Christmas Light Up Marquee DIY

Christmas marquee sign Hey, everyone. It’s Laura! There are a lot of things to love about the holiday season (like time with family and friends or delicious food), but one of my favorite things about Christmas is the decor. I love the glittery silver and gold and the soft glow of candles and Christmas lights. So this year I was inspired by Elsie and Emma’s guest room light up headboard to put all of my favorite decor aspects into one holiday project: a light up marquee sign!

Christmas marquee sign abeautifulmess.comSupplies:
-large wood board (50 x 24 inches)
-4 wood planks (2 x 1 inches)
-wood screws
-indoor Christmas lights
-white acrylic paint
-loose gold glitter
-Mod Podge
-chipboard letters
-duct tape

Christmas marquee sign First cut your wood planks into four pieces and use them to frame the outside edge on the back side of your marquee. This will help hide the Christmas light’s wires and make the sign appear more finished when viewed from the side. Cut your planks into two pieces that are 46 inches long and another two pieces that are 24 inches long. Use the drill and wood screws to attach the planks in place, keeping the planks flush with the outside edge of the board.

Christmas marquee sign Next, paint the front and sides of your sign with two coats of white acrylic paint. Use the same white paint to paint the side edges of your chipboard letters and allow the paint to dry. Once the letters are dry, paint the front of each letter with a coat of Mod Podge and sprinkle loose glitter on the wet glue. Gently turn the letter over to shake off any excess glitter and set the letter aside to dry. Don’t forget, you can do another coat of glue and glitter once the letter is dry if you missed an area. (The chipboard font that I chose didn’t have an ampersand option, so I made that letter out of glitter card stock).

Christmas marquee sign Arrange your dry letters on your painted board and use a strong glue (like E6000) to glue the letters in place.

Christmas marquee sign Now it’s time to drill! Since it’s hard to mark the spots where the holes should go with a pen or marker (drawing on top of glitter doesn’t work very well), I got a box of screws and turned them upside down to mark each spot where I wanted a hole. I would suggest that this section be a two person job; one person drills the holes while another holds a shop vac hose near the hole to vacuum away the shavings as you go (my husband Todd was my helper).

Christmas marquee sign Once your holes are drilled, you can start to push your lights through your holes on the back side and tape each one in place with duct tape. Plug your lights in, and watch your new marquee shine!Christmas marquee sign Christmas marquee sign Christmas marquee sign Christmas marquee sign I have to say that this is probably my favorite Christmas decoration I’ve ever made. It sits right next to our tree and at night when we turn on the fireplace, it brings such a glittery glow to our living room—it really feels magical. I’m going to be too unbearably sad to pack it away in January, so maybe I should make another one that’s for the rest of the year… Hope you get to make something extra special to you this season! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman, Project Assistant: Todd Gummerman

SAFETY TIPS: We spoke with our local fire department to double check the safety of this type of project. It’s no less safe than a lit Christmas tree, as you’d probably guess. Just be sure to follow these guidelines (if you plan to recreate this project):

-Before purchasing your lights, check for a label of an independent testing laboratory (most commercially sold Christmas lights will have this). Some lights are specially made for indoor or outdoor use. Be sure to use lights made for indoor use.

-Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose/broken lights. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of strands that can be safely connected.

-Your finished project should not have any exposed bundles of cords or wires, only the final cord or extension cord so it can safely reach an outlet.

-Just as you would with your house decorations or your Christmas tree, always turn off lights before leaving your home or going to bed.

  • I absolutely love this DIY. I want to try to do it on This Christmas! Will show you the result. Thank you!

  • Love, love, love it!!! So simple but calming even with the lights. I love the trees and the garland above the fireplace. Good job!!!

  • It’s hard to come by experienced people about this subject, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks 

  • Beautiful idea, we always try to recommend great inspiration for our marquee renters for them to make the marquee their own, this one is going at the top of the list! 🙂

  • I love this, and I would like to know where you buy the large wood chip letters from? Thank you!

  • Aaaaaaaaah, I LOVE marquee letters! I wanted to do something like this a while ago, and my husband scared me off by suggesting it might be a fire hazard. Thanks for checking with your fire department and including that info!

  • What font did you use for the ampersand? I have a silhouette and would prefer to use it to cut it out. Thanks in advance!

  • This is so unbelievably adorable! I want to get on this project immediately! I was wondering where you got your chipboard letters?? Thanks so much for the fabulous post! 🙂

  • I absolutely love this DIY. Once I get my own place I’ll try to talk my boyfriend into doing a similar project for our home. Thanks for sharing :).

  • Where did you get your chipboard letters? I’m looking online and I can’t find any real selection! Thanks!

  • Absolutely love this! So creative. Where did you purchase your chipboard letters, and what size are they?

    Chloe & Taylor Xx

  • How cute! I’m pinning this idea to use for another occasion- maybe a baby shower?

  • so pretty!, we love this!


  • Did you use battery powered lights or how did you hide your cords so well? 😉 Do you have a plug on your mantle behind the sign that we can’t see? Just curious how you made it look so amazing and hidden?

  • Wow, I love this sign.. it might be too pretty just to have during the Christmas season!

  • What a fantastic idea and super easy instructions to follow! Would you be willing to divulge the source for the chipboard letters that were used? Thank you!

  • Love this, it looks beautiful once it gets dark.


  • Gorgeballs! I love it. I’m inspired to riff off this idea and make a some Christmas yard decor!

  • Merry and Bright is one of my favorite sayings during this time of year. This is so beautiful!

  • Very cute!!

    Any reason why you couldn’t drill first and then paint & glitter?? Seems like it’d be less messy!

  • I just asked the same thing a couple of comments up! They are from Hobby Lobby and they are 8 inches high. 🙂

  • Great! Thank you so much! I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to the comments. This project is suuuuper neat!

  • I can’t believe you did this yourself – the effect is stunning. You are so clever.
    Love Vicky

  • Hi Meredith!
    I bought the letters at Hobby Lobby and they are 8 inches high 🙂


  • Hi Xene!
    For this project, you’ll need a strand that has about 150 lights on it (or two stands that equal that amount) 😉


  • Hi Xio!
    The bigger you make the sign, the heaver it will be, but I think it would still be possible to hang if you use the screws that anchor into the wall first 🙂


  • Could you please give the brand of chipboard letters you used or the size of them? Beautiful project!!

  • Oooh, really want to try this out for something in my bedroom! Something not holiday themed, that I can leave up year round. Will have to start thinking of what it could be!

  • love it! how many lights on your string of lights? i don’t want to have too many/too few.

  • I love this :D, I was wondering how heavy the board is? Is it too heavy to hang on a wall?

  • W.O.W!!!
    That’s so beautiful and christmasy! It’s just a shame I live with the Grinch! I’d love to have this in my living room!

  • Beautiful!!! Broadway at home for Christmas 😉

  • Merry and Bright, indeed! What a creative and unique Christmas decoration. So pretty!


  • I love love love love this! I posted gifts under $10/$20/$30 and was thinking about doing a post about DIY gifts but wasn’t sure if I had enough material. This post really gave me that push I needed. Can’t go wrong with sparkles and gold.

  • Probably one of my favorite DIYS, awesome you guys!!! <3 xoxo

  • The final project is amazing, I´d love to try it at home but I don´t know if I will be able to do it so well

  • That is an amazing idea! Thank you for wonderful photos!

  • Very lovely idea!!

  • Your blog is so creative! I wish I could make all of this, I’m incredibly unartistic xD

  • Perfect DIY but we need time to do it and it’s difficult!

  • This may be the best Christmas craft project I’ve ever seen!

  • This just motivated me to go to home depot and michaels tomorrow. What a fantastic idea!

  • Hi Ashley!
    We bought them at Hobby Lobby, but I would look online if you don’t have one near you 🙂


  • I recently blogged about marquee lights and was hoping to find a cheaper, DIY version. Leave it to A Beautiful Mess to come up with one! Thank you, can’t wait to try it! I wonder if it work just as well without the wood backboard.

  • Oh my goodness, gorgeous! And I already have all the materials for it! My Darby kit just came in yesterday and this is the craft I can make 😉

  • This is awesome! What a great way to show off that mantel as well :)Thanks for sharing and have a great one! -Iva

  • AHHHH I LOVE THIS!!!! It’s gorgeous and so festive! Seriously lovin’ your projects Laura!

  • I’m so glad Laura joined ABM! Great idea! I might make one for my kitchen that says “eat”.

    • Just beautiful I love it and something that can be done on a large scale or smaller depending on your space but can have one in any event. My question is did you drill all the holes and then buy enough lights to fill all of them or buy the lights first and drill the holes for the amount of lights on your string? Thanks

  • Laura, this is AWESOME. Thanks for sharing this! Looking forward to more of your DIYs on ABM. 🙂

  • wow! This is awesome! I love it! I definitely want to make something like that. I’ve been eyeing a project like this ever since their “Sleepover” headboard. So cute!


  • I haven’t gotten in the Christmas mood lately (too busy to really even get into the mood), but this really hit a spot in my Grinch heart! <3 I may do this for my rental for all year round.


  • The final outcome turned out really well! I like the delicate decorations on your mantle, as well as the pretty garlands. I appreciate how you checked with your local fire department for safety tips. A lot of people (including myself) don’t usually think to do that.


  • SO cool! Love this! What a great addition to the mantle! So darn cute!

  • I love this! Such a thoughtful and dedicated way to celebrate this time of your. Its perfect 🙂

  • Love this! I might just have to try my hand at one. So cute and festive!


  • This is amazing! WOuld be perfect to brighten up the white walls of our rental apartment…

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