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How To: Make Styrofoam Marquee “NOEL” Letters

This post is brought to you by FloraCraft®.

styrofoam marquee letters

FloraCraft was kind enough to send a goodie box full of different sizes of square and rectangular styrofoam shapes. They gave me the challenge of creating something for the holidays using these items – for their “Foam for the Holidays” challenge. I had a lot of fun ideas, but I decided to make a set of marquee lights that spell NOEL!

NOEL styrofoam marquee letters at tatertots and jello

 

Here’s how I made it. The project is in three stages:

1. Cutting out the foam letters

2. Creating the mounting board

3. Running the lights.

You may want to do something a little different. For example, I considered using some of the smaller, thick rectangular pieces of FloraCraft “Make It: Fun® Foam”  to place behind the foam letters and make them stand on their own. This could be a cool project, but it didn’t work for what I had in mind.

foam marquee letters collage 1

1. Cut out the foam letters.

To create the letters, I created giant letters in Adobe Illustrator and printed them. I had to print a couple of the bigger ones in two pieces and then piece them together. I cut them out along the outside and taped them onto the foam.

letters2

(I included the PDF of my letters here as a free printable download if it helps you. Right-click the link and choose “save as” to download; personal use only as always.)

I then used a hot knife to cut out the letters. (A hot knife will make your foam cutting soooooo much easier.) I used a metal ruler to make the edges as straight as possible.

foam marquee letters collage 2

Next, I grabbed my light string (an inexpensive LED globe set) and roughly laid out the lights on the letters. I could see about where they needed to be to be centered on each letter, and how far apart they needed to be. For my letters, they needed to be centered , so about 1 1/2 inches from the edges but about 2 to 2 1/2 inches apart. I marked these in each foam letter using a pencil to poke a small hole.

Then I pushed through the foam with a pair of needle-nose pliers to make a big enough hole to fit the light sockets.

By laying out the lights, too, I could make sure I had enough lights to finish the job!

I then used some red spray paint to paint the letters and let them dry while I built the mounting board.

foam marquee letters collage 5

TIP: be sure to keep your spray paint at least 12″ away from the foam while painting. If you get much closer the paint will actually eat the foam. Yes, I tested it on a scrap piece. It was unfortunate.

 

noel marquee letters made out of styrofoam

2. Assemble, mark and drill the mounting frame

You can do this however you like. I simply grabbed a $2.50 24×24 dry erase board and some pre-finished thin molding from the hardware store. I cut the molding with 45-degree mitered edges so that about 2/3 of the molding overlapped the dry erase board, then flipped it face down and used a staple gun to hold it in place. You can use whatever you like; glue, duct tape, small nails, that baby oatmeal that appears to turn to concrete when dried, whatever.

Once I’d assembled the mounting frame, I laid the NOEL letters on top of it about where I wanted them placed.

I used a permanent marker to mark the light holes on the board, and then drilled holes through the board so I could push the light sockets through the back of the board. (I tried some more complex wiring solutions and this appeared to be the best way to go.

foam marquee letters collage 4

 3. Run the lights

Using whatever adhesive you find effective (in my case, looped duct tape), affix the letters to the front of the frame so the holes in the letters and the holes in the mounting board line up.

Starting at one corner as you did when you did your light layout “draft,” take the bulb out of one socket and push the bulbless socket from the back through to the front of the foam. Push the bulb back on. I found that I could do my bulbs in two ways: I could take the whole bulb assembly out, or just remove the plastic shell around the LED bulb. If you take the whole bulb out, try to make sure you’ve pushed it all the way back in and clipped the little clip on the side back on. (In the picture below, the left shows a bulb with the clip open; the right shows the clip closed.) The second time I ran my lights, having goofed them up the first time, I found it easier to remove the plastic shell than the whole assembly, and also I didn’t have to worry about accidentally getting foam bits in the light sockets.

foam marquee letters collage 6

Tips: you may find you need to touch  up edges or scuffs with some red craft paint. It’s okay. You should do that, and not feel any guilt or shame. We all have to touch things up. I also found that I had to touch up the miter cuts on the prefinished molding I used; no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t cut them without getting some chips. (Might be time for a new saw blade, too.)

NOEL styrofoam marquee letters tuorial

 

 

 

foamfortheholidays

For more information about FloraCraft and Make It: Fun foam, visit the Make It: Fun Website and Crafts ‘n Coffee blog

 Happy creating!

xoxo

jen signature

PS: I’ve linked up this post to these fabulous blogs this week!

Skip To My Lou The 36th Avenue

 

 

 

This post was sponsored by FloraCraft®. The ideas, projects and inspiration are all mine. See my disclosures.

Comments

  1. What a fun and clever idea! The lights make everything so festive! I love knowing I can do this simply with styrofoam….so much easier than wood! Again, another useful idea! Thanks Jen!
    Cindy recently posted…Fabric Notepad Cover Pattern

  2. Very fun!! I’ll have to try that out for my son’s room!

    Use “floral spray”, a spray paint that won’t eat styrofoam or other plastic. :)

  3. So so darling!!

  4. JEN JEN JEN!!!!

    you are so clever! and your mantel is so fun!!!

    xo
    kellie

  5. Seriously SO cute, Jen!

  6. Such a cool idea Jen! I love it. Would make a perfect gift too.
    Amy at Living Locurto recently posted…Gingerbread House Decorating Ideas

  7. Hi Jen! Thanks for the tutorial. You have done really amazing job. I am not sure if I can handle the job so good, but I cannot wait to try. Happy Holidays!

  8. What a cute idea. Your mantle looks awesome!

    http://happinessiscreating.com/

  9. These are just down right awesome! Great job, Jen!!

  10. You are incredible I am in love with this idea
    Lisa@ Creative Raisins recently posted…Gingerbread House Tradition

  11. Love this idea! Oh my gosh. This is so cool!
    Zoe recently posted…Dealing with Negative People & Hatred

  12. Jen- how do you do it?? You must have a million ideas in your brain!! And all are amazing! love it!
    Mique recently posted…3 Ingredient Frozen Peppermint Pie

  13. Such a cute idea! I love all of the fun bright colors!!

  14. oh what a fun idea Jen~ I love it!!

  15. Seriously the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. So freaking awesome…my head is spinning with ideas for this and different events, parties. You out did yourself!!!!
    Missy recently posted…Gold Reindeer Sled

  16. Oh, wow, this is so cool, Jen. I just love it! I am too intimidated to make marquee letters out of wood, but this I could do. So much easier. Fabulous!
    Sharon recently posted…Easy gift idea: Mitten & Snowball Ornaments

Trackbacks

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