Holiday “JOY” Light Marquis Canvas

Holiday "JOY" Light Marquis Canvas
I have always decorated the house but have always neglected to make something fun for the mantle.  This year I wanted to make a light sign and have really been into the word “joy” so it sounded like a perfect match.  I am in the process of painting my mantle black and it’s not quite ready yet but I just couldn’t wait to share my very own DIY marquis canvas.  Here’s how I did it! 
(Get ready for some painful phone photography…deepest apologies!)
Holiday "JOY" Light Marquis Canvas
First, paint the canvas whatever color you want.  I had some leftover red spray paint and decided to go with that because I really LOVE red for the Holidays…or anytime of the year actually 🙂  If you are going to do the same cursive font like me, mark with chalk in the middle of each side so that you start and end in the center of each side of the canvas.
Holiday "JOY" Light Marquis Canvas
Use the chalk again to write your word.  I messed up my “j” several times and the chalk allowed me to wipe it off with a wet rag and try again.  It works great and can be painted over without showing through the final paint job.
I used plain white paint and mixed some of this in it.  I love the TULIP glitter paint because it adds a little sparkle!
Holiday "JOY" Light Marquis Canvas
Start painting adding width each time.  I painted about 6 or 7 coats over the word to get my desired color and thickness of the letters. I also continued the lines over the side of the canvas too.
Ok now find something super sharp in your house like an ice pick, metal skewer, or whatever.  Don’t use a knife because it will make a slit instead of a hole and the lights won’t stay in as well or look as good.   Push it all the way through.   I used two fingers as a guide to space the holes out.  It doesn’t have to be perfect but you do want the gaps to be similar between each light.   Don’t forget to “dot” your j  🙂
Holiday "JOY" Light Marquis Canvas
After I poked all of the holes, I took the end of one of my paintbrushes and pushed it through each hole to make it a tiny bit wider.  I had tried to push a light through and it wasn’t happening.  Just a little bit bigger hole makes the lights go through easily.
Holiday "JOY" Light Marquis Canvas
Now start putting the lights in.  Test them first to make sure they work.  Make sure you can’t see the cord when you push them through.  They should stay put on their own but if you need to do a little hot glue, it might stay better.  It depends on if you are going to want to take the lights out for storage or not.  Mine have stayed in without any glue.
The back is such a mess but the front is SO fun!
About half way through putting mine in, I plugged them in just to check how it looked and when I turned them on I thought “Are you serious!?”  Of course half of them were out for some reason.  After calling my dad in the night (oops didn’t realize it was 11:00) and trying to fix them, I gave up for the night and bought some more the next day.
Holiday "JOY" Light Marquis Canvas
The finished product.  I can’t wait until Thursday because we are decorating for Christmas and I can put this up!  I will share more pics once it’s on my mantle with my other Christmas decorations.
Here are some pics of the sign on my Christmas mantle:
Holiday "JOY" Light Marquis Canvas
To see how I painted the old fireplace screen click here!
Holiday "JOY" Light Marquis Canvas
Do you like to have a “DIY” Christmas or just buy everything?  
What is your favorite Christmas word or phrase?  
Have a joyful day!
Click on the image below for all of my 2013 projects!
By |2015-05-01T02:37:39-06:00November 26th, 2013|42 Comments


  1. Amie December 16, 2018 at 7:48 am - Reply

    Can you use Acrylic red in the background instead of spray paint? Do you think it would be harder to keep the joy white if I did?

  2. Rita December 3, 2018 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    I love this and made one but lights keep popping out.. didn’t want to use hot glue in case lights burn out! Help!

    • Deonna December 9, 2018 at 2:03 pm - Reply

      Hey Rita! Try using duct tape on the back

  3. […] thechildatheartblog […]

  4. […] The first Pinterest craft I wanted to test for parents comes from “The Child at Heart Blog.” (Here are the instructions.) […]

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  6. […] This red and white canvas mantel decoration shines bright in the dark thanks to the fairy lights that are glued along the word to create the lighted marquis effect. via thechildatheartblog. […]

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  9. […] Convert your home to Holiday “JOY” center by making the above  Holiday “JOY” Light Marquis Canvas. Images and step by step instructions can be found at […]

  10. […] DIY Instructions and Project Credit: thechildatheartblog […]

  11. Linda December 1, 2015 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    Hi Dionna,

    I was wondering if the lights got a little hot? I know they do get somewhat warm on the tree. Does this effect the canvas at all? I got a string of a hundred, but wondered if I should look for LED that have a smaller head. They don’t get hot at all.

    • Deonna December 4, 2015 at 3:38 pm - Reply

      Hey Linda! Yeah they do get a little warm but it doesn’t effect the canvas at all. The regular Christmas lights that cost about 3.00 a box are your best bet for fit. 🙂

  12. lindsey November 22, 2015 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    How did u hide the battery pack? Did the battery pack make the canvas too heavy?

    • Deonna November 23, 2015 at 4:12 am - Reply

      Hey Lindsey! I used a set of lights that plugged in and just hid the extra lights behind the canvas. I have never hung it on the wall but usually would just set it on a mantle or something like that. You could probably buy the lights with batteries but I haven’t seen those in any of my stores.

  13. Tracy November 13, 2015 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    Love it! Foam Core would be a less expensive option.

    • Deonna November 13, 2015 at 8:31 pm - Reply

      Hey Tracy! Thank you for the idea…I’m sure that would work too! I’ve even see people like old ceiling tiles for schools and churches and make some really cute Christmas signs with lights poking through. 🙂

  14. Yvette November 10, 2015 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    Can you suggest another background that might work and be a little cheaper than canvas? Maybe something people may have around the house?

    • Deonna November 10, 2015 at 7:45 pm - Reply

      Hey Yvette! Ok first of all you can get a canvas for 40% off at most craft stores with a coupon from their apps or websites. Now if you don’t want to do that, you could use a thin piece of wood with a drill and get the same effect. You can also go buy a cheap canvas from Goodwill or somewhere like that and paint over some old bad painting. You might have to use a layer of white first though to prime it. The lights can be slightly heavy so something like cardboard probably wouldn’t be able to support the weight of the lights. Hope this helps 🙂 Would love to see pictures if you create a sign!

  15. […] DIY Instructions and Project Credit: thechildatheartblog […]

  16. 15 Beautiful DIY Holiday Decorations October 18, 2015 at 12:08 am - Reply

    […] Deonna from The Child at Heart shows you how to light up your home with joy (or the word of your choice) with this light marquis canvas. […]

  17. Teresa December 3, 2014 at 12:06 am - Reply

    Did you use a string of 100 lights?

    • Deonna December 3, 2014 at 8:28 pm - Reply

      I think it was but I would have to count them and they are packed up because I’m moving…I know there were lots of lights left over in the back of the canvas.

  18. Erin December 2, 2014 at 11:58 pm - Reply

    I am starting this project tomorrow. I love it! Thanks for sharing!

    • Deonna December 3, 2014 at 8:28 pm - Reply

      Please share pictures with me…I would LOVE to see it 🙂

  19. Michelle November 24, 2014 at 1:48 am - Reply

    Love this so much!! Did the spray paint you used have a glossy finish or more of a matte finish?

    • Deonna November 24, 2014 at 1:52 am - Reply

      It was some leftover spray paint and it was kinda glossy! Probably would do a satin finish if I was to do it again 🙂

      • Michelle November 24, 2014 at 1:58 am - Reply

        Good to know! Thank you! 🙂

  20. Cindy November 18, 2014 at 4:20 pm - Reply

    With the glitter effect, do you think it would be a statement piece without the lights? I don’t have an outlet.

    • Deonna November 18, 2014 at 4:25 pm - Reply

      Yeah could be cool too! Maybe a little messy but my house is always covered in pine needles and glitter by the end of the holidays 🙂

    • Julia November 21, 2014 at 3:54 am - Reply

      They do make battery operated LED lights now. I found some at a dollar store.

      • Deonna November 21, 2014 at 8:18 pm - Reply

        Great idea! My new house does not have a mantel outlet so I might be putting mine on a table or somewhere else this year 🙂

  21. Deena November 14, 2014 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    What size canvas did you use for this and what length light string. Thanks–love it!

    • stephanie November 14, 2014 at 10:12 pm - Reply

      I was wondering the same thing! I’m guessing based on her chalk mark picture that it’s a 20×24 inch canvas

      • Deonna November 17, 2014 at 8:27 pm - Reply

        I think you are right…about that size! It’s in my attic and I’m moving so I can’t measure it just yet but when I do I’ll let you know 🙂 It’s pretty big but it’s just one regular strand of white Christmas lights.

    • Deonna November 17, 2014 at 8:28 pm - Reply

      It was a larger canvas (probably 20×24 at least) but you could do any size you want 🙂

  22. Coleen November 8, 2014 at 3:44 am - Reply

    I would love to make this, it is so pretty! Just wondering what size your canvas was. Would greatly appreciate finding out so I can go shopping.

    • Deonna November 17, 2014 at 8:32 pm - Reply

      I think it was around 20 or so inches tall…it was one of the medium canvases…I’m moving so not sure if I get to decorate this year 🙁 Oh well…maybe I will until Valentines Day!

      • Anna November 19, 2014 at 2:46 pm - Reply

        What type of canvas do you use? Stretched, panels, etc…
        Thank you for sharing your idea!

        • Deonna November 21, 2014 at 8:17 pm - Reply

          It was just a plain stretched canvas from Michaels 🙂

          • Christina December 8, 2015 at 2:50 am

            I am throwing a Pinterest Craft party for 30 of my friends and am planning to make your project with them. Thank you for all of the information. I’m happy to post pictures after we’re done.
            Thank you!

          • Deonna December 9, 2015 at 3:55 pm

            Hey Christina! I can’t wait to see your pictures…please please share them with me! Also go check out my ideas for a craft party here:

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