DIY Light Up Marquee Sign Letters

I’ve mentioned before that I love all things retro and vintage, so I’m crazy about marquee sign letters!  I’ve seen tutorials for other DIY versions that involve strings of lights, but I didn’t want to have to deal with cords and outlets, so I came up with this paper mache crafts idea.  My marquee sign letters are portable and can be used standing as part of a display or hanging on a wall.  They would make fun party or wall decor.

DIY Light Up Marquee Sign Letters - Crafts UnleashedReady to make your own?  I’ll show you how!

Supplies needed to make your own DIY Marquee sign letters:

1.  Paint the letter black.

2.  When it has dried, paint the front and sides with the crackle paint.  A thicker application will result in deeper cracks.

3.  Remove the top from the ornament and use E-6000 to glue the ornament to the tea light.  (Note: I spray painted my white tea lights silver.  I recommend just ordering the silver tea lights!)

4.  Decide where you want to place your lights.  Press the self-adhesive Velcro on the base of the tea light and on the finished letter. (Use E-6000 to adhere the Velcro if you plan to hang this on the wall.)

5.  Glue a saw tooth hanger to the back of the letter if you plan to hang it.

It looks great as is, but when you’re ready to light it up, just pull off the tea light, turn it on, and reattach with the Velcro.  Replacement batteries are also available, and with the Velcro, it’s easy to change the batteries as needed!

DIY Light Up Marquee Sign Letters 2These paper mache marquee letters would look awesome at a wedding reception with the bride and groom’s initials.  Or you could spell out a word (BOO!) to decorate for a party.  My letter “C” is for one of my sons who has a birthday coming up.  It will be used to mark the table for presents, and later go on the wall in his room.  How will you display yours?

About Morena

Morena Hockley is the crafty mind behind the tutorials at She loves to share ideas for projects that are fast, frugal, and fabulous: easy on time and money, and great to look at! Morena is a stay at home mom to four young children, and crafting is what helps her maintain her sanity. It’s a wonderful outlet and it’s how she gets her “me” time. In a past life, Morena was an elementary school teacher and an assistant principal. She misses teaching, so her blog is in a sense a virtual classroom. Make sure to swing by and check out Morena’s Corner!


  1. vickie says

    I have a question…I have metal letters purchased from hobby lobby and now would like to put lights in them, How would you suggest doing this.
    thanks so much!

  2. lauren says

    any way to make the papier mache waterproof to hang this display outside? i’ve googled it and saw that yacht varnish apparently helps, but is that flammable? thanks!

    • says

      Mod podge make an outdoor version that should seal it. I made a wood Christmas sign and sealed it with outdoor MP and after two holidays it still looks new!

  3. Leslie says

    I loved the concept. I don’t know why….Maybe because I used LED tealights or because I used 60mm bulbs (couldn’t find the 40mm in October), but the E6000 didn’t hold the tealights to the bulbs…. Velcro wouldn’t hold onto the letter…
    I ended up using crazy glue after the bulbs fell off over and over again.
    I would highly recommend finding the SMALLEST bulbs you can… even if they are more expensive. I had 5 letters to do so it was over 100 bulbs… I tried for less expensive, and paid dearly in the end.

  4. jen says

    If your looking for another take on this, drill holes in the letter with a 3/16 inch bit. This is just the correct size for mini christmas lights. You can get the small sets at dollar tree for a buck! the cords are short but if you dont like the look… You can use colored duct tape or wasabi tape to wrap the cord (and this is safe according to aparment therphy)

  5. Melissa says


    I would like to make these for my sons’s 1st birthday party which is circus themed. What size letters were used? Thanks!

  6. Ruth says

    What a coincidance, My daughter is taking me on a “Bucket Trip”
    (I will be 73 in a few weeks), traveling from Jacksonville Florida
    up thru all the Northern States, where I grew up , to see old friends and
    relatives. We are going to be doing a scrap book on our adventures,
    sort of a “Thelma and Louise” type . Would just love to have all
    the goodies to help us put it together…
    I never did see who the lucky winners were for the previous contest. Where
    do you post them?

  7. NIna says

    Thank you thank you thank you! I wanted to make my wedding table numbers out of 8 inch or smaller paper mache numbers and I was trying to figure out how to do it without having all the wires sticking out. Perfect tutorial!

  8. Tracey says

    Thanks Amanda! I actually found some plastic ornaments at Walmart that will hopefully work!

    I think those tea lights would work good!

  9. Amanda says

    I was able to find the 40 mm glass ball ornaments at They were a little more expensive but I looked everywhere and this is the only place I could find them.

    Question about the tea lights…..Will ANY tea light work? I need the brightest tea lights possible because I am making this sign for my daughter’s competition tap dance and it will be competing with stage lights to be seen. I was thinking that the bright while single LED submersible tea lights might be brightest. They look a little different than regular ones. Here are some I am considering: Any thoughts? will these work?

    Any advice would be appreciated.


  10. Tracey says

    Hi! Consumer Crafts has been sold out of the card holder ornaments for a few weeks now…does anyone know where else to purchase them? Thanks!

  11. DeAnn B says

    WOWZER these are so cool! We just built a movie theater in our basement and I think these letters would look really cool outside the door of the theater all lit up! I will be making these soon! Thanks!!

  12. Theresa says

    So cool!! I could also see doing this using scrapbook paper too. That way it can be a project for our scrapbook store. Now I need to go get an initial. Thanks for the “brilliant” idea!!!

  13. Morena says

    Thanks, Jeff!

    Sally, if you click on the links in the supply list you can find where to purchase all the items used. The ornaments are available at Consumer Crafts!

  14. Sally Davis says

    This is incredible! I would love to make this but don’t know where to find the card holder bulb ornaments never seen those before!

  15. Gina says

    I’ve looked at about 7 different sites on lighted marquee letters and they required plug in lights….thank you soooo much for sharing this project, you are awesome!!!! I can totally do this one.

  16. says

    Great tutorial. I remember searching high and low for those tea lights when they first appeared on the market, now they are everywhere and quite affordable.


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