This was my proverbial Great White Buffalo of my wedding planning. I saw these beautiful marqueee letters that other people had made for their weddings, and well, if they could do it, I could do it.... right?!
I am so stubborn, it is actually quite amazing. Almost as amazing as I had envisioned this sign looking on the dance floor at my wedding.
Here is a somewhat guide to how I made the sign.
The boards were large "hardboard", pretty much particle board. If i were to do this all over, I would use something thick enough that would handle finishing nails.
I made my husband (to be) trace out the letters with my supervision and I shipped them off to my dad to cut them. I am sure I would have done just fine on my own, but this was not a project I wanted to risk it on.
Once they came back, my cousin and I spaced and measured the spots for the lights. There is no math or theory involved, just however many of the lights we could evenly space that looked good.
Honestly, i could have even left it like this. It looked great. But i needed to know that this finished product was possible. So on with the painting and the metal sides...
I am not crazy about how the staining turned out. I used a gel based stain, and this wasn't real wood. It pretty much looked like I painted it grey, which is totally fine, but not the rustic barnboard look I would have gotten with real wood and a different stain. You live and you learn. In retrospect, when its dark and the sign is lit up, you can't even tell what colour it is at all.
On to the fun part!
I used 6 inch wide metal flashing. I don't know what 'grade' the metal was, but it was very easily bent. Other important tools needed are a yard-stick (or large level like we used, a solid table or board underneath, a ruler, and something with a straight edge that you can use to bend the metal.
First we measured out all of the bends and cut the metal for each letter and carefully measured and double measured and bent the metal so we could just pop it on.
After the metal was cut was when the real fun began. I lost my project partner/fiancee at this stage due to how frustrating it was to begin with. We thought we could nail in the metal using finishing nails, but it was difficult to ensure we were nailing dead centre on the board, and the board was just too thin. Again, a thicker, wood board would have been better.
Once I was left alone to figure it out, I honestly sat for about half an hour just looking at it. You don't want to play around with it too much because the more you play with it, the more dents you will get in the metal. I devised a plan that included 1000 Nails glue, clamps. boards, yarn, and pretty much anything I had handy in the room.
This is where you have to get creative. Essentially, you have to go one side at a time, and put the glue on, then clamp the metal to the board and keep it there with either weight or pressure for enough time for it to dry. Sometimes I would do about three sides a day - one in the morning, one when I got home and one when I went to bed. I think about 2 hours per side is the shortest amount of time I let it dry. This is not an 'afternoon' project.