June 13, 2011

painted wood signs (for Father's Day)

Father's Day is fast approaching and I actually made a gift for my husband.  My husband has been wanting some artwork for our newly-finished basement, so I decided to try my hand at some painted signs.

1.  Gather the pieces of wood you want to use.  I rescued mine from our trash (leftovers from one of my husband's project), and they measure approximately 16-1/4" long x 5-1/4" high x 1/4" thick.  I also picked up some mistint paints at Lowe's--only 50 cents each!

2.  Using a foam brush, I applied Ceramcoat acrylic paint around the edges of each board.  (barn red and brown velvet on the left; blue velvet and poppy orange/brown velvet on the right)

3.  Apply one coat of your main color paint to each board.  I used a putty-colored mistint.  (I also painted the back and sides of each board.  I know this isn't necessary, but I can't help it!)  Let dry completely.

4.  Sand your boards to distress them and let the paint underneath show through.  I used my palm sander.

5.  I used my Cricut to cut a freezer paper stencil.  (More info about how to make a stencil on this post.)  I should break down and buy some vinyl for these projects, but I am so cheap and freezer paper works pretty well if you're going for a distressed look.  I would not use your best iron to iron the freezer paper to the wood (my iron now has paint on it--I hope it comes off!).  I also recommend using a blank sheet of paper between your iron and the freezer paper/wood.  If you do not have a Cricut, you can use stencils or trace letters (great post here).  I also found this post that uses a computer and printer to generate the letters. 

I wanted to make two signs for my husband--one saying "free ice" and another saying "cold beer."  Here's the "cold beer" sign ready to be painted.

6.  Once the freezer paper is ironed to the wood, use a foam brush to paint the letters.  I tap the paint onto the board instead of brushing it on.  This helps prevent some seeping under the stencil, but it's still going to happen.  It's not a big deal since you sand over the letters, but if it seeps a little too much you can fix it by painting over the really bad areas with your main color.  Really bad areas:

Kind of fixed:

7.  I didn't do a good job of taking pictures of the next steps.  I sanded over the letters with a palm sander, used some Tim Holtz distress ink around the edges, sprayed the signs with an acrylic sealer and hammered an upholstry nail into each corner.  My nails were too long for the boards I used, so I had to clip the end of the nail with wire cutters.

7.  I stamped the back of each sign.

Wood, acrylic paint, freezer paper & ink already on hand. 
Mistint paint:  $0.50 (Lowes)
Upholstry nails:  $1.49 (JoAnns)
Total:  $1.99


  1. Steph-
    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I appreciate your sweet comments! Your blog is lovely and I love that Father's day sign. It turned out cute!!

  2. Love this idea!

    and it could be used for so many things outside of fathers day

  3. You can use those triangle make up sponges to apply the paint in the stencil, they work very well. Also blot off the paint and it itls possible to not have any seeping.