Sunday, November 16, 2014

DIY Glitter Marquee Letters (On The Cheap) + What I've been up to

Holy Cow. Has it really been a little over half a year since I delved into the world of blogging? I've been absent for about six months and, like Lucy, I got some 'splaning to do. Shortly after I started this sweet little thing I switched jobs and while it gave me a regular schedule (hallelujah!) I somehow still felt like I had little time in the day. During the transition I was so zapped that my crafting fell by the wayside and before I knew it I was flying out to Seattle for a wedding.
The beautiful couple's nuptials took place at the Seattle Arboretum and goodness was it lovely. After the ceremony we indulged in some awesome homemade wine, food, and friendship. Of course, by the end of the night, things got silly with the photo booth I had set up. I'm not sure where the hawk came from, and I'm not complaining or anything, but it was definitely a staple of the night.
Two of my favorite dudes helped me test it out
Following a recovery day, we traveled to the wonderful Lopez Island for a short while. I'm not going to lie... Given the ginormous mosquito bites I'd obtained earlier and the ferry ride over I was not entirely sold on the idea of setting up camp on rock in the middle of a bunch of water. I'm not not an outdoors-y person, but I'm not exactly Bear Grylls either.

I mean, I guess those views weren't terrible. 4 days was not enough, but quicker than hopping out of the shower and under a huge pile of blankets on the bed (I hope I'm not the only one to do that) our time on the island came to an end. If you ever go there, I highly recommend visiting Shark's reef. We searched for sea glass, cool rocks, and probably made someone at the TSA hate us a whole lot. 
 Those colors are unreal! As much I hated to leave that cove, I had to explore the other must see area according to Spencer. I'm not sure why I was surprised he had an itch to go considering it was named "Spencer's Spit State Park". Apparently he had good reason, however, because HE PROPOSED! That's right, I'm getting hitched! I might have holed up for a few days drafting wedding plans and delving into Pinterest, but let's not focus on that part right now. 
My future brother and sister-in-law were apparently in on it and caught a snap of the moment. It was absolutely perfect.

The ring!
Wow, you've stuck through a really long post. Like, longer than I expected it to be. So, uh, I guess give yourselves a gold star and promptly run to Target to buy a reward. I suppose I should also reward you, so, without further ado, here is how you can make your own Glitter Marquee letters for the holidays for less than $20!

Target holiday blanket not included, this is everything you will need:
  • Paper Mache/Cardboard letters- I got mine from JoAnn's for about $2 a piece with a coupon
  • Christmas lights- about $3 from Walmart for a strand of 100. You may need more if you do a longer word, or you could even do the globe lights. They're pricier for sure but would most definitely give you a more authentic marquee look. I'm a little more frugal (read: broke) than that, so I settled for a plain Jane sort of thing. 
  • Glitter- Ah, the herpes of craft supplies. Thank goodness I have a Dyson otherwise my carpet would be done for. 
  • Spray paint
  • An Xacto knife
  • Modge Podge
  • A Paintbrush
  • A trash bag 
  • A box- It doesn't have to be a beer case, a regular moving box would do well if not better, and you don't have to drink all of it before you use it but if you do we're not going to judge. You do you, cupcake.

First, you'll want to cut out the backs of your letters. Obviously some one with more common sense that I would be very careful when handling a sharp blade, but I somehow ended up with several scrapes and close calls. That being said, to help ya'll keep your fingers, you will want to cut slightly inside the outline. There is no real need to get it right on the edge as the back will be hidden later on anyway. Go ahead and discard the stabilizers that are inside as well as any spare scraps.
Next, go ahead and mark out where you would like your lights to go. I left 3/4 of an inch between the outer edge, and 1 inch between each light. Feel free to make your life easier and knock this out with a drill but if you're too tired to think straight, or if you drank that whole case of beer (you party animal!), go ahead and take a break now because this requires some coordination. Since I did not have a drill available, I just cut little X's on each light marker and then poked the tip of a number #2 pencil in the opening. Make sure you get it wide enough for the lights to go through but not large enough that the pencil can slide through! I might have broken a few lights on the way to that realization.
Make sure any curious kittens are wrangled and proceed onward. Cut your garbage bag down the seams and unfold it to act as a dropcloth. You could easily do this outside if you wanted, but this is Iowa and as much as I love Christmas, I hate the cold. 
Paint those suckers. Don't worry too much about the front- you're going to cover it in glitter shortly. Be sure to get the sides evenly with several light layers of paint in the color of your choosing. This could be achieved with acrylic paint if you choose, but trust me, the spray paint helps with the even coverage a heck of a lot more. 
If you're waiting for the sparkle, go ahead and unleash all the glitter you would like over a generous layer of Modge Podge. If you want to help make sure it doesn't flake off easily so you can not only contain the mess but also keep this decoration around for a while, mix up some Modge Podge and glitter and paint over the letter after it's dried from the first round. Spraying Shellac or a similar aerosol sealant would probably be a godsend here. Do yourself another favor while you're at it and use a cookie sheet or newspaper as your base. I cannot stress this enough, but you WILL. Get. Glitter. EVERYWHERE. 
Once your letters are completely dry (patience young grasshopper) use your handy #2 pencil to poke back through the holes you made otherwise you could break some lights and they only give you two extras. May the odds be ever in your favor.
Push the lights through making sure you go straight down the line. I had to leave two lights between the "M" and "E" to make sure I could start over at the top without too much overlap. I used paperclips to hold some wires in place as well as to connect the letters a little better. Do what you want, but don't come crying to me when your lights fall over and glitter is rained upon you like confetti on new years eve. ;) If you're using the globe lights you will probably need fewer because of their size, but you can put them in by unscrewing the globe, pushing the light through, and then reattaching. 
 When you're ready, find a place to perch your holiday cheer (You may need an extension cord) and light it up!
Happy Holidays! Here's to hoping I am able to share more crafts before the New Year- I have no intention of waiting 6 months again, so be sure to subscribe so that you may keep up!