Quick JOY light tutorial at TheEssexBarn.com

With the festive season almost upon us I wanted to show you a little project I’ve been working on here at The Barn – a quick and simple do-it-yourself JOY light in gold letters.

If you follow me at my other ‘home’ – The Joy Chaser – then you’ll know that as well as interiors I’m passionate about finding happiness in the everyday. So I decided to combine my passions and brighten up my office (which is desperately in need of a makeover) with a JOY light to bring some sparkle into my working day!

Step-by-step tutorial Make a JOY light pinnable image


Here’s my step-by-step tutorial so you can make one for yourself or perhaps for a loved one this Christmas. I’ve framed mine and hung it in the office but it would look stunning as part of a festive mantelpiece decoration.

You will need…

What you need for the Joy light tutorial at TheEssexBarn.com

Hollow cardboard letters, battery powered bulbs (I got both from Amazon), craft knife/sharp scissors, metal ruler, glue, frame

Step One

Turn the first letter over and score a line down the middle using a metal ruler and a craft knife or very sharp scissors. This provides the channel for your lights to sit in so that the letters can sit flat against the frame.

Joy light tutorial - step one

Step Two

Count the number of bulbs that you have on your light string and mark a spot on each letter so that the bulbs will be spread out evenly across each one. Then make a hole in the front of the letter where you’ve made the marks and gently push a light bulb through, checking that you’re starting with end bulb and working back to the battery case (if it has one).

Step two - JOY light tutorial at TheEssexBarn.com

Step Three

Repeat steps one and two for each of the letters, being a bit more careful than I was pushing through the bulbs so you don’t get as much tearing as I did! (I’ll be using smaller bulbs next time I do this.) Push all of the wire into the channel at the back of the letter so that you only have a very small amount showing and then stick the letters down. Pull the battery pack through to the back of the frame and attach it with the casing facing out so that you can replace the batteries.

And that’s it! A quick DIY JOY light.

You could use this same technique to spell out XMAS or a child’s name for their room. The options are endless!

DIY JOY light


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  1. Honest Mum December 3, 2015 at 1:10 am Reply

    Simply stunning darling x

  2. Amanda November 27, 2015 at 2:48 pm Reply

    Love this idea, I must get myself some of those gold letters, so many uses!

  3. mummyofboygirltwins November 9, 2015 at 10:59 pm Reply

    Love this and definitely want one! I did a post recently about lit wall art as I am utterly in love with it right now!! Thank you very much for linking up with us. Jess xx


  4. Mrs TeePot November 9, 2015 at 12:53 pm Reply

    That’s such a cool idea!

  5. Lizzie Roles November 9, 2015 at 12:38 pm Reply

    This is such a fab and easy idea! I love it Michelle. You can also buy letters from hobby craft which you can paint any colour, if you have a particular colour way for Christmas or your home. Thanks for sharing your tutorial, Stopping by for #sharethejoylinky

  6. Becky at PinksCharming November 5, 2015 at 10:52 pm Reply

    This is genius, it’s immediately going to be pinned onto my Christmas board. Love it! Becky x #HomeEtc

  7. Kat @ Eat.Love.Live October 30, 2015 at 12:28 pm Reply

    Wowee. Your so clever. I love these word lights and they are always so expensive so I haven’t brought one but I’m so tempted to try this project. It looks great! X #thelist

  8. Mum in Brum October 30, 2015 at 11:50 am Reply

    I LOVE this!I’ve always wanted to attempt one of these but wasn’t sure about the bulbs – those battery powered ones from Amazon are brill. I would love to have a go at attempting one of these – not sure I’ll have the time this year with the ten month old but will definitely be pinning this for future reference. I bought some of these letter in our initials for our Christmas wedding a couple of years back and covered them in festive paper so they would be perfect. Thanks for sharing #TheList x

    • Michelle Reeves (The Essex Barn) November 5, 2015 at 7:46 am Reply

      I love using letters like these for all sorts of things – I’ve got some spelling out my daughter’s name that I’ve painted in the colours of her room. I’d definitely go for the smaller bulbs if you give this project a go – the larger ones were a bit too big to be honest and I would have had a tidier finish with tiny ones. Thanks for commenting!

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