Thursday, January 9, 2014

DIY Zinc Marquee Letter

I'd like to think I'm not one to hop on the trend train, but I'm sort of obsessed with the marquee signs that are all over Pinterest right now.  I've always loved old, rusty, metal things, but add lights and I'm swooning.

I decided it would be fun to do one for The Kid's bedroom makeover.  I used this tutorial for the Marquee Letter and it was soooo easy.  The big cardboard letter was $10 bucks at Joann's, but I had a 50% off coupon, so it was only $5.  I already had the lights in my garage.  I had dropped the strand this summer and half the bulbs broke.  And this is why I hoard useless crap. "Someday" I find a use for it.

I first saw the DIY Anthropologie zinc letters here.  I thought they were super fun, so I used that paint treatment to get a "zinc" finish.  I practiced on a small letter first, and used black acrylic craft paint, as recommended.  But for the big letter, I just opened up my can of black chalkboard paint and used that.  I did buy the top coat of metallic white paint suggested in the tutorial, but it was less than $1.50.  So I spent less than $7 bucks for pure awesomeness.

Here's the letter after the faux-zinc paint job.

They're fun just like that, right?

Next, I cut the back off the big letter with a craft knife.

The zigzag piece inside just pulls right out.

These are the lights I used.
If you don't have a strand that's the exact amount of bulbs you want, make sure it still lights with bulbs missing from their sockets.

Take a bare bulb and trace around the base of it at the starting point of your letter.

Then, with your craft knife, cut slits into a star shape to push your bulb through.

Once the two ends of my C were cut and the bulbs were in, I eyeballed spacing to see where I wanted the rest.

I didn't want it to look like we were landin' planes in his room every time it was plugged in, so I spaced mine 5" apart.
I measured from the center of my first bulb, made an X, then measured 5" from the X to the next X.
Continue that, using whatever measurement you want, until you get to the last one.
Cut stars on all your X's and stick your remaining bulbs through.

This is what the back side looks like.

Now you can screw all the bulbs back into the sockets.
It will depend on your letter, but I started with the non-plug end at the top of the C.
Now, weave the empties into the back, ending with the plug on the bottom.

And that's it.
Plug 'er in and ooh and ahh over your creation.
I have it sitting in the dining room for the pics, but I was thinkin' I might hang it on the wall when I put it in his room.
If I can figure out a way to get it to hang.
We shall see.

I kinda love it.

I might need a big N for the living room.  
Or a finished basement with a bar where I can spell out DRINKS.
Or a huge kitchen with EAT.
Okay, maybe the C is good enough.

P.S.  I've got this in the oven right now.  
(Don't mind the, I-just-started-a-new-blog, 2011 post photos if you click over.  The recipe is still bomb.) 
It smells soooo good.  I even made the enchilada sauce this time, rather than using a can.  I've been revisiting old favorites recently.  
One of these days, I'll start posting our menus again.
One of these days.

Please see my sidebar for the parties I link up to.


  1. For some reason my sidebar is not updating me when you write a new post...hmmmm...I am going to have to figure this out! Ok this is wicked cool! You scored both times! The letter rocked and then you added lights and it created a whole new affect! I am in love! And the price was hands down amazing!!! And ha...sounds like you are cooking up some yums! I'll jump on over! Happy Weekend you!!! Nic xoxo

  2. This looks incredible! Nicely done! I saw your post at Nifty Thrifty Sundays, and had to check it out!

    I would love it if you stopped by our Facebook page to say 'hello!'


  3. I love it! I think I'm going to have to try this. You can probably hang it on the wall with the 3M velcro strips.

  4. Very cool, Mindy!! I've been loving those marquee signs, too. I've got some letters sitting around that I've been meaning to zinc for awhile - maybe this will be the push I need. ;)

  5. Well, there you go! Amazing. I love it. It looks like the Baby is taking notes in that one photo. Too cute. I think EAT in the kitchen would be way cool. Do it! :)

  6. You, my dear, are a genius! It looks faboo!
    I'm not getting your posts on my sidebar either. Hmmmm...

  7. This is fantastic!! Thank you for linking up! I am pinning!


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