It's funny, I never saw myself as a "rustic" or "farmhouse" style person. I always saw myself decorating my house with a modern cosmopolitan vibe. But then, I like all things Pottery Barn, and we bought a ranch around the corner from an old farm, and well, I believe you have to work with the house. This house wants to be comfy, and cozy, and as much as I tried to push clean lines and metallics on it...it wanted burlap, chunky blankets, and rustic touches. So I'm going where the house wants to go, but still keeping some of me in it too (I'm looking at you metallic candlesticks- gotta have some glam!). I have been thinking about this sign for some time now. I knew I wanted one, I just couldn't find "the one." I came close to finding "the one" last week, but it just wasn't it, so I made it myself! It cost me nothing, it will cost you $15 at most!
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So, the sign that it was time to make it (haha see what I did there) came last week I was at "Christmas Tree" (Christmas Tree Shops for those of you outside New England). I saw a "Welcome" sign in their new Grainhouse collection. It was pretty cute, and well priced. I came really close to buying it, but as always, I thought to myself "It's not exactly what I want, and I could make that for less" even when the original item was only $25.
I planned on making it earlier in the week, and then some mutant flu/cold thingy hit me, and forced me to leave the house only for work and toothpaste (does anyone else always run out at the most inconvenient time?). Anyways it forced me to put the project off until this weekend, but it also got me to look at several examples of these type of signs online. They're pretty popular right now for example this bakery sign is great, so is this farmhouse one. I decided that since I'm putting it where you will see it walking out the door, "Welcome" doesn't really work, so I decided on "Home." It also has the "O" in it, so I can have the little wreath hook.
I decided to challenge myself to make this with only things I had in my house. I do a lot of projects so I had this scrap piece of wood and some paint leftover from my dining room shelves and closet remodel, so this project was 100% free for me. Depending on what you already have, it could run you anywhere between $6 and $15. These signs aren't the most expensive to buy, but I like that you can customize the word, colors, and everything to your own decor.
This project turned out nothing like I envisioned it my head, but like always, I like how it worked out even better! So here's how I did it. If you take out the dry time, it's less than an hour start to finish, but of course it needs to dry. It's really about four 10 minute chunks of time that you will need.
A board your width and length of choosing. (Mine was a leftover scrap from another project. It's Eastern White Pine, which is honestly the cheapest kind you can get at Lowes, and I love it.)
A darker stain color (I used Minewax in Dark Walnut)
A lighter (white) paint color (I used SW Oragami White)
Sandpaper (220 is preferable, but honestly whatever you have will work)
A nail if you're going to hang a wreath on it
Step One: Prep your board. I had this leftover piece of wood from when I built the ladder shelves in my dining room. I sanded it to make sure there were no splinters, but it's supposed to be a rustic sign, so I didn't go too crazy.
Step Two: Stain your board. I used an old T-Shirt and put a very thin layer of stain on. I used Minewax Dark Walnut. You only need very little, so definitely use some leftover from a project, or if you do buy it, buy only the small container. The color is so pretty that I considered keeping it that color and doing the letters, but I knew I wanted something lighter in my living room. Don't stress too much about being perfect- you're going to paint over this, and again- think rustic. Give the stain about 15 minutes to dry and wipe off any excess with a rag or paper towel. I then let it dry for another hour just to let it really soak in and be sure it was good to go. Then take a soapy sponge and wipe up all the stain you got everywhere when you tipped the can over... thank goodness oil based is a fairly easy clean up. Don't do this on your nice floors!
Step Three: Paint a solid paint color over the stain. I used Oragami White by Sherwin Williams because I had a sample from when I was trying to decide what color to paint my kitchen cabinets. Again, you only need a small amount, so if you don't have any white or light paint lying around, just get a sample pot (they're around $2) at Lower or Home Depot (or wherever you buy your paint).
This is actually where the project turned out differently than I planed. I originally planned to paint a really thick coat of white on. However I forgot to shake the paint, and it ended up being really thin, almost like a white wash. I just went with it, and it ended up giving it a really cool beachy vibe that I'm going to replicate for a later project. You could do a solid white color if you want more "farmhouse chippy" as an end result, or you could put some white paint in a cup and water it down for a "wash" if you want something more "rustic coastal" like I ended up with. I freaked out at first, (I say it every time there's always a moment in DIY where you wonder what the heck you're doing), but it turned out great. Happy accidents, right?
Step Four: After the white layer has dried it's time to letter. I used my Silhouette Portrait machine to cut out the four letters. You could use a stencil if you had one, or even use a regular word processor and then cut them out by hand. I used "Superclaredon" for the font and sized them at 657 (who knew it went that high). That's on the Silhouette though, so you should play around with what works for you.
Side rant: If you have been thinking about getting a "cutter" machine of some kind, I'm obsessed with mine. I know everyone loves the Cricut, and I can't speak to it because I haven't used one, but I have used my Silhouette for more projects that I could imagine. Anyways, back to the sign...
So one of the nice things about using a machine to do it, is that I had the actual letters to trace around, and the cutout that I could use a stencil. I decided to use the letters to space everything out, and then tape the cutout down to stencil instead of tracing and filling in. Does that make sense? This is what it looked like:
Stenciling was definitely quicker, but it probably would have been "neater" and more "professional" looking if I had traced and filled in. Some of the letters are a little smudgy. Whatever, remember guys it's rustic. Hehe, rustic is the way to go, you don't have to be perfect! No really, you don't. Don't kill yourself on this step, we're going to be sanding over them anyways. Just make sure they are really solid and filled in. I used the same white paint for the letters. Originally I planned on doing a white background and gray letters, but since the background was more gray, I switched and did white. Again, happy accidents!
Step Five: After the letters have dried, remove your stencils if you used them, and sand that baby down! Less is more here. I used an electric sander, but you could easily do it by hand. You don't want to go overboard with sanding, but you do want the stain to come through in some areas. Definitely give the letters a once over, and then pay attention to the sides and corners, making them a little darker by having more of the stain come through. Start easy, you can always take more paint off, but you can't really add more on, so just sand until you get your desired effect. Then, if you're like me, go back and do one more little thing that you wish you hand't and drive yourself crazy looking at it for all eternity (I'm not going to tell you where it is thought).
That's it! You're done. You may want to seal it. I didn't since it's just going to be inside, but maybe I will at some point. If I was giving it as a gift I would. If you are replacing an "O" with a wreath you just need to nail a small finishing nail at the top of the letter. I have it pictured with forsythia but I'm going to replace it with boxwood I think. I like that I can change it up seasonally.
Is there a sign you've been dying to make? What word will you use? Challenge yourself to use what you have in your house, you would be so surprised at what you can make with what you already have!