Marquee Love Letters – ADDING THE BORDER:
We’re another step closer to finishing the DIY Marquee Love Letters for our wedding and I’m not going to lie, adding the border was probably the toughest part of making these letters. Mainly, bending the borders into the inner E and V was rough.
But don’t worry, once you get through this part of the DIY Marquee Love Letters, you’re through the tough stuff and almost finished. You’ll be so happy with the final product and how beautiful this thing turns out, you won’t even think twice about this part of the process!
Ok… ok… That may not be completely true… I’m not going to lie… there may come a time when you get so frustrated with this part of adding the border that you’re ready to scream! You’ll need to take a break and come back – but that’s OK. I’ve been there. Trust me. It’s not going anywhere. Plus it works out in the end and you’ll have an amazing finished project.
[warning]Note: As you prepare to work with the aluminum flashing – BE CAREFUL! This stuff will give you so many tiny cuts, and you won’t even realize it until you see the blood on your fingers. For extra precaution, you could wear a pair of thin work gloves…. or just keep a rag and band aids around like we did ;)[/warning]
[accordion title=”Step 1: Cut the Aluminum Flashing”]
Step 1: Cut the Aluminum Flashing
Measure the edges of your letters, and then cut the aluminum flashing to the appropriate lengths to match. Allocate an additional 1/4″ for every bend in the border just to make sure you have enough flashing to overlap the ends to make sure there’s no gap.
[accordion title=”Step 2: Measure Your Guidelines”]
Step 2: Measure Your Guidelines
After you’ve cut your flashing, now take a ruler and measure a 1/2″ inch wide strip down the middle of the flashing, which ends up being about 23/4” from the edges (just measure this equally on each side) – mark your lines with a sharpie. This will serve as the guideline for you to line up the edge of the letters evenly down the middle of the aluminum flashing for the border.
[accordion title=”Step 3: Marking Your Pilot Holes”]
Step 3: Marking Your Pilot Holes
Now that you’ve made your 1/2″ wide strip down the middle of the aluminum flashing, use a nail and a hammer to apply pressure and make a small mark every 4-6 inches along the middle. These dots will help keep you on track as you nail in the border in later steps.
[accordion title=”Step 4: Connecting the Flashing”]
Step 4: Connecting the Flashing
We started with the letter “O” because we thought it would be the easiest – and the outer edge of the letter was the simplest of all of them. Line up the edges of the letter to match between the sharpie lines we marked on the inside of the aluminum flashing.
I worked with Kevin on a tag team approach for this part of the project. Nailing in the border to the edges of the letters was definitely the most challenging part of this entire thing, but we were able to add the flashing to all of the letters in about 2+ hours. It took around 30-40 minutes per letter, with the E taking the most time.
Kevin hammered the nails every 6 inches or so just to get the flashing attached, while I held the flashing aligned to the edges of the letters. After that, we went back and hammered in more frequent nails in between the ones holding it together, so that now there were nails every 2-3 inches apart.
This is where those pilot holes you marked earlier come in handy in making sure you are lining up the holes with the edge of the letter!
You can use a Q-Tip dipped in rubbing alcohol to wipe off any sharpie lines that might be exposed on the inside of the flashing.
[accordion title=”Step 5: Creasing the Edges”]
Step 5: Creasing the Edges
We used the putty knife talked about in the supplies list to make a nice even line of pressure to crease the bends in the aluminum flashing for each of the corners of the letters.
As you can see, my creases were not exactly matching up perfectly, but you really couldn’t see that it was that far off.
I’m not saying it looked bad, but it definitely wasn’t perfect. The great thing about these homemade marquee letters though is that all the little imperfections just made them that more custom to the experience Kevin and I had making them!
We started at the bottom of most of the letters (you can see above how we started at the bottom of the “V” with the flashing) so that any overlap would show on the bottom of the letter.
Now, for the center of the “V” it was very difficult to get a hammer in there. At first, we tried using a tiny bit of the Gorilla glue and the all-in-one clear glue that we had on hand, but that wasn’t really working as well as I had hoped. I wanted to avoid using too much Gorilla glue that might expand out the edges. It kept the surfaces together, but it was not a strong enough hold to make me feel like it would travel well for our roadtrip to SC for the wedding.
We decided to turn the hammer on it’s side and hammer a nail in as far down the inner crease as possible.
It worked really well and we were able to get pretty close to the crease. This made me feel like it was really secure and that I wouldn’t have to worry about it for the trip.
[accordion title=”Step 6: Finishing the ‘E'”]
Step 6: Finishing the “E”
You can see the “E” had a ton of creases, so it was bar far the most difficult. We used a pair of pliers to hold the nails as we hammered them when we got into the nooks of the “E” which definitely saved our fingers!
In the areas that were harder to reach, I ended up bending them with my hands instead of using the putty knife just because it was a little easier and I did a pretty good job eyeballing to make it a straight line.
[accordion title=”Step 7: Overlapping the Ends”]
Step 7: Overlapping the Ends
Finally you’ve made it all the way around the letter – congrats! The last thing was to make sure the ends of the aluminum flashing were secured, and I’m not only talking about the middle nailed into the wood. I’m also referring to the edges. We didn’t want any of the edges flapping around, so for extra stability, we glued the ends together where they overlapped and used painters tape to hold them together until the glue dried.
So that’s it! See… it wasn’t that bad, right????
I don’t have a photo of the letters with just the aluminum borders completed… I think we were too excited and just went straight into adding the lights.
Let me know if you have any questions about this process… it was the most challenging section but the end result was worth it!!!
DIY Marquee Love Letters ♦ How-To Instructions: