When it comes to Christmas decor, I love all things that sparkle or light up. Thankfully, there are a lot of Christmas items that do both, so that's usually where I direct my decorating efforts. I made a giant light up marquee sign for the holidays a few years ago and I've loved it so much that I thought it would be fun to make another one this year but with a light-box twist instead.
– 3/4" x 4" boards (2 6' long boards are enough)
– 3/4" x 2" boards (2 6' long boards are enough)
– 24" x 36" panel of acrylic plexiglass (home improvement stores can cut it for you or you can score and snap it)
– white Christmas lights (I used two sets of 100 lights)
– low temp glue gun
– large glitter sheet (glitter wrapping paper would work too)
– spray adhesive
– X-Acto knife and cutting mat
– wood glue and wood screws
– paint or stain for wood frame (if desired)
So, I took some detailed photos to show you how to put together the frame pieces, and I accidentally deleted them from my camera before I got a chance to save them onto my computer—D'OH! Sooo, I made a mock up of how long the pieces should be and where they should be attached above. The darker green is the wider 4" boards and the lighter green on the inside is the thinner 2" boards. You can have the home improvement store cut the pieces to size for you if you don't have a power saw. Like the diagram shows, the thinner boards are centered on the larger boards so there is a 3/4" space on both sides of the short boards where the frame will fit together in those notches. Use wood glue to secure the thinner boards to the thicker boards, and once the glue dries, use wood screws at the marked points to attach the four pieces together.
When gluing the thinner boards to the thicker boards, sink each smaller board down in 1/2" from the top of the thick board so when you place the acrylic sheet in the frame it will sit down 1/2" from the front edge.
Before you screw your four pieces together, check to make sure the acrylic sheet fits in and make any adjustments as needed! Once the frame is together, paint or stain the wood as desired.
While your frame is drying, trace or draw your word or phrase onto the back of your glitter paper (you can click here to download the "Cheers!" that I used). I love using my projector for steps like this, but you could also print out one letter at time as big as you can or print a blueprint print to scale and then trace using that. Make sure to reverse the word so you trace it backwards, otherwise it won't be right side up on the front! Use an X-Acto knife to cut out your letters and keep the middle of all your letters like "o" or "e" to glue on later.
Use a spray adhesive to attach your glitter paper to the front of your acrylic sheet and glue on all the middles of your letters as well. I like to position the paper and then only spray a section at a time while covering the rest of the project with cardboard to protect it from the overspray. That way, you can get one corner at a time secured and it's a lot easier than trying to position the whole thing perfectly at once. Any adhesive that gets onto the acrylic can be removed easily with a Goo Gone type product as well.
Once your lights are set, it's time to plug it in and watch your creation glow!
I love the glow of the light inside the box at nighttime and how it makes the glitter extra sparkly on the outside as well, and it looks so cute with my oversized pom-pom garland. You can totally customize this project with whatever word or phrase suits you best during the holiday season or make it something that you can use the rest of the year as well (maybe this could be over a bar cart in the off season?). Hope your holidays are filled with twinkle lights and sparkles as well—cheers! xo. Laura
Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.