DIY Carboard Light-Up sign

DIY Carboard Light-Up sign

(Originally found on


I have always loved these signs, but they can be very expensive to buy at the store. They are very simple and cheap to make out of cardboard though!


Here are the materials you’ll need for this project:


  • Cardboard boxes
  • Scissors
  • Exacto knife
  • Ruler
  • Tape
  • Cutting mat or surface you are comfortable cutting on (you may accidentally cut into this surface)
  • Hole Punch
  • Cardstock or thick paper
  • Letter templates- you can print these out yourself from your favorite block letters 
  • Modge Podge
  • Paint brush or popsicle stick
  • Spray Paint
  • String Lights




  1. Choose what you want your sign to say, and print out your block letters. For a small sign you can do 2 block letters to a page, or for a bigger sign you can do one letter per page, or print letters on bigger sheets of paper if your printer can accommodate it. 


  1. Lay out your printed letters on the cardboard on the cutting mat. Tape them down in the corners. Line up the ruler and cut through the paper and cardboard so you cut the letters out of the cardboard completely.

  1. Once all the letters are cut out, use a hole punch to punch evenly spaced holes around the letter. Do this for all letters. You want to put as few holes as possible, but enough that the letter can be identified with the lights.


  1. Once your letters are all hole-punched, cut 2-inch thick strips from your cardstock paper. Wrap these pieces around each letter, using the modge podge to secure the paper to the edges of the cardboard letters. Continue this process for all of the letters. You may or may not need multiple pieces of cardstock per letter. You may get frustrated with the delicate nips and tucks that are required to surround each letter, but be patient. Make sure you are letting the paper and glue set before you try to manipulate the paper further.

  1. Once your letters are all put together, place them in a box , or spray-paint safe area that is well ventilated and paint them your desired color. If you do not have access to spray paint, you can paint your letters with a paint brush and whatever type of paint you want. If you have to use this method, it might be easier to paint the cardboard before you attach the outside cardstock.


  1. Once all of the letters are painted and completely dry, start undoing the light bulbs from the string (take the light bulb itself out carefully). Take the first letter in your phrase and insert the lightbulb in the hole (it may take some nudging) and then secure the socket of the string lights back in on the other side of the cardboard. Be sure to insert the bulb back into the socket of the light string securely.

  1. After every letter is done, check to make sure all the light bulbs were securely fastened back in.



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Teagan Capek
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