Thursday, March 13, 2014

DIY Marquee Arrow Light Tutorial

Welcome!  We are finally sharing the DIY version of our marquee light arrows with you.  Happy day, happy day! This tutorial does have a lot of pictures in it to hopefully help you understand the process.  If at any point you need help please message us at and we will gladly help you along the way.  

A few helpful tips....
1. Don't over think craft projects!  Many times we grab whatever is available to finish off a project.  They are never perfect nor do they need to be.  

2. There is usually always more than one tool that will give you the same result.  For example in this tutorial you will need a saw. You can use any saw that cuts a straight line.  The 3 we have used are a table saw, jig saw and chop saw.  

3. Most lumber stores will make cuts for you! So don't feel like you cannot do this project because YOU CAN!! 

Embrace your creative side and lets get started!

Here are your basic supplies needed
1. A 36"x 24" or larger piece of 1/8" MDF or another type of flat board for your base.
2. 4-8' pieces of 1"x2" pine (they call them 1 by 2's) 
3. Tape measure or yard stick
4. Wood glue or liquid nails
5. Drill with 13/16 paddle bit 
6. Miter saw to cut 45 degree angles for the trim (or way to cut 45 degree angles).
7. Any type of saw to cut straight lines. 
8. Pin nail gun and nails or you can use screws and wood glue. 
9. 1 set of 25 count string globe lights.  We get ours at for $12.99.
10. Zip ties (5-8) and scissors
11. Paint of your choice
12. heavy duty D-rings for hanging
13. Start with pattern that is in the next step. 

Start with a piece of paper that is at least 11" tall and 22" wide.  I taped together 3 letter size pieces of paper for this.  Fold it in half and measure 10" on the creased side and 10" on the bottom.  

Take something straight or a yard stick and draw a line from one mark to the other.  

Cut along the line that you have drawn and it will give you the top part of your arrow pattern.  It should measure 20" across and 10" from the tip of the arrow to the bottom. 

For the bottom half of the arrow you can make a pattern or just draw it directly onto your MDF.  Either way works.  Just make sure that if you draw it directly on you leave enough room for the top half of the pattern to be drawn on as well. 

Measure a 24" by 6" rectangle. 

If you did not draw this directly onto the MDF use your pattern and trace the bottom half onto the MDF. 

Trace your top arrow pattern onto the MDF.

Cut both pieces out with the saw of your choice.  

Once you have your base then cut out all of your 1x2 pieces.  
You do not cut the trim pieces yet just the center. 
You will cut in this order 
4- 35" pieces
2- 2" pieces
2- 3 1/2 " pieces
2- 5" pieces 
2- 6 1/2" pieces
2- 8" pieces
If you cut in this order then it is easier.  If you start with all of the big pieces first cutting the smaller pieces can be difficult. 

Line up your base and put your glue or liquid nails on it.  Do not worry about centering it yet that is the next step. 

Start with 2 of the 35" pieces line one up with the side of the bottom part of the arrow and the second one in so that the end is at the tip of the arrow.   This is what centers your arrow and you can build off of it. 

Start adding your pieces to each side.  Begin with the 8" then go down ending with the 2" piece on each side. 

Make sure you line up the bottom of the 1x2's with the bottom edge of the top part of the arrow and the bottom part of the arrow.

When you have all of your pieces all glued on and dry (dry is very important) trim the top part of the arrow using the back side base as your guide.  It is just a straight line. 

Next you are going to mark where your holes will be drilled. 
You can mark directly on to your arrow. 

Start 1" in from the side all the way around the arrow.
Mark the bottom half first starting with the bottom corners.
Each mark on the bottom is 1" from the sides and 4" apart.  With a total of 14 spots on the bottom half of the arrow. 

The top half is more specific.  Start with the center tip 1" down and then go straight down the middle 4" make a mark and then 4" down from there.  Those marks should be directly down the center part of your arrow.  

Start on either side building off of the top center mark of your arrow staying 1" from the edge make a mark at 4" away from the center mark then 3 1/2" from the second mark then 3 1/4" away from your third mark.  This should put you at a bottom tip of the arrow. From here go in towards the center and make a mark 4" in.  The do the exact same process on the other half of the arrow tip.  This should give you 25 marks across the entire arrow.  Refer to the above pictures as a reference point. 

Now comes the trim.  Most cuts are straight and instead of measuring you will use the actual arrow to make your cut marks.  You turn your 1x2 on its side, line it up with the arrow and make your mark, then cut.  You do each side on the bottom first and the very last bottom piece.  Once this is done you will move onto the top half of your arrow. 

The top half of the arrow is the one thing you need to be able to cut a 45 degree angle with. Again you use the actual arrow to measure out your pieces starting with the tip of the arrow.  The following photos show you how to place the pieces together. 

Once your trim is done you drill your holes.  It is best make sure something is underneath the arrow as you drill through.  We use a table with a scrap piece of wood on it.  This will help you avoid breaking pieces.  Sometimes the drill can be a little harsh and pop up a piece.  Just use your wood glue or liquid nails to put it back on.  Not a big deal. 

At this point you will sand and paint your arrow with your most favorite color!  While your paint is drying get your lights ready.  Take them out of the box and unscrew the bulbs from the string. Make sure you put the bulbs somewhere safe.  
On the bottom of each socket is a little clip that has to be removed. 

Once all of the clips are removed you are ready start 
putting them in your arrow. 

Start with a bottom corner on the back side of the arrow.  You can start with either end of the string lights.  Put a bulb in each one as you go along. 

Putting the bulbs in will hold your cords into place.  Make sure the bulbs are in straight or they will not light up.  If you plug your lights in and one is not working, unscrew it and put it back in.  That usually fixes the problem. 

You string it all from bottom to top, then back down to the bottom so your cords end up like this. 

To keep the cords from being seen from the front use zip ties. 

Get a group of cords pull them to the center and then zip tie them.  We recommend this method
 over using a staple gun so you don't ruin your cord. 

Hopefully at this point you are done and have something that 
looks like this!

Happy Creating!!! 
Shannon & Mandy 

To find out more about our monthly craft classes and our upcoming boutique March 28-29, 2014 in Spanish Fork please go to our facebook page 


  1. Thank you!!!!! I have been dying for one of these!!!

  2. I love Studio 5 but found your sight last week. Planning on trying to make a arrow soon.

    1. Thank you! Send us a picture when you get it done :)