FBC Youth Elkhart from FBC | Elkhart in Bristol, IN brings us this cool design for their annual snow camp.
They started by using a font called Blanch. They edited the font in Photoshop by adding circles equally spaced apart along a guideline they made over each letter. That way when they printed each letter off, they were able to trace the letter onto the plywood panels they were using to keep a consistent spacing for the lights, as well as size for the letters. They drilled a hole in the middle of each of the circles they overlayed on the letters in Photoshop.
They used regular plywood, about 1/2 in thick. The letters ended up being about 4.5 feet tall which was massive for marquee letters. They didn’t want to pay for the prints at Staples, so they cut each letter into 9-12 pieces in Photoshop so that they could print them off on 11×17 sheets of paper at the church office. Once it was all printed off and taped together, they put the letters onto the 4×8 sheets of plywood and traced them, drilling holes through the center of each guide circle. They then took off the paper guide letters and cut out the perimeter of each letter with a jigsaw. Then they took a drill and hole saw drill bit to cut out each hole for the lights.
Since they don’t sell strand Christmas lights large enough for this marquee, they had to use 40-watt clear vanity bulbs that they got from lowes for about $1.20 a piece. They ended up using 66 total for the JESUS. Because of that bulb size, they had to wire everything themselves which they did not expect to do. They purchased round circle light sockets that looked like little plates from Lowes with places on the sides of the socket to screw into the back of the letter to secure it. Once all that was done, they wired every bulb together on each letter, but kept the wiring exclusive to each letter putting a plug on the end of each letter’s wiring. They only used the black and white wires and didn’t need the ground wire. Once everything was wired properly, they tested each letter and then took out the bulbs and put painters tape over the sockets to prep them to paint.
To put the metal sheeting on, first they got metal roof sheeting from Lowes that was maroon on one side white on the other. This stuff was more heavy duty and way harder to bend but it will look better. Otherwise you can use the aluminum sheeting right next to it at Lowes which you can pretty much bend by hand but will be harder to keep straight on the wood without little bends. If you use the aluminum, it’s 10 inches wide. They put 5 inches in front and 4.5 in the back of the wood. If you use the maroon stuff, you’ll have to cut it in half long wise. They measured the 5 inches in and drew a line in the middle to use as a guide while they attached the metal to the wood. They also would pre measure and pre bend a couple steps ahead of time as you go around the letter.
Once the metal was on, they caulked each socket and let it dry. They used a rustic metal spray paint that Rustoleum makes to spray everything. Once it was dry, they took off the tape and put the lights back in.
It took about 25 hours with two people.
For the trees, they ended up getting 4×8 sheets of wood, stained them with dark walnut stain, and then had one of their talented girls on staff freehand the trees with white fluorescent paint. All it took was one gallon to do the job for the four trees.
They lit them with blacklights and LED panels lights to make the white pop.