Monday, May 30, 2011

Give Me a Sign...

We are finally getting better weather which means I can get to some heavy lifting. Not literally, of course, I leave that to my husband. We affectionately refer to him as Tarzan - the guy can lift and move pretty much anything which is super handy for a girl who collects a lot of furniture and can never visualize how the couch will look 'over there' until someone moves it 'over there' (and often back again!).

So today I got to some sanding and finishing touches on a few projects. I love old signs and a while back I opened a certain catalogue from a certain store, saw a wall hanging and thought, "I could totally make that". So I did! I used stencils for the top letters and hand drew the bottom letters, then painted everything with a small brush, a whole bunch of sanding, and a lot of patience. We'll talk about the wood source later...

Surf Riders found an immediate home in my middle son's bedroom, but then my daughter wanted one. I flew solo on this one, and with inspiration from a few places, hand written letters, and a hibiscus stencil, I created a girly looking sign that celebrated her love for ice cream.

I made a third attempt at a sign for my youngest son but I wasn't happy with the results - I realized that as much as I enjoyed hand drawing the lettering, whenever I looked at it, I recognized my own writing and it felt less authentic.

That was last summer so with better weather I was back at it. I wasn't even planning my next sign, but I came across this Star Biscuit Sign at That's My Letter. I am obsessed with stars (more on that another day) and who doesn't love biscuits? I had to make my own and I came up with this.

Very loud turquoise base, coat of clear varnish, coat of red, bit of sanding to get that turquoise out in the open and then traced my computer-generated letters with carbon paper. I painted the letters in white and finished with a wash of brown paint and glaze then a random slathering of clear varnish so it would look worn off in some places - I stuck it up on my mantel to dry but I love it so much I haven't taken it down.

Now for the wood - I do love all those gorgeous signs being made out there on old doors, etc. but I haven't been lucky enough to find anything like that so I had to resort to what I had on hand. Plywood. Plain old plywood, lying around behind the shed with the perfect level of weathered-ness. Brush off (most of the dirt) and start painting! I love the chips and chunks missing. Makes it look so much more like it was hanging on the front of an abandoned store for years before being rescued.

This was my most recent success - it's a re-creation of last year's attempt but this time with computer-generated letters and a particularly fabulous, knot-holed crumbly piece of wood.

Taped off the halves and part of the pattern - dry brush the paint on

Lay out the letters and tape them in place

Trace over the letters with carbon paper under the white paper

Paint the letters, using as little paint as possible - the less you put on, the less you have to sand off, but try to keep the outside edges crisp. Sand, sand, and sand some more. I have learned that you can almost completely remove the paint and it still looks fantastic. Give it a really good wipe with a damp cloth - microfibre is my favourite. I didn't varnish this one - I liked it the way it looked without.

Here are a few of the lovely, crumbly details

And the finished product! I was really pleased with the way this one came out. I will be sticking with computer letters from now on.

A few weeks ago, I found a piece of plywood under the leaves in my driveway. I have already started brainstorming - stay tuned!

Linking up Here...


  1. Nice signs, I especially love the "West Coast surfboards" since I am on the west coast (southern California) and we almost can't help being involved in surf culture here!


    Kimberly @ TheSterlingCherub
    (My Blogger is messed up and won't let me comment as myself, so I have to be anonymous.)

  2. Hey ...I love the signs...they look amazing...thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving a message...I'm glad you did...I'm your newest Canadian fan...xo

  3. Glad you joined the newbie party. Please add my link along with the others. Have a great day!

  4. Love that West Coast Surfboard sign. How are your arms?(LOL)

  5. I LOVE signs! Very cute! Found you via the Newbie Party. Stop over and visit! I'm your newest follower.

  6. Hi~

    I am obsessed with stars too, so I just love your Star Biscuit Sign!! Happy to be a new follower of your great blog & I invite you to link to my K.I.S.S. Blog Bash. :)


    Drop By The Tattered Tag

  7. Love the a giveaway you would love. Come by and see! A painters dream!!

  8. How cute are these ?! Love the "North Shore" one as that is the name of my brothers' surf shop !! Thanks for the wonderful tutorial,too ... I'm taking notes !! *Becca* (your newest follower)

  9. I love your signs! I saw you over at Debbie's newbie party! I am now following you!

  10. They are all so cute! You're very talented!

    Hope you're having a good week & happy "Wow Us" Wednesday to you :O)


  11. Great work! I have a weakness for signs myself. :-)

  12. Perfect summer surf sign! I'm a west coast transplant!

    -caroline @ c.w.frosting

  13. I absolutely LOVE your signs! Thanks for the inspiration!! Love em'!!

  14. P.S. I'm a new follower, love for you to check out my blog and follow me too if you are interested!! Thanks!

  15. Love those signs! Thanks so much for linking this up to our Wicked Awesome Wednesday party!

  16. You know how much I love your signs! Thank you for linking up to "It's a Party"!

  17. Very nice signs. I love them all. Especially the Westcoast Surfboards sign. My hubby would love it too.

    Thanks for sharing.

    LaVonne @ Long Wait For Isabella

  18. I love your signs!! That West Coast Surfboards would look great in my house. ;) Thanks so much for linking up to Think Pink Sundays - I featured you today!

  19. Your signs are so beautifully done and are definitely a cut above the rest. So many signs are made with vinyl lettering these days, and while they have their own charms, they lose the vintage, hand-made look. Yours genuinely look like they came from a weathered beach shack -- an instant "collectible"! Well done!

    Jenn/Rook No. 17

  20. I love this, it came out great! I've featured this post on Craft Gossip here:

    Thanks for inspiration!

    If you would like a "featured by" button, you can grab one here:

  21. LOVE the surfboard sign! I'm featuring it in the PoPP Spotlight tomorrow. Thanks for sharing with us.

  22. Your sign turned out FABULOUS!!! We are new followers!! I would love to have you link it up at our Sister Sunday Link party that starts tonight!!

  23. Darling! I love these. I did a couple of signs last week for my kitchen. :)

    Love your blog design. I'm your newest follower.

    Have a great weekend!

  24. this is the best sign i've ever love love it! I've been on a sign making kick here at my cottage lately much FUN!

  25. What kind of font did you use for the west coast surfing sign?
    It is so cute! THe one you did for your daughter is really nice too!

  26. I am swooning over here! I love it but I also loved your other ones!

    Linking up at Funky Junk Interiors!


  27. Thank you to all for the lovely comments. I love hearing from you and I appreciate all the support!

    For those of you who may want to try one of these signs, I save all the letter templates and would be happy to send them to you - just send me an email

  28. Cute sign! I am a new follower! Would love for you to come over and visit!

  29. love the signs and the tutorial. Sometimes I get paranoid about sanding so much off, thanks for the reassurance!

  30. Those signs are so fun! I just featured them on my blog. :)

  31. The signs are fantastic! I love the "west coast" one. Great job! I am sharing this on my facebook! Is your blog on facebook?

    Literally Inspired

  32. Nice! I love the bright colors and the verbage is so fun! Great job!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...