How to rent or buy 14" marquee letters locally in Seattle?
July 19, 2017 8:29 AM   Subscribe

I need to buy (or rent) 14" marquee letters, ideally locally in Seattle, from somewhere with a generous return policy. Alternatively, if I could have just the specific letters I need custom made that would work, too.

I only need these for a quick thing (they'll be up for less than a day) so I'd like to be able to buy and them return them if at all possible. Googling around I've found a few places that sell them online but they appear to be insanely expensive (e.g., $900 at Would a place like "Fast Signs" ( be able to produce these? Do places exist that rent sets? Thanks!
posted by JasonSch to Shopping (8 answers total)
Do they definitely need to be exactly 14", or is that an "at least" or "about" requirement, because this place will rent you 21" letters for $49, and this place will rent you 18" ones for $55 (both have shipping both ways included).

This shop on Etsy will make 18" ones for $100 each or 12" ones for $75, and since they're custom making them it's worth asking if they can do 14" ones. There are a lot of sellers on Etsy making them, so it's maybe worth asking a few.

Depending on how professional you need this to look, you can also buy some 14" wooden letters and some string lights, drill some holes, and DIY this.

Please don't buy and return if you're actually going to use them. That's... not super cool.
posted by brainmouse at 8:58 AM on July 19, 2017 [10 favorites]

How slick do these need to be? You could print them on paper or card stock and have them laminated. I'd talk to someone at the local sign shop and see what they can do for you.
posted by BillMcMurdo at 9:30 AM on July 19, 2017

I used to work at a place kind of like Fast Signs. If someone had asked for this, I'd have tried using blanks of the thickest lamination we had cut to the correct size with vinyl letters on top (or printed backwards and stuck to the back if it needed to be particularly durable). If that wasn't rigid enough, I'd have run it through the laminator again, but I doubt that would be necessary. Total cost per letter probably around $30 max, less if you were making more and the square footage equation improved. We would not have accepted a return for anything other than outright failure, especially if we got the vibe that it was for a specific one-off event.
posted by teremala at 10:53 AM on July 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

The cardstock suggestion is also solid, if you don't mind them being opaque. Be sure not to get the laminate trimmed all the way to the edge of the paper or they won't be waterproof. Usually 1/8" margins are okay but 1/4" or more is safest if you're using one of those little countertop laminators (sometimes it's cheaper that way, again depending on how many you're making -- in any case, I could see getting the project down to well under $10/letter if you go this route).
posted by teremala at 11:09 AM on July 19, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks for all the responses so far. And, just so everyone doesn't think I'm the biggest jerk in the world, the buy-and-return was more in the context of the $900 letters, which I really couldn't justify. I certainly wouldn't have something custom printed and then try to return them. I'll pop into the Fast Signs this afternoon if I don't get any better leads by then.

brainmouse, sorry for the ambiguity: These are the placard/tile letters that go on a marquee sign (as one might see on a movie theater), not the "3-D" letter-shaped lights (which I should have been more clear about because the conflation made searching somewhat difficult). But thank you for the response.
posted by JasonSch at 1:29 PM on July 19, 2017

Aurora Rents, in Shoreline, rents signs for advertising stuff. I don't see those specific kinds in their on-line inventory, but it could be worth giving them a call.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:35 PM on July 19, 2017

Get a box of transparency sheets. They're made for overhead projectors, and they can be printed in a copier and probably a laser printer. They will be 8.5 x 11, so print your letters, then laminate them. They won't be identical to a marquee, but they would be affordable.
posted by theora55 at 6:50 PM on July 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Does whoever is providing the marquee sign itself not have a set of letters? Aurora Rents has a marquee sign which comes with a set of letters for $45/day, although it doesn't say what size letters. I'm guessing smaller than 14".

If there's a specific sign you need to get letters for, then theora55's laminated transparency sheets (held on with mailing tape, since they won't be the right size/rigidity for your sign) are almost certainly going to be your best bet. Alternate idea: find a business/church with a sign the size of the one you'll be using and beg them to rent the letters you need from their kit.
posted by hades at 11:42 PM on July 19, 2017

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