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Holiday DIY Projects

Holiday DIY Projects

Make a Merry Marquee

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BLACK+DECKER B+D Contributor 191 Projects

Bring some holiday cheer into your home with a handmade marquee sign. Spell out something festive in warm lights, and then temporarily hang the sign on a living room wall or set it out on your porch.

How to Make a Merry Marquee

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    • (1) rectangle piece of ¼" plywood cut to your preferred size (in this example our plywood is 38" wide + 24" tall)
    • (1) piece from the 1 x 2" wood shim cut to the size of the plywood frame’s width (in this example our top framing piece is 38" long)
    • (2) pieces from the 1 x 2" wood shim cut to size of the plywood frame’s side (in this example the framing pieces are 23 ¼" long)
    • Wood letters to complete your chosen word from ¼" plywood

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    Determine the size of your overall sign by where you will hang it, and cut down the ¼" plywood to size. Cut three pieces from the 1 x 2" wood shims to size for the top and sides.

    TIP: Creating a wood frame on the back of your marquee sign will make it easier to hang while concealing unsightly wiring you could potentially see from the sides.

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    Secure wood shims to the top and sides of the plywood backboard by driving ½" wood screws from the plywood into the vertically oriented shims with your BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* Lithium Drill/Driver.

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    Choose a sans serif font and determine the appropriate scale necessary for your sign. If printing on multiple pieces of paper, assemble the sheets with tape to maintain equal spacing between the letters.

    Center the printout on the marquee frame with a tape measure and temporarily secure it with painter's tape. With a sharp pencil, trace the letters to leave an impression on the plywood to use as a placement guide for the finished marquee letters.

    Set aside the printout (you’ll need it again later).

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    Add a finish to the back of your marquee. This is an optional step that adds impact. Brush on a light layer of stain and rub it in with a rag to enhance the natural grain of the wood. Set it aside to dry while you work on your marquee letters.

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    Retrace your word onto the remaining plywood with a pencil, using a straight edge if needed. Take advantage of the any straight edges on the plywood, and arrange straight edges of letters on the straight edges of the board to minimize the number of cuts you need to make.

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    Using the BLACK+DECKER 2.5 Amp Oscillating Multi-Tool, carefully cut out your traced letters. The multi tool attachment allows for you to make plunging cuts — making it easier to cut out letters with counter space.

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    Replace the cutting attachment on the multi tool with the sanding attachment and grind down any rough edges or bumps on your letters.

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    Recreate the raised edging of a traditional marquee by applying iron-on wood veneer edging to your letters. Simply cut the veneer edging to size and iron along the edge.

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    Take your letters outside and space them out on newspaper or drop cloth. Apply thin layers of silver spray paint to achieve a metallic sign finish. Allow them to dry completely (drying times can vary based on the type of spray paint used) before working on the next steps.

    TIP: Spray paint comes in a variety of textures and metallic finishes that can help you achieve different levels of ornamental oxidization, or patina. Choose one that suits your style.

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    After the marquee letters have dried, attach them to the plywood backboard with wood glue according to your traced guides and allow them to dry. After you ensure your letters are secure, drill large holes 1"–2" apart depending on the size of your bulbs. Vacuum away the sawdust and touch up any scratches with silver paint. Install your marquee bulbs by inserting the bulb into the hole in from the front of the sign, and screw it into to the strand of sockets in the back.

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    Instantly add holiday cheer to a room by propping this antiqued marquee up on your mantle or hanging it on a bare wall along with a fresh evergreen garland with removable wall hooks.

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