Friday, 1 December 2017

DIY Painted Wooden Sign for Christmas

Hand-painted wooden signs are all over Pinterest, from wedding must-haves to Christmas decor. I recently painted a bunch of signs for my bff's wedding and thought it was time to try the technique again for Christmas. (Incidentally, the sign I'm painting today is on the back of this one I made for the wedding.) I love that these signs look like chalkboards but you don't have to worry about the writing rubbing off. 
The truth is, you don't have to have gorgeous handwriting, stress about even spacing or pay someone else to make them for you! They're surprisingly easy to make with relatively inexpensive supplies.This is a perfect craft to get the season started.

You will need:
Something to cover and protect your worksurface from paint.
A piece of wood. Get the cheapest you can find at your local hardware store  (for almost nothing they can cut your wood for you too) or upcycle something lying around the garage.
Black and white acrylic craft paint. 
Large and small paintbrushes. Cheap ones are fine here.
Containers for water and/or mixing paint.
White chalk.
Optional: Gold or silver acrylic craft paint.

Note: If you want, you can use a white paint pen instead of a brush and paint. Personally, I prefer the look of the brushstrokes and painted-by-hand look but it is completely up to you.

Start off by cleaning your piece of wood of any dust. Paint the entire piece with black craft paint and a large, wet paintbrush. If your paint is on the thicker side, thin it out a bit with water (I've used a washed-out yogurt pot as my mixing bowl). If you would rather have a natural wood look, you can try using a wood stain to darken your wood without covering it.

Leave the black paint to dry completely. If possible, pop it outside in the sun to speed things up. If there are any sheer spots once it has dried, add a second coat.

Grab your favourite font (I'm obsessed with brush lettering so that's what I went with for this one) and print out the quote you want to paint at the correct size. I used MS Publisher to create a page 30 x 50 cm (the size of my wood) and then taped the printed sheets together to create the correctly-sized quote. Play around with the size of your font and the spacing on your computer until you are happy before printing. Make sure to only place tape or glue on the front of your pages, not the back.

Now to transfer your template to your wood! Rub your white chalk behind your words liberally. Then place the template on your wood and trace your letters with a blunt pencil or ballpoint pen. (As you can see, I haven't done this obsessively neatly as this is just a guide.) The chalk should transfer to your dark wood. If the chalk outline is too faint, add more chalk to your paper and outline your letters again. If you make a mistake, you can just rub it away.

Now for the fun part! Grab your white craft paint and a small paintbrush. Based on the consistency of your paint, you may or may not need to add water to get a nice flowing paint. Follow your chalk lines to outline your letters and then fill them in. If you are a bit more confident with a paintbrush and brush lettering, you can use a larger paintbrush and paint your letters normally, using the chalk as a guideline for spacing and placement (this is what I did for most of mine).

Carry on going until you have your full quote.

If you want any flourishes, print them and transfer with chalk again (a quick google search gives you endless flourish options). If you are like me and forget to flip a flourish for symmetry (whoops!), don't worry, just rub the chalk off with a dry cloth or brush and do it again.

Grab your brush, trace the lines and colour in.

Optional: For a final festive touch, paint the edges of your wood gold or silver.

Brush away any chalk peeking out on your sign with a dry cloth or brush and that's it! From start-to-finish, this 30 cm x 50 cm sign took me 45 minutes (excluding drying time).

Have yourselves a merry little Christmas! If you attempt to make your own sign, please tag me (@whimsyisforever) in any pictures you post on Twitter or Instagram!