DIY Merry & Bright Marquee - The Surznick Common Room

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

DIY Merry & Bright Marquee

Nick and I are SO excited about Christmas this year. This is our sixth Christmas together, but I think it will only be the third time we're actually spending Christmas day together. We decided that this year instead of picking and choosing between who to see on Christmas day (since our families live 3.5 hours apart), we would have the family here!

Knowing that we're hosting Christmas has really gotten us into the holiday spirit, so we've been trying to come up with creative ways to decorate the apartment. That's when I saw this homemade Merry & Bright marquee on A Beautiful Mess, made by Laura of ABM and The Band Wife Blog. It is freakin' gorgeous and I wanted it to be mine so badly, but I had a couple hesitations about making it. First, they made theirs out of a wood board that they had to drill holes through. We don't have a drill. Even if we did, we don't have a great place to drill things inside our apartment and it's 27 degrees outside. Second, the cost. Their list of supplies probably would have been more than we want to spend on a seasonal decoration.

I kind of put the idea out of my head, but then on Saturday morning Nick and I were wandering around JoAnn Fabric when I decided to show him the picture of the marquee. He thought it was awesome too, so we walked around the store to see if they had anything we could use to make one without using wood.

Here's what we came up with! We bought a thick foam poster board to use in place of the wood board and gold, glittery foam sheets to cut letters out of. Total cost was about $5.50! We already had a string of white lights, so that didn't cost us anything.

When we got home we printed out giant letters and cut them out to use as our templates. Then we mapped out where the lights were going to go on each letter. I'm super glad we did because I initially marked out 109 lights when our string only had 100, so we had to make some cutbacks.

Saving the environment by printing one R!
Next we traced the letters on to the backs of the foam sheets, making sure that each letter was face down so that the front of each letter would be gold. Once all of the letters were cut out, we glued them onto the poster board with some Elmer's glue and let them dry overnight.

The next day we trimmed down the poster board and marked where we wanted the holes with a little Sharpie dot. Nick drilled the holes using this handy dandy tool that we don't know the name for (someone help us out here?) He then made the holes a little bigger with a screwdriver.

The last step was putting in the lights! We didn't need to use tape to fasten our lights, as they fit snug into the holes.

The only thing left was to plug it in, and TA DA! It was perfect!

What do you guys think of our final product? I think it's so unique and adds the perfect amount of holiday cheer to our decor (I also can't believe that we actually MADE it!) I'm so thrilled that it turned out well, even though we improvised on ABM's directions.

Happy decorating this holiday season! Be sure to share your fun decoration ideas with us!

Sarah & Nick


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! I just googled "awl" but I don't think that's it! Our tool has kind of a drill bit end on it and when you push down, it spins to drill your hole. Like a manual drill or something?