diy idea: maya’s twinkle board

inspired by karyn’s twinkle blackboard, d*s reader maya lee created this beautiful wooden panel. aya decided to use a large panel of wood, instead of a chalkboard, and drilled in holes and inserted lights to spell the word “delight”, inspired by an essay from milton glaser. great work, maya!

CLICK HERE for maya’s full project instructions after the jump!

[have a diy project you’d like to share on d*s? just shoot me an email right here with your pictures and instructions]


What You’ll Need:

-wooden board
-christmas lights

Here were my steps:

1. Gathered my materials, including the large wood panel which was originally part of a clothing store visual display. Recognizing the quality and potential, my brother luckily intercepted it for me, otherwise it would have just gone into the dumpster. I borrowed a drill from a friend and ordered the Christmas lights online (take advantage of the discounts during this off season!)


2. Choosing the word: “Delight” came about after reading Milton Glaser’s “Since Then” essay in which he discusses Roman literary critic Horace’s definition of Art –“The role of art is to inform and delight”. He goes on to say, “Form and light are hidden in that definition. It’s an idea I enthusiastically embrace. Of course, informing is different than persuading. When one is informed, one is strengthened. Persuasion does not guarantee the same result. Delight is the non-quantifiable part of the definition that speaks to the role of beauty.”


3. Choosing the typeface: One of my favorite typefaces, Archer. It’s just lovely in my opinion.


4. I scaled “delight” on the computer and printed it out at actual size, which required tiling. Secured the print out to the board and penciled in where each hole would be drilled. Very tedious, but worth it. Before drilling, make sure to measure whatever type of bulb you choose and use the respective drill nail to ensure proper fit. Proceeded to drill.

5. Starting from one end of my string of Christmas lights (not the end with the plug obviously), I Inserted each bulb through a hole in the back of the board. I found that, in my case, the bulbs fit through the holes and were very snug, so I didn’t have to use additional materials to secure the lights but in some cases, you might need to.


6. Plug it in. Ta-da!


  1. christine says:

    I LOVE this! It reminds me of a sophisticated version of the lite-brite we used to play with as kids.

  2. theLennoxx says:

    that is just fantastic! my first thought was it would make a super head board.. but then aganin you would have to switch it of when you were ro sleep, and never get to see it

    1. grace says:


      you could use the sort of christmas lights that clap on and off to make that easier- that way you can still stay in bed and turn them off without having to get up :)


  3. What a great idea! I might have to make one myself!!

  4. Ginger says:

    Reminds me of playing with the Lite Brite as a kid; I love it!

  5. chrissa says:


    I looove this site. I am so glad you’re on Twitter.

  6. sienna says:

    Maya – I loves. Totally making one.

  7. Bonnie says:

    Wow, this is super cool- Archer is one of my favorite typefaces, too! I think I might have to try this.

  8. this looks like such fun!!!

  9. Jonze says:

    So pretty and simple! I definitely want to try this.

  10. Chrisie says:

    This makes me so happy!

    1) i love the idea behind the word. Yay Glaser. Yay Horace.
    2) If archer was a person, i would want to be friends with it.
    3) i can’t imagine you holding a drill

  11. jennifer g says:

    Deelightful! And great backstory inspiration–

  12. T.L. says:

    Haha! I have two of those bird pillows on my couch. So cute.

    Love the wood panel idea instead of the chalkboard.

  13. kiki says:

    i want to see more of this space! his little glimpse looks very promising…

  14. Uncle Beefy says:

    SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! Get out o’ town with this said-now-say cuteness! Sparkle plenty! Love. :)

  15. kristen says:

    i like this! it reminds me of the lite brite from the 80’s!

  16. Alissa says:

    This is FABULOUS! Not sure if it’s a DIY project I could safely take on – I’d probably end up with only 9 fingers.

  17. Sarah says:

    I have a random question.
    How thick is the board… and what stain is that?

    I love how rich it is!

  18. Sarah says:

    question number two:

    I LOVE the archer typeface, but its not on my word… and I cant find anywhere to download it.

    Little help?

  19. Laura says:

    Do the little bulbs poke through the front of the piece? It doesn’t look like they do in the pics, but I don’t know how you secured them otherwise.

  20. Steph says:

    okay so, i may have missed this in my skimming but, Christmas lights get hot…are these LED? i havnt bought Xmas lights, since ever. is LED all they sell now-a-days?

    By the by…looks wicked. I love Milton Glaser. gunna definitely try it when i can get my hands on a drill.

  21. Samantha says:

    I love this! I’ve also seen this done with canvas, but the wood is way cooler. I’ve been looking for the perfect nightlight idea for my kids room, and I think I’ve found it!

  22. Samantha says:

    Laura, if you use thick enough wood, they shouldn’t poke through the front. (and you would drill to measure the little socket, which is a tad bigger than the bulb, and that would hold it securely.) But, I think that’s a preference thing, to poke out, or not to poke out! The more they poke out, the more light they’ll make, and reflect off of the surface of the wood. Nice and bright!

  23. Maya says:

    _The board itself was less than .5 inch thick but since it’s a panel, the edges come out about 3 inches giving it a thick, solid appearance.
    _The board was already pre-stained when I received it so I’m sorry I don’t know what the exact stain is.
    _You can purchase Archer here!:
    _Yes, most of the bulbs poked through the front. The board was .5 inch thick so the bulbs fit really snug even if a few didn’t poke out as much.
    _I purchased regular commercial Christmas lights but they do sell LED ones that come in different colors and shapes but i just wanted the traditional, simple bulbs and i found it really easy to work with.

    Thanks so much for all the nice feedback :) !

  24. gasp! lite brite for grown-ups! I wish I thought I were crafty enough to do this…someday maybe, someday.

  25. Well this is a definite bookmark. Fabulous.

  26. Kimberly says:

    How cute! What a fun idea!

  27. Zoe says:

    This is just lovely. I’ve bookmarked it and will add it to my enormous file of must-do-this-now tutorials. As someone else said, this would make a great nightlight for a kid’s room. My son (3.5) and daughter (1.5) would think it was amazing to have their names twinkling above their beds.

  28. Mitchell says:

    Beautiful! I want to do this in Comic Sans

  29. Vivian Sachs says:

    Absolutely love this idea and I think I will use this as a sign for my exhibit!

  30. Faith says:

    I think this is a brilliant idea for a nursery nightlight!! But, in my ultimate laziness, I would use rope lighting or strip lights behind the panel instead of taking the time to set the string lights in each hole. :)

  31. iliana says:

    it is really beautiful and enjoyable as well!
    thank you

  32. Kari says:

    How do you print out the word so you can tile the papers to make it big enough? Thanks!

    1. grace says:


      try kinkos or a local print shop- they can handle large-scale orders.


  33. Lourdes says:

    I just stumbled upon your site. What a great idea!!!
    I’m just stumped by the 4th step (4. I scaled “delight” on the computer and printed it out at actual size, which required tiling.)
    Can you share how you did ths?
    Please email me at

  34. Anne says:

    Do you think this might work with slate instead of wood, too? How would you drill holes in slate without it breaking?

  35. buyshoes says:

    Bonjour, Sebast Here, I like this site I could definitely get stuck here.

  36. So cute, and so easy to make it personalized! Great gifts for kids also!

  37. duncnjacksmom says:

    I want to make one for my classroom that says “read”.

  38. Briana says:

    love this!! planning on making this for our huge craft explosion night:) like lourdes, i would like to know how you did the tiling printing for the word.
    please email me at
    thank you!!

  39. Briana says:

    also, how far apart are the holes drilled? and what number of light strand did you use? 2 100 strands?
    thank you.

  40. Ale says:

    wow!! I can’t wait to give this a try for the nursery!! question… did all the 100 light fit on the wood? how did you make that happen?

  41. Kaye says:

    Where can I find wooden paneling not from the internet?

  42. dreena says:

    thanks ever so much for this sharing….I’m a great fan of indirect lighting this
    is fun and quite graphic ……no pun intended ,,,,,this is something I,d like to
    read also sir Milton G. is an inspiration to us all. You have managed to recycle
    more than material……..thank you again…this is a keeper to do

  43. dreena says:

    thanks for the inspiration and sharing this looks like fun


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