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Wood Plank Sign Tutorial

5 Nov

I got the inspiration for this idea when I saw a picture of another large wood sign browsing Houzz.com.  My inspiration photo can be found here.

When we framed our basement, we ripped out some old storage shelving, and the green planks used to make this sign were part of the shelving we removed.  I really liked the color and the naturally distressed look.  As soon as I saw them, I just knew I needed to make a sign out of them.

If you aren’t lucky enough to come across some already distressed & colored boards, it wouldn’t be too difficult to buy some 1×6’s, then paint and distress them yourself.

I think my dad, brother, and husband (who all helped with the storage room demo)  thought I was a little odd in the head.  But, I never let that sway me (vision, you have to have vision)!

I started out first by cutting my planks to size and connecting them all together by nailing them into a few 1×2’s (already on hand). I recommend using a nail gun if you have one.  It’s leaves the least amount of nail showing and preserves the look of the wood.

Our nails were a little long so we had to hammer them over on the back.

Once you’ve got your planks all together, you’ll need to create some way to mount it on the back.  I went with some eyelet screws, attached to the side of the 1×2’s, and heavy duty wire between them to hang it like a picture.

Now you’re ready to put words on you sign (or really whatever your heart desires, a pony?, a bowl of fruit?, the sun?, yeah pretty much whatever, lol).  If you are a good artist then it would be a great opportunity to showcase your art on a different kind of canvas.

I went with words because I knew I could make a stencil and it wouldn’t be too difficult.

To make my stencil I used my Silhouette Cameo.  I bought my Cameo in a bundle from Ebay that came with the vinyl I would need to make my stencil.  You could also make your own stencil if you like (there is a tutorial here and here)  but I think vinyl works the best to get your lines nice and crisp.

Once you get your stencil cut out (tutorial later on how to create a stencil with a Cameo) you’ll want to line it up on your board to make sure it’ll all fit just right.

You always want to lay things out before attaching them.  If you notice, the bottom of the C did not quite line up for some reason so I needed to cut it out and line it up manually.

Once you are sure of the layout and you like how it looks it’s time to attach it.

With vinyl, you need to put transfer paper on the top first, so that when you peel the back off it’ll still have stability and a way to handle it.

Now you can peel the back off and attach it to your boards.

Once you have the back peeled off and laid out on your boards you will want to really burnish them on there.  With the bundle I bought I got a scraper to press everything on nicely.  If you don’t have a scraper, you can find them here, or anything with a rounded hard edge should work.  Don’t use anything without a smooth edge or you risk ripping your vinyl.

Now that everything is adhered, it’s time to pull off the transfer paper.  This part takes a bit of time and patience.  If you take the paper off too fast then your vinyl will just pull up.  So take it slow.  While I pulled my paper up I also took my scraper and pressed down on the vinyl to make sure it stayed in place.

Once you’ve finally got the paper off, the sign will look something like this and you’re almost ready for paint!

paper offCover all of the space that you don’t want painted with paper and painters tape or masking tape. I even taped all my letters at the seams to make sure no paint would get under the vinyl.

You are now officially ready for painting! Just before I started painting, I pushed around the edges of all of the letters with my fingers just to give them one last good adhesion.  On my first coat I went with Krylon white paint+primer  spray paint in satin.  I wanted to make sure I got good adhesion so that’ why I went with the primer mixture first.

After that I used Krylon white in semi-gloss to do the rest of the coats.  Here is coat number two.

If you are wanting a little of your wood to show through the paint then I would probably stop there.  I wanted mine pretty solid so I went ahead and did a third coat of paint.

I let everything dry for a long while before I removed my paper.   Then this is what I ended up with.

I had a few spots where the lines were a little blurred but they weren’t too bad. You are bound to get that if you are on a very uneven surface as I was.  I wanted shading around the letters so I painted it on by hand.

Last, I wanted my edges to be a little more polished so I finished them with a clear drying polyurethane in satin.  In hindsight I think a gloss would have looked better, but the satin is fine.

Now you are all done and ready to hang your sign!  If you use planks anything like ours then that sucker will be HEAVY!  If possible try to mount it in a stud.  If you don’t have a stud, make sure that you get hardware that will be strong enough to hold it up.  I’m sure if it fell it would cause some damage, yikes!

This is one of our favorite things in our living room and it’s pretty unique too, something I always like.  So, maybe if you find some old wood laying around you can make your own sign now!

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Cheap Haunting Halloween Display

18 Sep

I’ve decided than I’m titling my display: Escape of the Baby Tarantulas!  It’s too bad you can’t see it in person.  I can’t seem to quite capture the horrificness of it all.  For less than $10 we created ourselves a mini horrorscape.

The Dollar Tree played an integral part in this weeks post.  All of our goulies and beasties (except one) came from their store, so a BIG thanks to them!  I was so excited when I walked in a saw their black crows.  I had been looking for some but everywhere else was just too expensive.  The giant tarantula was also an exciting find.  The “baby tarantulas” are just spider rings with the ring part cut off.  The skull is fine for now but I think it’s going to get a little sprucing up as well.  It looks a little too plasticy to me.

Everything else I already had with the exception of the cheese cloth and tea to die it with.  I died the cheesecloth because I didn’t think it looked aged enough, then chopped it up a little to give it that mummy look.

The books are one of my favorite touches.  I scoured my collection and came up with three that were fitting for the current season.  The Complete Stories of Edgar Allan Poe, The Way of All Flesh, and The Winter of our Discontent.  I must admit I don’t know the latter two books but I liked the titles none the less. (They are probably classics and I’m totally showing my ignorance!)

The pumpkin and gourd were two purchases I made a long long time ago and they needed some life, so they got a shiny new coat of paint (which I also had on hand).

   

The wreath and spider web were more of my on hand decor and I recently got a few old bleach bottles from a yard sale and thought one of those would  just go perfect to hold up my books.

I got the tree branch from an old tree in our yard and it just happened to have to perfect bow in it and looks rather ominous don’t you think?

Lastly I cut out a crow silhouette to put into the back of my lantern. The lanter felt a little out of place without a beastie so I gave it just a little touch of one.

The rest of the decor is what I normally have there.  However, I think an antiqued mirror instead would look fantastic.  Maybe another DIY project?

So there you have it.  Our super cheap, haunting Halloween, display.

fall link partyHome Stories A2Z

Easy Craft: Felt Farm

12 Sep

So let me just begin with the fact that I already typed out this post once and it disappeared when I tried to publish!  I’m sure you can imagine the death stare I was giving my computer.  It was lucky it didn’t get thrown against the wall!  RRRRR!  So hopefully I won’t forget anything in my frustrated typing.

So as easy as this felt board is, it is also time consuming.

One thing you’ll need to understand is that you will be cutting each piece out 3 times.  If you are a knucklehead, like me, (haha, the first time I was a numbskull) and try to do this in two days then you will have MAJOR FINGER PAIN from all the cutting.  Just a warning!

I did a farm but there are so many options to choose from.  Just find what fits your situation/personality best.  Mine happens to be for a little girl who likes horses (it wasn’t until halfway through this project that I thought the wild west theme would have had more horses but there was NO WAY I was starting over now).

First you’ll want to find some pictures that you like for your board.  If you are intending to sell your board I would recommend getting the rights to whatever pictures you use.

Print out all the pieces and cut, cut, cut.  This is cut #1.

Once you’ve got all your pieces cut out (and you’re crying for mercy from the scissor gods) the next step is to laminate them.

If you don’t have a laminator, well I guess you’re just tough outta luck and need to move on to another project.  Totally kidding.  If you don’t have one of these beauties for yourself most printing stores will laminate them for you.  Or, if you’ve got the “in” with a teacher, try to get them to do it for you pro bono.

Now that your pieces are all laminated you’ll need to cut them out (there’s cut #2).  Make sure when you do this you don’t cut too close to your pieces.  If you do, you could break the seal and then the lamination will peel apart.

Each piece you cut out you’ll now want to trace, face down, on some felt.  I used a coordinating color for each piece.

Get ready!  Here comes cut #3!  Cut out your traced felt.  Finally no more cutting…oh wait, nope, just kidding there is more. (Waaaah!)

Your laminated pieces and the matching felt now need to be attached to each other.

I used Crafter’s Pick: The Ultimate craft glue.  I chose this glue because it works for fabric, plastic, and other hard to glue surfaces.  Whatever glue you choose just make sure that is dries clear, since you’ll be able to see some glue through the lamination.

Completely cover the backs of your laminated pieces, with the exception of any big ones, which you’ll just glue around the entire edge and swirl around the middle.

ATTACH TO FELT!  Let dry.  Your pieces are done!  Aren’t you thrilled!  You’re all done!  Well, with that part anyway.  But now you have the background to do! Yay!

The background is another one of those “full of options” things.  So it’s completely up to you.  You could go totally slacker and tack a swatch of felt onto the wall and call it good, but where is the fun in that!

I decided to frame my board and found a too cute frame that looks like old barn wood (ha, get it? farm? barn wood?).  But first you need to create the background.

Depending on the size you want, you may need to buy felt from the bolt instead of the singles.  I bought green and blue for the sky and grass.

I wanted to keep it relatively simple so it wouldn’t compete with all the little characters.  Pretty much anything you can think to put on your background you could make into a separate piece for more fun!  So I put on just a path and a river.  If you want a path, river, etc. I would recommend making a template first.  I went through three templates before I got the look I wanted.  Just lay your paper down and draw what you think you want.

Once you have your templates set, trace them to your felt and cut them out.

Now that you have your background scenery ready it’s time to put it together.  I just used a basic straight stitch on my sewing machine to attach all my pieces.  You could also do a cute hand stitch like the whip stitch or the blanket stitch.  If you don’t want to sew at all then you could use Heat n’ Bond or something similar.

Now with your background done you’re ready to frame it.

Cut out some cardboard (or other rigid material) to fit your frame.  Once you have that cut out, use spray adhesive to attach your background to your cardboard.  You don’t want it wiggling around when the kiddos come to play (and let’s be honest, sometimes be rough) with it.

And in the frame it goes!  If you got a frame like we did, that has no back and no tabs, then you can just staple it to the back of the frame.

VIOLA! You’re done!  You’re now the proud owner of a fantabulous, fun, framed, felt farm!

The sky is the limit with this project and if you have time you could let your imagination run wild.

I was on a little bit of a time crunch so I had to “wrangle” myself in, but if I ever make one of these again, with more time, maybe I’ll make it extra super-rific!

The best way to hang this is to use the 3m picture hanging strips.  They will hold your frame solid to the wall with no sway.

Hope you enjoyed!  Please let me know if I left anything out.  (I am still seething a little bit after all, could you blame me?)