Everywhere you look from Instagram to your favorite boutique, you will see beautiful hand-painted signs with simple wood frames. They are most likely associated with the cottage or shabby chic look. I love this look and have even purchased a darling “boy” quote from Jaxn Blvd.
While I love the look of these signs, most are not what I lean toward. I like well-worn, well-loved items, but shabby-chic is generally too distressed for my taste.
Many of the hand-painted signs sold use plywood as the base and barn-wood or weathered wood as the frame. I decided to make my hand-painted sign a little more “clean”, less “distressed”.
Like any DIY project, one of the best reasons to Do-It-Yourself is you get to have it look the way you want it to.
I used a 1” x 12” pine board for the base with as few knots as possible and 1” x 2” pine boards for the frame.
Remember: Actual size of the boards is ¾” x 11 ¼” and ¾” x 1 ½”
The best way to know what size to cut your boards is to hand write the word or phrase you would like to use and see what size makes the most sense.
My cut sizes:
- Base: 1” x 12” board cut in 24” length
- Frame: 1” x 2” board cut in TWO 24” and TWO 12 ¾” lengths
(Frame sizes will vary depending on if your frame is on top of the base or around the outer edges like mine)
If you have a pocket hole jig, drill holes in the back of the base. (Remember, this step is not necessary, do not purchase a jig if you don’t have one)
Stain all sides of frame pieces and base. Allow to dry.
Lightly paint white on top of stained base. Allow to dry.
(Important: if your frame will be glued on the top of the base, do not get white on the sides of the base. You also may want to use smaller boards for your frame.)
When dry, sand to get the desired look. Distress as much or as little as you’d like.
While paint is drying, practice writing the word or phrase until you get the look you like. This repetitive process trains your hand to get the look you want with muscle memory when it is time to paint on base.
Lightly pencil word or phrase on base.
Paint word or phrase using ½” flat brush. Be sure to allow wide and this strokes.
Sand over the word or phrase to achieve desired amount of shabbiness.
Frame with jig holes:
- lay out 1/2" square dowel pieces to act as spacers. Lay painted side down on spacers.
- Lightly glue frame to base either on outer edges. Secure in place with painters tape or a clamp.
- Allow to dry.
- Drill a pilot hole and add screws to secure frame in place.
Frame without jig holes:
- Lightly glue frame to front of base along outer edges.
- Allow to dry.
BONUS: Non-hand painted method:
- Print word or phrase on paper with choice of fonts. (project size, tape papers together)
- Rub pencil on back of pattern.
- Lightly trace on white side of board with pencil side down.
- Fill in letters with paint and brush, paint pen or even a sharpie.
Frame as described above.