested in seeing your project after your build.

Mielameri4 months ago
Very detailed instructions, and good documentation of your process! And I love the final build :)! Congrats to your daughter
KEUrban (author)  Mielameri4 months ago

Thanks very much!

Fikjast Scott4 months ago

Great job, nice idea

KEUrban (author)  Fikjast Scott4 months ago

Thanks, Scott. I appreciate it.

jessyratfink4 months ago
These look so good! Really well documented too. :D
KEUrban (author)  jessyratfink4 months ago

Thanks, Jess. Coming from someone who does work as nice as you means a lot to me!