DIY Wood Gather Sign

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 similar signs are available in The Junq Drawer! 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!

pinterest-wood-sign-tutorial

What you’ll need:

gather-sign-flat-lay

  • 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
  • Computer/Printer

 

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.

gather-sign-transfer-paper

outlining

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!

gather-sign-outlined-only

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.

gather-sign-outlined

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.

gather-sign-finished

gather-sign-2

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!

xoxo

jess-signature

 

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31 comments

  1. I love your sign! I never would have thought to make my own stencil, so your tips are great! I would have searched through michaels stencils hoping for a font I liked or free handed it. This is such a better idea!

    1. Terri, thanks for checking out our post! We actually didn’t use a stencil. I just printed on regular paper with a laser printer and traced. I’ve made these signs freehand for years, but discovering the transfer paper eliminates the practice time you mention. I hope you’ll give our tutorial a try and let us know what you think!

  2. I love this sign so much! It’s adorable! You could use it for holiday decor and year around! My handwriting isn’t as nice though!

    1. You don’t have to have good handwriting. Just pick your favorite font online or in Word. We walk you through how to do that step by step so you don’t have to handletter in the tutorial!

  3. I love this!! I have been wanting to make my own signs and I see now the transfer paper would make it super easy. At our local WalMart they have a section in the craft area now with different wooden pieces in all sizes. They would be perfect for this!

  4. Loving the sign even more now ^^
    I use multiple ways to transfer/ make my own stencil. The surface it’s being transferred to & subject matter usually dictate the process.

    As far as transferring, do you specifically prefer the Martha Stewart brand of transfer paper or do you ever use generic art brand?

    1. Ha! I am always in need of new ideas on ways to transfer, because like you were saying, it has to be a semi-smooth surface. I’ve used this on fabric and wood with no problem, but haven’t tried it on mugs or other similar items. That may be my next attempt! I’ve only used the Martha Stewart brand, but only because it’s the first one I came across at Michaels. I’ve heard that carbon paper works well, too, on light surfaces and that graphite paper would work on dark surfaces. A trip to the home and office store may be in order to test those theories! What’s your favorite transfer method for a hard surface like this? Thanks for all of your comments! It’s awesome to learn more about this!

      1. DEFINTELY carbon paper & graphite. There’s also colors like red and blue chalk transfer paper 🙂 You can also go old school and trace the back of an image with hard graphite or regular old pencil, turn it over and trace or rub it onto the surface. That one’s great when doing repeats of a stencil in a quirky pattern or something for sure! It sounds time consuming but can be pretty effective surprisingly. GO! Shop and be great! Happy transferring 🤗😜

    1. I’ve run into the same thing before! Try doing several coats, and be sure to pump the paint onto some scrap paper to get plenty of paint on the pen tip. That should take care of the streakiness. If you prefer, you could still go over it with a brush as well.

  5. This is an awesome idea! I have only just begun doing a few signs and doing free hand and trying to make my own stencils, but this sounds great! One question though, will the transfer paper still work on bumpy wood? I like my signs really rustic and they have cracks and bumps/knots on them. Thank you for the tip!

    1. Absolutely!!! You may have to trace slower to make sure your pencil doesn’t slip into any cracks or slide off the knots, but it works on sanded and unsanded wood alike! I prefer it to a stencil on coarser wood for that reason. Good luck with your signs!!!

    1. Hi! Absolutely. I always Stain the Wood first and let it dry completely before using the tracing paper. If you choose a very light stain, you could use carbon paper instead which will leave a dark line rather than a light one. Hope this helps!!!

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