Hi Kenarry readers, this is Lori from Greco Design Company here today to show you how to make a wood sign with an inspirational quote for just a few dollars! I’ve got a very easy technique that anyone can do and add some meaningful art to your walls.
Wood signs with type are such a hot trend right now but they can be very expensive. Plus most of them are mass produced and don’t have that true hand-painted look. I saw one specific wood sign in a home design catalog with the words to one of my favorite songs: You Are My Sunshine.
This catchy tune was a popular song first recorded back in 1939 by two country singers and since then it’s been covered so many times that it has become “one of the most commercially programmed numbers in American popular music” according to Wikipedia.
Artists such as Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Ray Charles, Ike and Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, and Brian Wilson, have performed it. It’s such a sweet message that obviously has stood the test of time. I love it too because it appears in one of our favorite movies: Trouble with the Curve. Clint Eastwood sings it to his wife at her grave. It’s a tear jerker. And an awesome movie.
I knew this wood sign from the catalog would not only look great in our home but also have a lot of meaning. I love the worn look of the wood, the gray and white colors, and it’s rustic, imperfect style. But it was $300.
So I decided to make one myself. If you follow my oh-so-easy steps you can take any of your wood sign ideas and turn them into a beautiful piece of art with a quote that’s inspirational and meaningful to you too. And you can save over $280. I made this knock-off for under $20!
First, you need to get your materials. I realized that the catalog sign was 26″ square which wouldn’t have worked for the wall I wanted to hang this on in our home anyway. We needed a longer, narrower size.
Normally when constructing a sign like this, I would buy a piece of common board and some trim pieces for the raised frame. But then I saw a wood sign at Michael’s with a similar construction as the catalog sign with the raised framing – and the size was perfect. And it was only $16. yeah! I knew with a little work, I could refurbish this sign to include our fav song lyrics and create a more unique, hand-painted look.
Here are the steps to make a wood sign
1. Sand the back of the sign to give the wood a better surface for repainting. You should do this step even if you’re starting with bare wood.
2. Next, paint the background of the board whatever color you choose. I used white acrylic paint and it needed two coats. I sanded the board again to give it a distressed look.
3. While the paint is drying, print out your inspirational quote or song lyrics on your computer. I needed to tape my printouts together at a size to fit my sign. I like how the type is very simply laid out without any punctuation.
4. Then, trace the outline of your letters on the BACK SIDE of the paper. I find taping the paper to a window makes it easier to see through it and trace it.
5. Next, place the paper PENCIL SIDE DOWN (right reading) on your sign where you want it to go. Using your pencil, rub the outline of the letters on the FRONT SIDE. This will transfer the pencil markings from the BACK SIDE of the paper onto your wood sign. I carefully taped the paper onto the wood so it didn’t shift while I was transferring.
6. Remove the paper and you have a faint outline of each letter that you can now paint!
7. Paint your letters whatever color you choose. I used black and white acrylic paints to make a dark gray color. Since my lyrics were quite long, this step took a long time, but it was worth it! Let the paint fully dry.
8. After all the letters are painted, lightly sand the board again by hand so the type has a bit of a worn look – adding to the unique, rustic feel of the piece.
Hang as you’d like and enjoy your unique, inspirational hand-painted wood sign. The meaningful quote will be so nice to look at each day. And I didn’t have to spend over $300!
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Lori is a freelance graphic designer living in the Boston area with her husband, their three kids and a yellow lab puppy. She started Greco Design Company in 2014 when she realized that her love for design was extending beyond the corporate advertising world and into all areas of her life. She shows us some unique but simple DIY projects, gives some great ideas for home design, provides her outlook on current fashion trends, and loves to do beauty and product reviews. She incorporates her graphic design background through her free printables, paintings, signs, art prints, invitations and stationery on her blog and in her Etsy shop. Lori believes in the importance of surrounding ourselves with good, purposeful design that can help streamline our lives and still be affordable. Her tutorials are easy to follow as she shows how you can make anything you set your mind to!