DIY Week: Make your own vintage sign.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I've entered my last week of freedom, so to speak. A week from today, I hit the books again with full time school. So in celebration of my last official week of summer, I'll be posting a DIY project every day this week. I'm so excited! (I honestly don't know what they'll all be yet, so let me know if you have suggestions or requests. I'll try anything once.)

First up: A vintage-style sign. I love these things. They're everywhere! This project was a lot of trial and error, but I really like the finished product and the possibilities really are endless.

You'll want to start with a piece of wood or a plaque. The piece I used was a $2 thrift store find that used to have "Paris" in really tacky lettering on it, so I just painted it black. It isn't perfect, but it'll do the job.

Next, figure out what you want your sign to say. Sooo many options here. I wanted mine in the kitchen, and I remembered my sweet friend Kirra's adorable sign that says "Say Grace." So I shamelessly copied hers. :) Print out whatever you want your sign to say in the appropriate size.

Next, with a pencil, shade on the back side of the letters.

You'll then want to position your lettering onto the sign and tape it down.

Next, with a ball point pen, trace around the outline of your letters. You'll want to press pretty hard so it shows up.

Because of the pencil shading on the back side, it'll transfer the outline in pencil right onto your wood!

Next, I took a paint marker and filled in the lettering. If you want a clean solid look you'll need to do a couple coats of this. For my purposes, though, I was going to sand and distress it anyway, so it definitely did not have to be perfect. I think either way would look beautiful.

Next, I let the letters dry really well and sanded it quite a bit to "distress" the lettering and make it look old. I then took a wet paper towel and wiped up the dust to clean it up before the final step.

Finally, I gave it a generous coat of Mod Podge. This will seal it and give it a little shine, but you can do it in a matte finish as well (they have a matte Mod Podge). Either way, it'll give it a finished look.

Once dry, your sign is done!

So I'm sure there are better, easier ways to do this, especially if you have the right tools, but this cost less than $5 to make. I can't wait to make more!


  1. Very nice! What a great idea for transferring the lettering to the plaque. And I like that it all started with a thrift store find. I'll be bookmarking this in my Things to Make folder. :)

  2. thank you for sharing your creativity, which is always spectacular! enjoy, your last week down to the last second!

  3. Yay! I've made something similar before, but we used stencils & didn't mod podge the finished project. I like your way SO much better. Where were you two years ago? ;) ;)

  4. Love it. It came out awesome!!! :) Love you so much.

  5. whitney this is great!!!! love the tutorial.

  6. Oh I love this idea! Thanks!! :o)

  7. I came over from the mod podge blog. this is an excellent tip on how to do letter transferring. thank you so much for sharing!

  8. I would love to see something for your bathroom! I have yet to see any pictures of it. : )

  9. I LOVE IT!!! I might have to shamelessly copy you and Kirra :) I have always wanted to make a sign but didn't know where to start! Thanks! Bri

  10. This is such a great idea! Another easy way to transfer designs is to use chalk instead of a pencil - it is much more forgiving if you have an "oops".

  11. I don't know why I never thought of this, but it's genius! :) I am using this same technique in art class now, working on a picture with a verse on it. I'm "printing" the words onto the paper with your technique and then will draw/paint (not sure yet) around the verse. I'm excited about it! I love having reminders of God's Word, and what better way to dwell on Him than to spend hours of art class staring at a paper with a verse on it? :) Thanks for inspiring me. Also, a few classmates have already asked what the verse is, where it's from, because they are interested in the technique and think it's cool. What a great way to get people talking about God!!! Yay. Thanks!

  12. you stole the street sign from your first place?! Tell me you found this sweet memento in an antique store...

  13. Well this is just fantastic.

  14. What kind of black paint did you use?? Regular acrylic craft paint?? I wonder how it would look with ebony stain...

  15. Hi Whitney! Do you remember what font you used for this? It's so lovely :)

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