The Big Day: DIY $10 Marquee Initial

I’ve been trying to think of fun little things to set on the cake table or welcome table when I stumbled upon a clearance pack of patio lights at Target the other day. I took that as a sign and whipped up this light-up marquee initial in just an hour or so.


DIY $10 Marquee Light - Go Haus Go

I have to get used to the “M” instead of the “S” pretty soon here. :)

Here are the supplies I needed for this project:

  • Cardboard 3D letter of your choice (I got mine from Joann’s)
  • Patio globe string lights (mine are from Target)
  • X-acto knife
  • Hot glue gun
  • Gold spray paint (any kind will work!)

I found my cardboard 3D letter at Joann’s for $4. It’s about 8″ tall and 2″ deep.

Emily Snuffer

The first thing I did was remove a side. I did this by running my X-acto knife along the edge. The inside of the letter has removable scraps of cardboard to act as support.

Emily Snuffer

I just threw away the scraps and was left with a shell. Next came spray paint! I picked up my trusty gold Rust-Oleum can. Don’t worry about having a specific type of spray paint – anything will work for cardboard!

Emily Snuffer

I did just two light coats to get coverage. I love spraying paper because it dries SO fast.

Emily Snuffer

While that was drying, I switched my attention to prepping the globe lights. They require a bit of assembling before they can be added to the cardboard letter. Here’s the type I picked up on clearance at Target:

Emily Snuffer

The goal of disassembling is to remove the plastic parts until you’re down to a simple string of lights. This style of lights typically includes a plastic “globe,” a rubber stopper and the plastic silver “stem” which sort of resembles the stem of a light bulb. Here’s what it looked like after I was done disassembling:

Emily Snuffer

Time to switch back to the cardboard letter! Chances are it’s nice and dry at this point. I used a pencil to mark X’s where I wanted my lights to go. It’s important to draw an X, as this is what will help us make our holes for the lights.

Emily Snuffer

I used my X-acto knife to cut actual “X’s” into the cardboard. The hole is created by pushing a Sharpie through the X, creating a round circle. See?

Emily Snuffer

Now it was time to take care of the light strand I had just disassembled. Now it’s time to glue the silver bulb stems to the cardboard, to keep the light bulb nice and sturdy. I did this by running a bead of hot glue around the perimeter of the stem and sticking it to the cardboard.

Emily Snuffer

When I was done glueing, it was time to thread through each light from my light strand. This project is almost complete!

Emily Snuffer

The final step was simply screwing in the white globes.

Emily Snuffer

Emily Snuffer

It will be a nice little touch along with the rest of the reception decorations. And at a total cost of $10, creating it seemed like a no brainer.

It’s good to mark it off the to-do list. :)


xo, emily


6 thoughts on “The Big Day: DIY $10 Marquee Initial

    1. emily @ go haus go Post author

      Ha! I don’t have patience for tracing, cutting out and assembling a 3D letter! Already made was the way to go for me!


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