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We are so happy about Peanut's nursery feedback and I am super excited about all the comments and emails, so Thank you!! And just like I promise on that post, here is one of the few projects I had in my drafts, now is the time for one of my favorites: The circus K marquee.

I wanted to make a marquee K because of our last name “Kelley” since Peanut's sex was a surprise and we had decided on two names with different initials. I've seen foam-board tutorials for these cuties, but I wanted something more resistant and lasting, so unlike most of my up-cycled projects this time I wanted wood instead of cardboard or foam-board.

For this project the only thing I bough were the lights ($15.00 with a coupon), everything else was recycled. We had just received our floors and the pallet was laying around our front yard, so I used pieces from the feet of the pallet for the sides and after getting all the nails out I used that board for the K shape.

The very first thing I did was to draw a small version of how I wanted the K, it would have been a lot faster to just select a font that had the look I wanted but at that point the computer screen still made me dizzy so I just went the old way. After I finish the K, I used the same principle I used to escalate the logo in my office wall and enlarge it to the real size I wanted (about 35″ tall)

Se the rest of the post after the jump.

Once I had the template on paper I cut it so I could tape it to my board, it would have been easier to just use a marker, but the lazy pregnant wanted to skip a step =] I carefully cut the board with a jigsaw – I should have just ask Ken to do it, because I ended up cutting the bucket underneath (I can blame my pregnancy clumsiness for that, because I never had anything like that happen to me before)

After I cut the K shape, I used all the little rectangles they had assemble to make the pallet feet and place them on the sides. Because I needed space on the back for the lights I placed 1.5″pieces of wood under the K so that when I glued the side pieces the K would be exactly on the center.

And because at 8 months pregnant I was so uncomfortable, I decided to just work on the floor in front of the garage =] and no one could move me from there! That's what happens when getting up is a very extreme task.

I asked Ken to help me with the angles to finish (to keep me from breaking anything else) I let the wood glue dry for a full day because I added lots of glue in all of the joints.

Once the glue was dry I sanded the whole thing and used calking to fill up and smooth the joints.

Before I cut my K shape I made sure I mark all the little dots where the lights where going to go. I just used a nail and hammer for that. To actually make the wholes I used a drill. I measure the socket of my lights to make the holes as close as possible so that I could have the socket fit tightly on the hole.

And here are my lights in case you were wondering, they give a super nice glow but they are not very strong, perfect for a night light.

I gave it 3 coats of paint (I used the leftover from the closet) and to plug we got an extension cord and add a light switch, of course I had the hardest time finding a switch for the exact cord we got, so I asked my Mom to bring me a few of them from Chile.

I am super happy about how it ended up looking, and it was way less work than the elephant lamp.

So there you go! I hope this can help anyone wanting to go the wood route for a project like this.
I hope you are all having a great day!

ps. If you are one of the hundreds that emailed me in the past few months, know that I am working on my inbox now so I hopefully will get to you shortly (hopefully I'll get down to 0 next week) Penut only cooperates a few days a week =]




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Joy Kelley is a Chilean Designer & lettering Artist. Mom to 3 little boys. Crafter. Pattern lover. Color obsessed. Lemon pie dependent. And the hand behind the HowJoyful Studio & HowJoyful Shop. Read more about her & the blog here →

25 replies
  1. Angie
    Angie says:

    This looks awesome! How did you deal with the two exta bulbs from your string of lights? Are they just in the back?

    • Joy
      Joy says:

      Hi Angie, I just removed the bulbs, placed tape electrical tape on top and left them on the back, as long as they d on’t get in contact with anything is good =] I wish I could have place them in the letter instead but ohh well!

  2. Rosario
    Rosario says:

    I love it! and it’s awesome that you used all recycled materials to make it you are awesome!

  3. Angelica
    Angelica says:

    This is absolutely outstanding! I am so happy I found your blog! My husband and I are finishing a *plethora* of DIY’s, so this one might have to come up next on our list for our baby girl’s room!
    xoxo Angelica

  4. Lisa (Nana to Cashew)
    Lisa (Nana to Cashew) says:

    So excited to see you posted this tutorial! I was so hoping you would :-) LOVE all you’ve done with Conner’s special space. He’s a lucky little man!

  5. Anna
    Anna says:

    So adorable!!! I Luv everything about your baby’s nursery. You inspire me!!! We are having our second baby come Spring and I can’t wait until we start on his or her nursery =)

  6. Linda Marshall
    Linda Marshall says:

    Dear Angie
    What wonderful ideas you have. I’m going to try and do the baby’s name for my Grandchildrens rooms. I love it! With all the fonts available i can have fun designing. I will follow your posts in the future!

  7. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    Hi Joy!

    I LOVE this project! I’m actually thinking about making one myself but with multiple letters instead of just one.

    Could you tell me approximately how long it took you to make this from start to finish so I have an idea of how long it would take me to do this but with five letters.

    Thanks so much! :)


    • Joy
      Joy says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      I remember working on this while I was very very pregnant, so I only worked on it a few minutes, or up to an hour a day, for about a week or two, I was very uncomfortable, si I could only do little bits here and there. I wish you good luck with the project and I would love to see how they turn out!


  8. Lindsey
    Lindsey says:


    My husband and I are in the process of making an L like your K..Can you tell me what kind of switch you used to plug into the lights so you could turn it off/on easily?

  9. Rebecca
    Rebecca says:

    I was wondering if your K is truly 35″ tall? It looks more like 25-30″. I’m trying to make one for an M and the height would help me know if my light bulb separation distance is close to yours. Beautiful job!!

    • Joy
      Joy says:

      Hi Rebecca,

      Yes my K it’s 35″ tall, I just divided the height for the number of divisions and I left the 3 extra bulbs on the back, without the actual bulb covered in electrical tape =]
      I hope this helps you!


  10. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    So i stumbled across this site after searching aimlessly for hours for a DIY Marquee light and I just want to say, that this is by far the greatest looking and best quality.
    Thankyou for posting this otherwise it would be 1am and I’d still be searching!!

  11. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    How did you attach the lights? I just got mine in the mail and they flair out at the top and taper back but the clip on the side peptides farther they the flair. What size hole did you make and how did you fix them in there? Thanks.

  12. Tania Maria
    Tania Maria says:

    Hola, soy de Chile y me encanta todo lo que haces, tienes un talento único.

    Yo también hago manualidades, pero me guio de ideas que saco de internet, espero poder hacer el letrero y que me quede tan lindo como a ti.

    Cariños a la distancia.

  13. Sara J.
    Sara J. says:

    Oh My Gosh! Joy I love it! I am new to your blog…but I will be following it now! I wish I had your talent with wood! I HAVE TO HAVE a K for my Kindergarten Classroom! I seriously HAVE TO HAVE ONE! I can’t cut wood and I need something durable with all the kiddos in my classroom! I wish you lived closer so you could help me!
    Where did you buy your lights? Those would be perfect for my classroom!

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