Thursday, January 22, 2015

Carnival Marquee Letters

For Addy's Elmo Carnival, I really wanted to have marquee lights.  I decided to try my hand at making these myself.  Well, it eventually worked out, but I learned a lot along the way.  The "learning"...yeah, well, some of it should have been common sense.  I blame baby brain.  You can still get away with that 2 months post baby, right?  How about 6 months?  Or like forever? ; )  

Anyway, I started with these globe lights that I bought on clearance at Target after last Christmas.  I had bought them initially to string up outside for an outside party, but never had an outside party so much to my husband's delight...these were sitting in his man garage still in the box.  : )  

Hobby Lobby has unfinished letters for a little over $2 a piece.  Quite the steal.  I took these plain unfinished letters & painted them pink to go along with the party & because as most 3 year old girls...Addy loves pink.  So first step & this was key, I made sure that I knew the total number of lights I had.  The last thing I wanted to do was get a bunch of holes drilled & then not have enough lights or vice versa.  Then I played around a bit with how many lights I wanted on each letter.  I had 50 lights total, so I just divided those up around 12 or 13ish a letter.  Some letters seemed like they needed more, some less.  I was only spelling out Addy thank goodness since we all know my skills are a little lacking in the math department.  
I first made tiny drill holes with a smaller drill bit to make sure I had everything planned out.  This is what the tiny holes looked like.  Then, I used the biggest drill bit that my husband had & still had to alter that later (spoiler alert...I had to redrill, more on that in a minute).  Then I started attaching the bulbs.
I just took the bulbs apart & attached them through the hole in the wood.  (You can see the bigger drilled holes here).
Luckily these lights came with clips attached to them, so I could tuck the cords into the clips so they wouldn't show through the letters.
Here is what they looked like when all the bulbs were attached.  I was going to run the cord back behind the paper fan decorations so I made sure to have the lowest corner of the "Y" in "ADDY" be where I ended with the lights.
Now after you have all of your lights attached to your letters, the reasonable thing to do would be to plug in your lights & make sure they all work before hanging.  Not to go ahead & hang them.  Do you think that is what I did?  Of course not, that would be too easy.
Here is when I spent like 20 minutes hanging up these suckers & making sure they were even...only to plug them in & they wouldn't work.  What is not pictured here is the sheer rage I felt in that moment when the lights didn't work.  What was the problem?  Oh, the lights weren't touching enough of the green plastic things that hold the lights (surely there is a word for that, but I don't know it).  So what did I do?  Take it all down & take it all apart.  Then I drilled every hole bigger (I had to use the biggest drill bit & sort of move it around in a circle to carve out a big enough hole), restrung every light, retucked every cord & then rehung every letter.  AHHHHHH.  Yeah, I was about to lose my mind, but in the end it worked out & looked cute.  Here is the for-real finished project.
And here are the lights when they actually worked!  Yay!!!
My biggest advice, when you drill that very first hole, stick a light in there & cut the lights on to make sure that they have enough "connection" so you don't find yourself in a rage.  If you take out that blunder on my part, this project really wasn't that difficult or time consuming.  And they really did turn out cute.  Ok people, learn from my ridiculous mistakes & go make some letters. : )

See Other Posts About This Party

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