1" Diameter wood dowels cut to 3"
2 large sheets of Foam Board,** cut to size (2) 3.25" x 12" AND (2) 3.25" x 31.5"
2 pieces of hardboard +, cut to the size 12" x 31"
Scrap piece of wood larger than your hardboard
Drill with a drill bit size of 7/32
220 sanding block
Christmas lights (I used outdoor lights from Home Depot) TEST them first before beginning!
On/off light cord (Home Depot and Lowe's carry these as well.)
2 yellow end caps for electrical wires
Rustoleum Lagoon spray paint
Folk Art Metallic paint in Pearl
Picture wire for hanging
With a pencil, I wrote hello on the smooth side of the hardboard. There were 100 lights on my strand, so I penciled in 100 dots trying my best to evenly place them apart.
Placing my scrap piece of wood under the hello sign, I drilled into the dots going into the smooth side first because the drill pushes the hardboard out of the way. After all holes are drilled, use a 220 sanding block and sand over the top of the hello sign. Sand the edges as well.
Using my cut dowels, I glued them into place using wood glue. ** I placed one in each corner and then I filled in the rest of the board making sure to not get too close to my letters.
Hot glue the foam board to the sides of the hardboard.**
Take your piece outside, and spray paint. Let dry completely. To give it it's iridescent finish, spread a little of the metallic paint over the blue using a paper towel. A little goes a long way, so be careful.
Now it's time to make your Christmas lights available with ON/OFF capabilities.
HOW TO COMBINE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS AND ON/OFF LIGHT CORDS
1. Cut off the end of your swag light. Peel back some of the rubber to expose the copper ends.
2. Cut off one end of your Christmas lights. Peel back some of the rubber to expose the copper ends.
3. Combine one white and one black cord and twist the copper pieces together. Insert into an end cap and turn it tightly to secure the ends. The cap should not fall off. Repeat for other strands.
Now your Christmas lights have an a dial to turn off and on!
Push your Christmas lights through every hole.
To hang, I simply wrapped picture wire around one dowel in the middle and connected it to another dowel on the opposite side. The box is fairly light. Duct tape is great to use to keep the cord from falling out.
+ If you want your back covered, which is something I chose not to do, you will want to cut out a hole in the second piece of hardboard. Your light cord will go through that hole. I would place wood glue on top of the dowels and place the hardboard on top of that. Christmas lights take forever to burn out, but if you are afraid of having to take the back piece off in the near future, I would choose to not use a back at all.
*If you are wanting to make a light that has a curve, you will need to use flexible, bendable material in place of the Foam Board. Vinyl roof flashing or foam may be an option for you, but I have not tried these methods.
** Since I had never made one of these before, I didn't know the best way to approach the project. I just figured things out as I went. One of the things I discovered but did not have time to fix due to time constraints in the contest was that the foam board produces a less than great finished edge. Using what I had on hand, I used Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty. It may not have been the best thing to use to finish my edge for this project, but it got the job done in time for the contest. You may want to take a different approach. One option is you could place the foam board directly onto the hardboard instead of next to it like I did. That way the hardboard covers the top of the foam board, but you will need to glue your wood dowels at least a 1/4" away from the edge to allow room for the foam board. Or you could do as I did and find something to fill in the foam board edge to make it look nicer and more complete.
(My lights are not green and red in the dark, but give off a soft yellow color at night. Very pretty!)
Did I miss something? Very easy for me to do. Just leave me a question if you need help!