Introduction: Giant Light Up Marquee Letters


I was asked, at short notice, to make some glitter-covered 6 foot high letters ,with lights in them, for a Karaoke event.

They wanted the lettering in the style of the film " Sing" that recently came out.

The nearest font that I could find was Super Clarendon.

I have not made anything like this before but it seemed fairly straightforward.

They asked for it it be made from 10mm MDF but that would mean a lot of weight ; they agreed to go with the suggestion of 10cm Celotex foam insulation.

Each Celotex sheet cost £33.

Step 1: Drawing Out the Letters

I wanted to project the letters onto the foam but my ancient projector distorts quite bit so I had to print out various sizes of the required word and go with the best result.

I projected them onto the Celotex foil-backed foam and used a big marker.

It was a bit off so I had to freehand a lot of it but it gave the basic shape.

Step 2: Cutting Out the Letters

I cut the foam letters out using a serrated plasterboard knife.

The foam has to be supported well as it is quite fragile.

It cuts very easily.

Step 3: Drilling Holes for the Light Sockets

Using a 22mm flat head drill bit, I drilled a hole about every 8" for the bulb holders.

The bulb holders were £1.59 each but could be much cheaper from Ebay if time was not an issue.

Step 4: Cutting a Groove for the Wires

I cut a v-shaped groove running the length of the letters, passing though each hole; these are for the wiring.

Step 5: Adding the Bulb Holders

The bulb holders were just pushed through and held by compression; at the front I added a ring of fire resistant PinkGrip adhesive and smoothed it around with a wet finger.

The wiring is very simple; just parallel.

I had to put two wires into each terminal to achieve this.

The last pairing, of course, led to a plug socket.

I used full sized LED bulbs for the low heat that they give off; they were still quite warm though.

The wiring was the most time intensive part of the build.

Step 6: Tidying Up

I cut 5mm plywood boards, slightly smaller than the letter, leaving two struts for supports.

These were stuck onto the back with PinkGrip adhesive.

Step 7: The Finishing Touch

I covered it in contact adhesive and then sprinkled litter all over it.

This covered the imperfections in the foam.

I was finding glitter for weeks afterwards.

Step 8: The End

These are now rented out for Karaoke events and go along way to complementing drunken people singing ABBA songs.


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