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


  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


  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
Hi I have just had a large metal D made but unfortunately have fallen out with who I had it made for. <br>Just wondering if anyone was interested in purchasing it. I still need to finish the lights which will be done early new year
If you still have it, I would like to see how much you want for it and hopefully purchase it!
<p>Here is one of many that I have done, this one I made for a friend.</p>
Lovely tabrown05 they look fab I'm looking for a 70cm Z to be made if you can please drop me an email jessica.ahmed@hotmail.co.uk thanks if not carry on the amazing work
<p>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.</p>
<p>what are these made of?</p>
Truly beautiful. Nice work.
Wow wow, everyone has done amazing :-) loving it I'm the worst at DIY and have non of the equipment. If anyone could make a 70cm Letter Z that could be wall mounted. Please drop me a email with quotes much appreciated jessica.ahmed@hotmail.co.uk
Hello, I came across your information after Googling lit signs for decoration. I was wondering if you or someone you may know can make me the words &quot;Black Dot&quot;? <br>My contact information is anadafonseca@yahoo.com and I would truly appreciate if you or anyone reading this message contacted me. THANK YOU!
I don't know who could make this for you; I know that I cannot. Best of luck to you!
<p>Very nice ible, I used a similar technique to make two large Marquee letters as a commission for a friends Wedding.</p><p>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&quot; 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.</p><p>They asked for them to be in different fonts and they stand 70cm high.</p>
<p>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!</p>
Hi Tidge27, thanks for the kind comment, I got my lights from lights4fun.co.uk.<br><br>For each letter I used one set of these:<br><br>http://www.lights4fun.co.uk/i/q/PARTY-YW/20-warm-white-led-party-lights-5-metres-white-cable<br><br>They weren't my first choice but they do allow the &quot;ball&quot; to be removed to push the light through the board.<br><br>I do remember them being a bit cheaper 6 months ago though.
<p>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. </p>
<p>Gorgeous work.</p>
wonderful..look very elegant ...far far better than the neon lights...
<p>Thank you!</p>
<p>Awesome! :) </p>
<p>Thank you!</p>
<p>Very nicely done! What dads do for their girls.</p><p>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.</p>
<p>Thanks for doing this instructable, I was recently asked by my niece to do a single letter &quot;M&quot; 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.</p>
<p>Great! I'll be very interested in seeing your project after your build.</p>
Very detailed instructions, and good documentation of your process! And I love the final build :)! Congrats to your daughter
<p>Thanks very much!</p>
<p>Great job, nice idea</p>
<p>Thanks, Scott. I appreciate it.</p>
These look so good! Really well documented too. :D
<p>Thanks, Jess. Coming from someone who does work as nice as you means a lot to me!</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a president at a college. In a previous life, I was a human factors engineer and human performance researcher. I have graduate degrees ... More »
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