Derby DIY: Make a Vivid Roller Derby Marquee Sign

How to Make Your Very Own Derby Marquee Sign 
  • Materials & Tools Required: 
  • Newspaper/old phone books 
  • Old cereal boxes, pizza boxes, or other thin cardboard. 
  • Foam core or thicker, corrugated cardboard 
  • Acrylic paint 
  • Gold spray paint (optional) 
  • Glitter spray paint (optional) 
  • Christmas lights 
  • Tape 
  • Drill or other device for making uniform holes 
  • Paintbrushes 
  • Water 
  • Flour

So the best part of this project is that most of the materials are stuff you will find in your recycling box. And hopefully, most of the other items can be found in your craft box.

The letters for this project are made from Paper Mache, one of my favorite mediums! I make my mixture from 2 parts flour to 1 part water but there are other recipes online that also include using white craft glue. However you end up making it, you want the mixture to be pasty but still wet enough that it will soak through the newspaper. 


To create the letters I typed out the word I wanted on the computer and printed the letters out to use as a template, but you can also do it freehand and write directly onto the foam core. I stuck to a simple sans-serif font so it would be reminiscent of a real marquee sign, but I bet you could also make some pretty amazing signs using a more intricate font. 

After you trace the letters on to your foam or ridged cardboard cut them out and cover the edges with strips of the thinner cardboard so that your letters have a edge that is about an inch tall. I used old cereal boxes for this because that is what I had available, but old pizza or other frozen food boxes would work great too.  I taped this cardboard in place using regular scotch tape. Any tape should work since you will be covering this, you just want to make sure that the edges are secure.

Now comes the fun part! Take your flour goop mixture and add strips of newspaper to it making sure they get nice and covered. Then begin applying the newspaper strips liberally to the letter forms until they are completely covered. Once you are done place them in a nice sunny spot to dry out for a day or two.

As you can see, I also made a simple arrow to direct people to "the derby."

When your forms are dry you can begin painting them. I chose to cover them first with Gesso so I had a base. You could also use white acrylic paint as a base, or depending on your color you might not need a base. Next I spray painted the insides with gold spray paint. And finally I chose to cover the outside in a brown acrylic paint and went over the letters with a Burnt Sienna (Orange). I thought this would make the letters appear kind of like a rusted metal. You have creative license here. You can cover them with stickers if you’d like.

I ended up finishing them with a gold glitter paint, I thought it would help reflect the lights but I don’t think it really mattered so I would suggest skipping that step unless you just love glitter or have some laying around.

Next  “I” drilled holes in the backs of the letters according to the size of my lights. I found a cheap set on Amazon for only $7. You want the lights to be snug, so make holes accordingly.



Then you just gently stuff the lights into the holes. If you find they are a bit loose you could always add some epoxy or clear glue to hold them in place.

I think I am going to build a base for my letters. But you could hang them on a wall, set them on a table, or mount them depending on what you plan to use yours for. 

I thought it would be fun to have them outside of a venue on the day of a bout. 

Happy Crafting,

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This is so inspiring! Love the idea! Thanks for sharing!


Yay! Glad you like it :) Thanks.