My Aunt Becky is a wedding planner extraordinaire, or should be! She has helped with mine, my sister’s and cousin’s weddings, so to say I owe her a big favor would be an understatement. When my cousin, her youngest daughter, got married earlier in May; I was asked to make some huge LOVE marquee letters like seen in this cool LOVE picture via Rebecca Douglas – isn’t that stunning! From the dark picture, I can’t tell if the letters are flat or are trimmed out like typical marquee letters.
My Aunt needed the letters freestanding, so I opted to trim the letters. Either way the letters look really cool and are pretty easy to make, just take a little bit of time. They are really big, 40″ tall, and definitely make a statement.
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How to Make DIY Love Marquee Letters from Wood
- 1 – 3/4″ plywood sheet (4’x8′)
- 1 – 5mm (~1/4″) underlayment plywood sheet
- 1 – 2.7mm (~1/8″) utility panel sheet
- 1″ brad nails or staples
- wood glue
- spackle* or wood filler
- scrap wood
- 4 strands of string lights
- 1-1 1/4″ screw
- Brad nailer or stapler
- 7/8″ spade bit* or whatever size fits your lights
- Table saw or circular saw (for optional trimming)
- HomeRight* paint sprayer
- These are the tools that I used, use whatever works best for you.
On the sheet of 3/4″ plywood, measure and mark the location of the LOVE letters.
To mark out the O, I used a piece of scrap wood to make a compass of sorts. Drill a hole the size of a pencil near one end, a hole 10″ from the first hole and 18″ from the first hole.
Use a screw and place the end of the ‘compass’ in one of the two marks on the plywood. Place a pencil in either the 10″ or 18″ hole and mark a half circle, change to the other hole and mark another half circle. Change the screw to the other compass location and repeat. Use a ruler and mark straight lines on the edge of the half circles.
Letters marked out on the plywood.
Use a jigsaw to cut out the letters. To cut out the center of the O, drill a hole in the O center large enough that the jigsaw blade will fit, and cut out the donut hole.
Letters cut from the plywood, they are starting to look cool.
Next is to drill holes in the letters for the lights. You can space the lights however you want, but this is how I placed mine. The lights are all 4″ apart. Measure the diameter of the light sockets, mine with the clip needed a 7/8″ diameter hole. Drill holes for the lights.
I used a drill and 7/8″ spade bit to drill the holes. The letters can be used like this, if you don’t want to add the trim around the edges.
I added trim around the plywood letters to give them a marquee look. I cut the 5mm (~1/4) underlayment sheet in strips that are 5 1/4″ wide. If you cut it the short way (48″) you’ll need about 11 strips. Cut the strips to fit your letters, but the following diagrams will give you a guide. After I cut each piece, I marked the center, applied wood glue and used a brad nailer to attach the strip to the plywood letter edge. (I think a stapler may work better, because sometimes the small brad nail head would go through the plywood. However most of the time the brad nails worked fine.)
The LVE were easy to put the trim around. When I got the the O, I realized the 5mm plywood wouldn’t bend as much as I hoped. I found a sheet of 2.7mm utility plywood that bends fairly easily. I cut the 2.7mm sheet into strips 5 1/4″ wide (6-7 strips).
I applied 2 layers of the 2.7mm strips to make the O look the same as the other letters.
To keep the O from rolling away, I nailed a couple of pieces of 5 1/4″ scrap wood to the bottom. I ‘love’ how the turned out :-), they really are fun. Next I filled any gaps with spackle, let that dry and sanded it smooth.
I primed the letters with Zinsser primer, then painted them with Behr Ultra Pure White paint. The paint sprayer made painting so easy with all of those corners.
Once the paint dried, I removed the bulbs from the string light sockets and placed them in the holes.
The string light wiring is in parallel, they will work without all of the light bulbs in the sockets. I used the excess string light wire as an extension cord to the power strip/surge protector. I replaced the bulbs into the socket and the letters are ready to go!
I did add ‘feet’ to the letters because the wedding was near a canyon and I was a little concerned about wind.
A look down the aisle.
Gorgeous mountain backdrop.
After the ceremony the party moved inside for dinner. Later in the evening, the ceremony space became the dance floor and the letters really began to shine.
The flames near the bottom are a s’more bar for those taking a break from dancing.
Thanks for pinning!