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Could my husband and I do a DIY? Yvonne’s (editor visual strands) question wasn’t that unexpected. After having extensively renovated two houses, and doing other big and small DIY’s for our home and my Allihoppa blog, we were already used to making things together. Although we often take turns in both despairing and being overly critical, we almost always end up with a good result.

So anyway, a DIY. Lucas had a metal sheet lying around for years, it got left over from fixing the car. (he once sawed the car in half and inserted a piece in the middle – no kidding.) I really wanted to make a marquee letter: you know, one of those big letters with lights that are so popular right now. So when Yvonne asked us to do a DIY, we decided to dust off this project.

I chose the letter A (Annelies, Allihoppa, you get it) and we drew the letter on the metal together. Lucas insisted that I’d try cutting the A with an angle grinder, but the thing was just too heavy and unwieldy so eventually I left it up to him (I told you we take turns in despairing). I did clean the metal with a steel wire brush and drill the holes though. Machines don’t scare me! Lucas welded everything together, and I applied the paint. So that’s how you do a DIY together (or mostly alternating autonomously ;)).


Want to make a Marquee Letter too?

This is what you’ll need:

A metal sheet for the letter, 1-2 mm thick.
Narrower strips for the sides, 11 cm wide (same as the width of the legs) and 1-2 cm thick.
Angle grinder and (attachable) steel wire brush.
Welding tool.
Right angle tool.
Degreaser (Dasty/Brake cleaner, for example) and a paper towel.
Metal spray primer.
Metal spray paint.
String lights.
Glue gun.


How to make it:



The legs on our letter A are 11 cm wide and 90 cm high.
Draw the letter on a metal sheet, using a right angle tool to ensure that the letter is nice and straight.
Draw the centre of the letter first. From there, measure 7 cm to the right and to the left. The legs should be 11 cm wide.



Also draw 11 cm from the top. Then draw a line from the bottom to the top.
Do the same at the other side.
There, also draw the line down.



Then draw the inner triangle at 40 cm from the bottom.



Measure 11 cm up for the top of the triangle.
Cut the letter with the angle grinder.
Attach a steel wire brush to your angle grinder and brush the metal clean.



Degrease all metal parts using a degreasing agent and a paper towel.
Drill holes in the letter (our Christmas light string has 40 lights, so I drilled 40 holes). Make sure the distance between the holes equals the distance between the lights on the string. Use a drill which is slightly bigger than the light, so it can shine through properly.



Sand the back of the letter to remove metal burrs.
Now it’s time to add the side strips to the inner shape of the letter. There are two options:

1. Fold the strip around the shape, this only works well with very thin metal. Folding is much easier if you clamp the strip between two pieces of wood. Clamping works better for the outside than the inside, in case of trouble go for option 2. And of course everything is easier using a hammer ;-)

2. Cut each/most strips separately for each side of the letter and weld the ends together so they become a continuous form.



Weld the strip along the outside of the letter by first measuring the middle of the strip and then welding it to the letter there.



Degrease everything again.
Spray the letter evenly with a metal primer. Multiple layers are better than one thick coat. Leave to dry.
Then spray the letter in the colour of your choice and leave to dry again.



Use your glue gun to glue the lamps in front of the holes.



Place the marquee letter somewhere nice and admire your work!


Annelies is the owner of A Dutch blog filled with DIY’s, recipes, hotspots and interviews with creatives. Website:

Translation (from Dutch): Yvonne de Jonge.
Curious about the Dutch version? Annelies posted it on Allihoppa now too: view here.