A wood sign is the perfect way to add a rustic element to your home. One of my favorite things to look for when out thrifting are signs, and many times I have to pass on them because they’re either too expensive or too elusive. The good news? You can easily make your own! I’m not going to lie… I have tried just about every way imaginable (aside from purchasing my own stenciling machine) to make wood signs on my own, failing miserably so many times over. I’ve tried freehand lettering, preprinted letter stencils, cutting letters out of paper and outlining them, alphabet decals, wax paper transfers… None of them produced the result I wanted. There was too much room for error, paint would run, stencils would be crooked. You get the idea.
Then I hit the jackpot. I stumbled on Aimee Weaver’s blog. She makes beautiful signs for those of you who have never checked out her site (you totally should), and she’s gracious enough to show you exactly how she does it! Unfortunately, I never came across the carbon paper she was talking about (although I haven’t been in Staples lately so that could be why), but I did discover this paper at Michaels which works perfectly!
Before I jump into the tutorial, let me just tell any of you who don’t feel crafty or don’t have the time or desire to make your own that these signs are available in our Etsy shop! We’d love it if you’d stop over to take a look, recommend it to your friends and favorite our shop. Okay. Now on to the good stuff: how you can make your own!
What you’ll need:
- 1×6 board cut to 18″ (Home Depot & Lowes will do this for you if you don’t have a saw)
- Wood stain of your choice (I used Minwax Dark Walnut)
- Martha Stewart Transfer Paper
- Pencil or Pen
- White Paint Pen
I started by cutting my 1×6 down to 18″ in length using my Ryobi miter saw, giving the board a good sanding and staining it with Minwax Dark Walnut stain. Once the stain had dried, I printed out the word “gather” on regular printer paper in my font of choice (pictured is Modesty, available on DaFont.com). I also found a general vine outline via Pixabay to give me an idea of how to curve my vine on either side and printed it as well.
Next, I laid out my board and covered it with the transfer paper then I centered my text and vines on the transfer paper. This is probably the simplest step of all: trace the text with a pen or pencil.
This transfer paper is like magic. It will transfer onto any smooth surface! I haven’t yet found a better way to get such an accurate outline onto a wood sign. Once you’ve traced the outline, lift off the transfer paper and your design is written on the wood!
All that was left at that point was to fill in the outline with a paint pen. I used Elmer’s Painters in white with a fine tip to fill in the outline. In general, it takes two solid coats of the paint marker to get even coverage of your lettering, sometimes three depending on how heavy you apply the first couple of coats.
Let that dry, and your sign is ready!
I’m a huge fan of using 3M strips to hang things on the wall, especially something this light, but a couple of eye hooks could easily be screwed in if you prefer to hang yours on nails. Honestly, I didn’t even want to hang this on the wall since I had a vignette idea ready for the shelves in our dining room. It fits perfectly in there, and still leaves plenty of room for the cider bar I’m planning for Thanksgiving.
What methods have you tried for transferring images to wood? We would love to see your signs and how you’ve used them in your own decor. Tag us on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook or let us know what you think in the comments!