Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hand-Painted Wood Sign

 This was a whole new venture for me...so I thought I'd share what I learned!

Last year I decided to paint my laundry room. My husband got a new job and we no longer had to move, so within a week of him moving back home, I had LOTS of plans for our house. 
And first on the list was the laundry room. 

Our laundry room is also a heated back porch that was added on to the house a while back, so one wall is still old siding. This is the AWESOME shade of green our house was at one point in time...


We found this lovely shade behind one of the shelves we took down. That sucker was nailed, screwed, and glued to the wall well enough to withstand any tornado that threatened it. It was lots of fun trying to take it down. Just ask my hubby!

All I did to the room was paint the walls, remove a couple shelves and rearrange some things. I bought a new hamper and rug and that was good enough. Of course, I had grand plans of moving the washer and dryer to another wall and having my hubby build some shelves around them with a counter on top...that was a year ago...

Here it is all painted and put back together.
Nothing fancy, but it's a little prettier. 

Going back to the old shelf that we pried off the wall...
Once we got it down and I saw it, I knew I could use it for something. I didn't know what yet, but something would come to me. I liked how it was beat up and old looking, but not like the new stuff you can buy that is made to look "old".

It sat in the garage for a while until it came to me. Our dear friends, Marcie and Dennis, that have the farm we like to hang out at were building a new house and I wanted to make Marcie something for a house-warming gift. I finally decided to make some kind of wall decor with the shelf. I knew of a Bible verse that was special to their family and I happened to have yellow paint left from the laundry room (Marcie's favorite color) and with that I had a plan.

I always saw these cute homemade signs on Pinterest that people would make with fancy machines that cut out letters or shapes. Or they were super talented and could just paint it free-hand. Well I had neither of those abilities, so I researched other ways to make wood signs. I found a few different methods and decided to try two. 

First I had to print out my verse in the fonts I wanted to use. It took a few tries printing out the right sizes and making up my mind on the fonts, but finally I had something I liked. 

The next step was to shade the back of the words. I borrowed a graphite pencil from my daughter's drawing kit and used that for the shading. It worked a little better than a regular pencil, but you could still use a pencil. 

Before I made the large sign, I wanted to practice. My front porch is always a disaster after school but this year we installed hooks for all the children to hang their coats and bags. So I made name signs to place above each hook so everyone had a designated space.

I shaded the backside of each letter on all of the words and names.

It was A LOT of shading....

After all the words and names were shaded, I laid the paper face-up on the wood I was using. Once it was where I wanted it, I taped in place. 
Then I took a pencil and traced each letter, pushing pretty hard, in order to transfer the shading on the back to the wood.

Once everything was traced, I carefully pulled the paper off and this is how it looked. 

Now this is where my two projects differed. I had two methods I wanted to try: painting or coloring.
The easier of the two was coloring. I bought bright colored Sharpies and tried coloring in the letters on the names for the porch. 

It was rather easy and the colors were pretty, but you could definitely tell it was colored with marker.
One other negative about this method (This is will give away how long ago I meant to blog about this....) is that I did these a year ago and they are now very faded and don't look good at all. 

The other method was to paint the letters. This made me nervous because I'm not a painter. I don't feel like I have control over the brush and I'm kind of a perfectionist with this stuff and I knew I'd mess up. But I knew I had to try it on the big board because it would look better. 

The next step for the wall hanging was to prep the shelf. I wiped it down, sanded it, wiped it again, spackled all the holes, primed it twice and gave it two coats of yellow on both sides. 

I then placed my words, taped them down, and began to trace them.

After getting it all traced, the next step is to let it sit around your house for 4 months and do nothing. Okay, not really, but that's what I did. In my defense, I was very pregnant and very over anything that wasn't a necessity to my or my family's survival. So sat it did until a few weeks ago when my newborn slept through the night for the first time. I had so much energy that day I decided to conquer my painting fear and just do it. 

I used acrylic paint and a tiny paint brush, all of which I got pretty cheap from Hobby Lobby. The nice thing about acrylic paint is that it cleans up easy with water, so if I did make a bad mistake it was relatively easy to fix. The only tip I can give you for hand painting the letters is slow and steady. I took my time and just tried as best as I could to stay within the lines. I did have to do two coats on most of the colors, but the second coat was much easier and faster than the first.

That's about it! It was a long process (even without the 4 month procrastination) and it took patience, but it was worth it. It barely cost me any money and it was made by my hands which makes it even more special. It was supposed to be a Christmas gift...then Christmas came and went. Then it was going to be a gift when they moved into the house...that came and went. So it ended up being a Merry ChristmasBirthdayMoveInJustBecauseILoveYou gift in the middle of the summer. 

Now that I've tried painting, I'm not as afraid of it anymore. I am even thinking about making something for myself that is similar...but first I need to find another old shelf...

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