DIY Marquee Letter

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Cut Out the Letter

If you’re into the whole industrial chic thing, we have the perfect project for you! Lighted marquee signs and letters are hot right now and we can show you how to make your own for a fraction of the price that a vintage or custom made sign will cost you.

For this project we will construct a lighted marquee letter and apply a really cool and unique rusty metallic finish using Modern Masters® paint and activator. This paint is interesting because it allows you to add an authentic rusty finish to wood or other products without actually having to work with metal. Pretty cool.

Painting the marquee letterLet’s get started. First, we lay out the letter that we intend to cut out onto ¾” plywood. Next, we cut out our letter with a jigsaw. Jigsaws are an easy power tool to get started with even if you’re not a natural woodworker. They are easy to control, can be inexpensive to purchase, and are relatively safe to operate as compared to circular saws, which can be pretty intimidating for first time users. If your sign or letter has areas that need to be cutout that are circular in nature, you may have to drill an access hole the same size or larger than your jigsaw blade to get started.

Once our letter is nicely cut from the plywood, we’ll sand the edges smooth. You don’t have to go for perfection here, we’re going to be giving this piece a finish that makes it appear as if it’s been weathering for years. Just smooth it up to remove the ragged edges and remove the chance for splinters.


Now we’ll add our paint. We used Modern Masters® Metal Effects Iron paint. Apply the paint to the letter per the package instructions. Once dry, spritz the piece with the MM rust activator. Soon you’ll see the rust begin to form. Amazing.

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Cut Out the Letter

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Laura Locke

Laura works alongside her husband at their furniture painting and repair business, Turning Leaf Crafts in Covington, TN. You can visit their website to learn more and follow along as they blog about their adventures in the world of repurposed furniture.