Vintage wooden signs are a way to add color and fun to your decor. They can also be a budget buster.
So why not make one for yourself? All you need are a few supplies and some time. You don't even need to be able to paint freehand!
I had most everything I needed just sitting there because of scraps from other projects. I had to purchase a pack of wood braces for $4.99 and that's it.
You will need:
* Wood Board(s) --these can be new from the lumberyard, scrap wood, construction leftovers...whatever you can scrounge up. Mine were boards leftover from a remodel my Mom did on her house.
* Paint -- in colors of your choice. You can use acrylic paint, leftover house paint, chalk paint, paint pens etc... I used two shades of red acrylic paint (mixed), an aqua acrylic paint, and some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in "Duck Egg".
* Sandpaper/Sander-- I used sanding blocks and my Dremel with a barrel sanding tip.
* Dark and Clear Wax-- This is optional, but I find the wax really gives the nicest finishing touch. I mix dark & clear wax for aging the sign as well as giving it a nice protective finish. There is an initial investment in the waxes, but you will get LOTS of use out of one tin of wax! I have done my dresser, my other signs, and numerous other little projects since I purchased mine and I still have 3/4 of the tins left!
* Picture Hangers-- for hanging your sign once it is finished
* Optional: Transfer Sheets -- I use these a lot ( see Flying Lesson Sign)...but for this particular project I had to improvise a little to get my design onto my board.
Okay...let's get started...
Step 1: Choose Your Board(s)
You need to choose your board(s) first, so that you know the approximate size of your finished sign.
I wanted a "plank" look for my sign so I used some scrap wood and attached two planks together with metal braces. You can get these at any hardware or home improvement store.
Here is the back of my sign...
Step 2: Sand Lightly and Paint a Base Coat in Color of Your Choice:
Sand lightly over the entire board so that your paint will adhere nicely. My boards were leftover from a remodel and already had a nice distressed coat of cream colored paint on them. It was perfect for my project. Otherwise, you will need to paint a base coat in the color of your choice.
Step 3: Choose a Design and Lettering Style for Your Sign and Then Print it out to Scale:
I wanted a "Ski Lodge" sign for my room. Maybe you want one that says , " Guest Cottage" or "Fresh Pies"...the possibilities are endless. I just get on my word processor and start playing around. Have fun with this part!
(For fun, free fonts I go to dafont.com )
I used two fonts-- "Abbeyline" for the word, Ski and "Carnivalee Freakshow" for Lodge.
Once you have determined the lettering for your sign, print it out to the scale you need. For me, that meant custom sizing the font and printing the letters out individually.
No comments on my horrid drop cloth , please. That drop cloth and I have been through a lot together!
Step 4: Transfer your Design to your Board
In the past, I have used my favorite Martha Stewart Transfer Sheets for this part...
They usually perform very well, but for some reason they would not work on this sign. No matter how hard I pressed, I could not get the design to transfer onto my board! Since the nearest craft store is 70+ miles away, I had to improvise.
I ended up using an age-old trick that did work...barely.
If, like me, your transfer paper doesn't work...or if you don't have any transfer paper...simply turn your paper over and use a pencil to shade the back of your design. Really lay it on thick.
Then turn the paper back over, place it on your board and trace over the edges of your design, pressing as hard as you can.
This trick left enough of a transfer that I was able to see my design on the board and use the pencil to go back over it and make it a little darker.
Step 5: Paint Your Design:
I used two small paint brushes to fill in my design--one, more pointed for tracing and small areas, and one, more flat and square-tipped for the larger areas. You can also use paint pens.
Let dry thoroughly.
Don't panic if you feel like your paint isn't looking perfect! You are going to age & distress your sign. It will look great when you are done.
Step 6: Distress
Use your sandpaper to sand over the entire surface of the sign. How heavy handed you get is entirely up to you. I like to lightly sand at first, and then go back over it, gradually using a little more pressure until I get the desired effect. When the overall distressing is done...it's time to rough it up a little. I used my Dremel with the sanding barrel tip to go all around the edge of my sign.
If you don't have a Dremel, just be prepared to use some "elbow grease" when sanding the edges.
I also added a few scrapes and nicks to the face of the sign. I like to err on the light side when it comes to this. I personally prefer a less distressed look to that part. Do too much-- and, to me, it looks like the sign was dragged behind a truck that was driving through a rock quarry instead of naturally aged by weather and wear.
Step 6: Wax
I used a soft cloth to wipe some clear wax over the entire sign. Then I used a mix of clear and dark wax over it. Finally, I used just the dark wax around the raw, distressed edges of the sign.
Let wax dry and then lightly buff.
Step 7: Add Picture Hangers
I forgot to take a picture of mine...but I use these picture frame hangers.
Step 8: Hang and Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by...