After the success of my Boos & Booze sign and Funhouse sign, I thought a new marquee sign would be good to add to the mix. Since this year will be the first year with an experienced bartender at the party, I figured the bar needed an attractive sign to entice libation seeking partygoers. Made with insulation foam as the backing, simple remote controlled marquee lights and some simple techniques to creating a spooky sign.
Tools and Supplies (in no particular order):
- Surfoam Shaver
- Hot wire cutter
- Wood grain tool
- Hot glue gun
- Gorilla glue
- 1.5 inch thick pink insulation foam
- Acrylic paint
- Spray paint
- Painters tape
- Marquee letters
- Hard wire brush
TIP: Gorilla Glue is water activated so make sure you spray some flecks of water on it to activate it!
Let’s jump in. First a real tedious task. I suggest doing this while watching a scary movie. The marquee letters I bought don’t come out and to paint the letters, I had to cover the lights in painters tape. I used a small screwdriver to help get the tape down around the whole bulb….are we having fun yet? I spray painted these alternating black and orange. Let your creative flag fly and go with any color you choose but make sure it can adhere to plastic. Let it dry completely!
While those are on the drying rack let’s cut down some foam. The reason I went with a thick niece of foam is so that it can handle the weight of these letters especially with batteries. So marked out with a marker the size I needed based on the lettering size. Using a hot wire foam cutter I was able to cut the piece with ease and get the size and shape. PLEASE USE THIS TOOL OUTSIDE IN A WELL VENTILATED AREA. The fumes can be overpowering.
Using the foam cutting wand, I then made the deep indentions to indicate the three different pieces of wood. From there I used my handy shaver to shave the sides the board to make it look rough and picked a few places where the letters with live. You don’t have to go crazy since the letters will cover most of it.
Then using a hard wire brush, dig into the board going all the way across to make the wood texture. This is another reason for using a thicker foam. We want to see the lines. Change directions as wood would naturally have those distinct characteristic lines.
Once this are made I use a combination of a dark yellow and rust orange as a base coat. Paint in sections until you get a good look. Once completely dry, used a brown paint over the top. Do in small sections, because you’ll want to drag the wood grain tool across the brown paint to create the grain and knots which will accent the lighter paint colors underneath. Let it fully dry.
Let’s take aaaaaaalll that painters tape off the letters. I found using tweezers really helped. I then lightly marked where each letter would be placed leaving room for a skull.
Because these letters have the battery door on the back I had to find a way to take these letters off the sign to replace the batteries or take them out. I decided to use Velcro as a way to attach them securely but also have the ability to remove the letters when necessary to change the batteries.
I used Gorilla Glue to the side of Velcro that was going up against the foam to give it some extra security and stability. The other side of the Velcro was placed on the letter to meet up with the other Velcro that is on the foam. I gave it the letters a firm hard push onto the foam and let it sit overnight with a large weight on top of each letter.
For the bottle, I took a lightweight water jug that I had lying around and painted it black. Once the black was dry dry brushed it with an off-white to give it an aged look and then glued on a Beetle Juice label I found. You can print the same label I have HERE.
I also wrapped the top of the bottle with some twine I had hanging around to give it another Halloween style look. When it was ready I used to Gorilla Glue again to attach it to the R letter and then used a zip tie to hold the two together to keep them secure and stable until it was primed and dry.
For the skull I used the same Gorilla Glue to attach on the foam and left his mouth open. Place a large weight or clamp on top of the skull to keep it in place while it primes.
Lastly for the liquid coming out of the bottle I used hot glue on parchment paper that was taped on a curved basket to give it shape and definition. Once it was dried completely I painted it with a combination of a fluorescent green and a little bit of yellow paint and then wiped most of it off to give it that translucent liquid look to it. I used hot glue to attach it to the inside of the bottle and skull mouth.
Phew. What a whirlwind! I wish I took more photos of the process but please feel free to reach out if you have additional questions.