Make A Thing: All Lit Up Marquee

Header by Rory Midhani

Header by Rory Midhani

Need some down time and a break from the heat? Turn on the AC, lay some pillows on the floor, and have a little old indoor picnic. The only thing missing? Romantic lighting. Prop this easy marquee against the wall  or sling it up outside for your next BBQ. I made a heart, but try an ampersand or a letter!


You will need:

  • A cardboard box
  • Bistro string lights (I got mine from Target)
  • Scissors and an X-acto knife
  • A pen or pencil


Cut up the cardboard box to make one big square.


On the back, sketch your design (remember to draw it in reverse if you’re doing a letter!).

Count the number of bulbs on your string lights and draw the same number of x’s, evenly spaced, on your design.


Unscrew all the bulbs from your lights.



Cut each “x” all the way through with your X-acto knife, and push each light outlet through the cardboard, from back to front.


Screw all the bulbs back in, plug it in, and bask in the glow!


A note: These bulbs (at least the ones I have) did get warm. My advice? Just keep an eye on your marquee whenever it’s plugged in, and only leave it on for a few hours at a time just to be on the safe side.

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Hannah Clay Wareham

Hannah Clay Wareham blogs about DIY projects, recipes, and inspiration, over at the Homesteady, where Martha Stewart meets Liz Lemon (and LL picks the donut shop).

Hannah has written 18 articles for us.


  1. Maybe it would be good to use a string of Led lights instead(like for newer christmas lights), because they don’t get hot?

    • Good point. I imagine that as long as the bulb is not touching the cardboard it should be fine, but avoiding fire is always a good way to go.

  2. A string of lights lit above a bed is mega-hot as in sexual not as in fire. Don’t make fire. Fire bad.

  3. this is so fun! i have random green christmas lights i accidentally bought last year and I think I might try doing this with them!!

  4. my fave Blake Lively just launched this awesome site and there are several marquee like things I cannot afford. So this project is everything I needed.

  5. I have that grey Ikea rug! Also this is an amazing idea and I totally want to do it to woo my person when she comes to visit me next month :)

  6. Wow, thanks for the inspiration!! I seriously might do a plywood version of this to make like an actual WALL for my boat. Beautiful! xx

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