Adam Carmichael from Santa Cruz Bible Church in Santa Cruz, CA brings us this awesome typographic stage design.

From Adam: This stage design was built specifically for our current sermon series. We wanted to incorporate the typeface from the series and also use LED strip lighting. We decided to cut the letters out of plywood, build a box around that and light it with the LED strips. The font we used is called Naive Deco Sans, for anyone interested.


  • 3 sheets of ¾” pine plywood – $95
  • 3 sheets of ⅜” plywood – $45
  • 4 2×3 pine studs – $8
  • 1 quart of stain – $8
  • 1 gallon white paint – $23
  • 4 LED strip light kits (we used http://amzn.to/2mTYweH) – $85
  • Scrap 2×4 – free

Total cost: $264

Building Steps:

First we ripped one sheet of the ¾” plywood in half lengthwise, and then laid out the rest of the ¾” plywood on the floor so it was effectively 16’ long a 6’ tall. We pinned that together temporarily with scrap wood and then stood it up to work on sketching out the design on it. We used an old school overhead projector to project our printed transparency design onto the plywood and used a pencil to trace out the design, mostly using a straight edge.

After the design was sketched out, we laid the plywood back down and split it back into four parts (two 4×8 sheets and the two ripped 2×6 sheets). We then used a circular saw and a jigsaw to cut out all the letters and lines.

After all the cutting was done, we started from one side and connected all 4 sheets back together with scrap plywood, taking special notice of weak spots. Once the sheets were properly attached, we used scrap 2×4 to build an edge all the way around the plywood design and used shorter 2×4 scraps for strategically placed supports on the inside of the design. The 2x4s were screwed to the plywood using 2” screws at an angle, ‘toe-nail’, being careful not to screw through the front plywood face.

Then we laid out the LED strip light and attached it to the backside of the lettered plywood, using it’s own self-adhesive (which worked very nicely). After that, we painted the ⅜” plywood white and screwed that to the 2×4 frame, enclosing the whole box, white side in. After that was finished, the whole box was carried up the stage and we screwed on 2×3 legs and supports. Finally, the front was stained, which really helped the illuminated letters to pop.

We were really happy with the result, and it only took a day and a half with a couple people to build the whole thing.

4 responses to Lettered

  1. Love this looks great! How did you guys keep the “O” in place since its a full circle?

    • Adam Carmichael March 8, 2017 at 5:47 pm

      Thanks, Scott! We used 2×4″ blocks toe-nailed to the backside of the “O” cutout (see the second picture) and just screwed those blocks to the back wall of the box – so it’s effectively held up by the back of the box.

  2. Michael Ferris March 14, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    I don’t see any DMX anywhere… did you just opt to use the controller that came with the kit rather than wiring it for DMX? If so, did using the controller give you any issues?

    • Adam Carmichael March 19, 2017 at 12:21 pm

      I was wondering if someone would notice – yes, we went with the included controls, so we leave the colors static during service. Our lighting system is too limited and old to be able to incorporate DMX control at this point.

Leave a Reply

Text formatting is available via select HTML.

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> 


Solve : *
16 + 10 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.