Ping Pong Ball Marquee Lights

After the success of my DIY ping pong ball lights on our patio, it was an easy jump to consider using the same concept to make vintage theater-style marquee lights. And since I had a handful of ping pong balls left, I set my sights on making a stylish and fun monogram for my son's room.
(STEP 1):  Start by cutting off the face from the paper mache letter with an x-acto knife.
Slide the blade into the edge and carefully follow it along. Go all the way around the letter, then pry up the top and remove.
You can clean up the edges with a piece of fine-grit sand paper. The face and inside cardboard pieces can be discarded and recycled.

(STEP 2):  Measure and mark the placement of lights on the back of the letter.
I started by marking center lines and then marking an "x" for where each light would go. I marked the first light at about 1-1/4" from the top and used the ping pong balls as a guide for spacing out the rest of the lights. It was not at all scientific; I just eyeballed it.
Once I was satisfied with the placement of lights, I cut an "x" with an x-acto knife at the spots indicated. Then I went back and punched a hole using the blunt end of the knife.
Here are a few tips from my experience: (1) easily align lights on the same horizontal line; (2) don't space the "x's" farther than the distance between string lights or else you'll have more lights and wires to hide on the back.

(STEP 3):  Spray paint the letter.
I gave my letter two even coats, and then went back and filled in the nooks and crannies. Be sure to let the letter dry completely before handling.
(STEP 4):  Push string lights through the back of the letter.
Using the same technique as with the DIY ping pong ball lights, cut an "x" along the center line of the ping pong ball with an x-acto knife. Push the ball onto the light.
Now you have your very own touch of Broadway! My son loves having his name up in lights!
You can see how I hung the letters on the wall by visiting the blog (click the link below). They look great sitting on a mantel or bookcase, too.

I'm interested to know, what word would you make? Share your ideas below! Thanks for reading! -- v.

Suggested materials:

  • 12" paper mache letters  (A. C. Moore)
  • Ping pong balls  (http://amzn.to/1XCBAwn)
  • X-acto knife  (http://amzn.to/1OcGmNO)
See all materials

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Vernichel // created by v.

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Kerry Trout
    on Apr 22, 2017

    This is ingenious! It's a gift for anyone and one they surely won't already have! Awesome job!
  • Judith A. Bowen
    on Apr 23, 2017

    Family Dollar sold these without the "Ping Pong Balls" did you get a rites?
    • Vernichel // created by v.
      on Apr 24, 2017

      Would you clarify your question, Judith? I'm not sure what you mean by "a rites"... these DIY marquee lights weren't purchased; they were handmade with cardboard letters, christmas lights and ping pong balls. Let me know if I can answer any more questions. Thanks for reading, Judith! :)

Join the conversation

4 of 24 comments
  • Gle17465133
    on Apr 22, 2017

    ...you can't go wrong on "any" project using what some call cheap Christmas lights...looks great. Thanks for sharing...
    • Vernichel // created by v.
      on Apr 23, 2017

      Some people asked why I didn't use different lights, but I figured lots of people have extra Christmas lights already on hand and might want to put them to work in a new way. That was my motivation! Thanks for reading, Glandarvblessed!

  • Toni Johnson
    on Apr 23, 2017

    Very cute idea!
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