diy ampersand marquee light


As stated yesterday, I am absolutely loving the industrial style and have big plans on incorporating it more into my home. I’ve loved industrial inspired design for years, but never felt like it went with my house. With our dining room makeover last year I now feel like it gives me an opportunity to lean towards the industrial side of things a bit more.

With lots of help from Curtis, I made this ampersand marquee light. Which in turn, led to this industrial inspired mantel. Which I’m kind of in love with.

industrial inspired mantel w/ ampersand marquee


So here’s how to make the ampersand marquee light. We started with quarter inch chip board. Curt drew the ampersand then cut it out using a jigsaw. We drilled 3/4 inch holes for the lights. At first we had 1/2 inch holes then realized they were too small and had to make them bigger. That’s why more than a few of them are mangled, I was struggling.

chipboard ampersand


I cut poster board into strips 3 1/2 inches wide for the sides of the ampersand.

posterboard strips



I made sure to get nice, crisp folds in the poster board. It helped the strips look and fit better around the ampersand.

attach poster board strips



I used packing tape to attach the poster board strips to the chip board. The ampersand sits about 2 1/2 inches deep with about an inch of poster board on the back.

tape the poster board



It’s all ready for some painting!

ready to paint




The ampersand received a few coats of glossy navy blue. And boy, does it look great!

navy blue ampersand



Waiting for the paint to completely dry was almost painful. I couldn’t wait to get the lights in!



I had a strand of 25 lights and that’s also how many holes were in my ampersand. Curt planned it out perfectly. Once the lights were screwed in, I taped down the cords on the back of the ampersand.
ampersand back


And here’s the lighted beauty!



As fantastic as the ampersand looks all lit up, it’s still pretty amazing without the lights on. The glossy sheen of the paint makes it appear like it’s made of metal.

ampersand marquee light


I added a few other elements to give my mantel an industrial look; a chalkboard ampersand, an industrial photo that Curt took, a stack of vintage books and a few globes under a glass cloche.

industrial inspired mantel w/ ampersand marquee light



ampersand marquee light


industrial inspired mantel w/ ampersand marquee


I’d love to hear any thoughts you have…



Until next time….












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  • Lauren Schroer

    I love this so much!! I’m obsessed with ampersands and really want to make one of these!

  • Kristin Smith

    what kind of light bulbs are those? I’ve never seen larger bulbs on a string. any advice on where to get them?

  • vintagecacao

    Thank you so much for this step by step DIY, my boyfriend and I just made a red one – it looks amazing! I’ll soon be posting about it on my blog (in French) and referring to your article. Again, thank you – I share the same industrial furniture love đŸ˜‰

  • Georgina Getliffe

    Hi I’ve just read this and think its brilliant, but like a comment below I’m not sure where to get the lights from? I’ve looked and can’t find them! Do they have a specific name? Where did you get yours?

  • kieleantra

    Not only am I a type nerd and have been wanting one of these for a while, I also noticed the Tardis bottle in one of your photos. Made this post that much better! đŸ˜€

    • Meg

      Well thanks. It’s also nice to meet a fellow Whovian.