The Story of a Mom, a Wife a Small-Business-Owner-Hopeful (Happy Baby Designs) and a Craft Lover, trying to be present (not just exist) in my life with my children, my husband and myself. Follow along with me as I chronicle my crafting and business endeavors, my true life and some mommy moments along the way .

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

DIY "Antique" Sign

If anyone asks, I bought this sign at a quaint, little, small town antique store ;) But you and I know the truth...I made it!

I was inspired by Miss Mustard Seed's Fresh Berries sign...

...but I don't have a projector so I had to come up with my own way to make my sign.

I started with this plaque (?) from Goodwill. I liked it because it was 3 dimensional and had nice beveled edges. But you could really use any scrap piece of wood, door, etc...

Next I printed my words on the computer and did a dry run fitting to make sure I liked the scale and placement.

Since the wood on my plaque is actually a veneer, I primed and then painted my sign with an Oops paint in a gray/blue color. (I forgot to take a picture of this step, but you get the idea.)

Next comes the very complicated technique that will allow you to transfer any font on to your sign. Tracing. Yes, that's right, the secret to this sign is something we all learned how to do in elementary school. Trace the backside of your letters using a pencil.

Very complicated, I know! (I also taped my sign together after I did my dry run so it would stay the way I wanted it, but you don't necessarily have to do this.)

Now flip your sign right side up, tape it on your wood/plaque/door, whatever, and start "rubbing" over all of the letters using a pencil.

This is not an exact science, you just want to make sure you rub over every letter.

Now when you remove your paper, your wood should look something like this...

Now it's time to paint your letters. You could use a paintbrush, but I actually used a paint pen because I had better control that way.

Pretty cool, huh? This is a very easy project, but I will say that my wrist was a little sore after the tracing. But totally worth it!

Now obviously, I didn't want to leave my sign like this. It might work for some projects, but I wanted an "antique" sign.

So I sanded, painted, distressed and antiqued the sign until I was happy with the outcome. I didn't want to sand down to the wood since it was just veneer, but if you have a nice piece of would, that would be a great way to distress it. I had to rely on paint and stain for most of my distressing. I diluted some white, green and brown acrylic paint with water and just started painting over my sign until I had the look I wanted.

And finally, I rubbed on some walnut wood stain with a dry cloth and then rubbed it off to seal it and give it that nice "aged" look.

I love how it turned out and it was super easy and cheap! You could use this technique to make any sign on any piece of wood. The possibilities are endless! What will your sign say???

Linking up here:

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  1. This turned out wonderfully. This may very well be a January project for me. I'm not sure what my sign will say...yet. La

  2. I love it! I have always wanted to try something like that but thought it would take too much time to trace! I have to do it though:)

  3. it looks fantastic! now, which store did you say you got that from?;) you have me craving maple syrup now. YUM!

  4. Love it, I use paint pens also, like you said great control...So, why did yours turn out so much better than mine??...Jealous LOL


  5. Thanks for this tutorial! I have vintage signs hanging in my kitchen that I bought from Michaels. I never thought to make my own! It would save a ton because the signs can be a bit expensive to buy already made. Yours turned out super cute! Great idea!

  6. I love that sign! Taking orders?

  7. What a great sign. I remember that pencil trick from long ago, still works!! Love how you antiqued it, it gives it so much more character that way.
    I've been wanting to do a sign for my booth when I do antique shows. It's one of those things that's been on the back burner for so long.
    Thanks for sharing;-)

  8. That is AWESOME, I love it!!! Thanks so much for linking it up to gettin' crafty on hump day! :)

  9. Well, I am going to try this! It looks amazing and professional!

  10. You did a fabulous job! It really does look like an old sign. Well done!

  11. nice job...great tutorial...thanks for sharing :)

  12. Love the sign and how you did it. Sometimes simple really is best.
    I'm giving away a professionally oil painting of a Santa on my site. I'd love for you to join.
    Best wishes,
    April from

  13. Awesome!! It looks really good and I like your technique. Very clever. :)

  14. What an adorable sign. You did SO GOOD.

  15. those of us who don't own a vinyl cutter have to get creative. Your sign turned out really cute!

  16. I love this........
    so the secret is to design your own fonts on the computer?
    Ok I will have to get my daughter to help with that....she is the computer genius not I! :-)

    Thank you for sharing.
    Hugz, Dolly

  17. I absolutely LOVE this! Nice job. The plaque was a good find at Goodwill too! Thanks for linking up.



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