Today I’ll be showing you how to make rustic wooden signs, inspired by vintage pallet signs. What’s great about this DIY is that it’s an easy task no matter what your artistic skill level is! Your sign could be plain white with ‘paradise’ on it, or just ‘hi’ or baby pink with a flower in the center, or just a circle.
No matter what you want to paint, I’m here to give you some tips that’ll make creating a vintage masterpiece much easier!
You will need:
Acrylic paint (of multiple colours + brown)
Brushes (+, optionally, a foam brush)
Pencil/Ballpoint pen, Scissors, Printer, Ruler, Craft knife
- Get yo wood. I used a plank from Daiso (the $2 store) and got my brother to cut it in half at school. If you can’t find real wood or it’s too expensive, you can use MDF (which you should be able to find at any craft store). + MDF tends to come in various shapes!
- If using real wood, sand down any rough grain (it’ll make it a bit easier to paint- but we don’t want our plank completely smooth!) as well the edges, so we have a clean but slightly worn down surface.
- MDF is a very flat, uninteresting surface so I wanted to create the look of wooden planks nailed together (like wooden pallets). Use a craft knife and ruler to create the different planks. First create a straight incision, then angle the blade and lightly shave away the wood.
Cut out a small piece of sandpaper and fold it in half. Put it in one of the gaps in between each ‘board’ and sand each gap down. You just want to round each edge off and straighten things up.
- I brushed all my shavings out and away with a cheap brush (since its bristles are relatively stiff)
- Paint your board with any colour you want! I would use a light, pastel-y colour (I used white and pale yellow). I applied this base coat with a foam brush as I didn’t want any brush marks on my background. Leave to dry.
- Now onto painting your main subject. If you’re an artistic person, go ahead and sketch the guidelines for what you are painting with a pencil, straight onto the board! I would recommend lightly erasing the lines before painting, so you don’t have a bunch of random lines on your final piece 😉
If your painting involves shapes that you want a crisp line for, sketch and cut out that shape from a piece of paper. For example, I wanted to have a white oval in the middle of a teal section on my painting. Since my background was already white (and I didn’t want to have to paint a thousand untidy layers), I cut an oval out of paper and stuck it onto the wood using masking tape (folded back to become ‘double sided’). To make sure my oval was big enough to for the word ‘WARNING’ to be printed in the center, I printed and roughly cut out the word and traced my circle around it on a separate piece of paper.
That was a lot of words.
Check the video out if it didn’t make sense 😉
Masking tape is your best friend! Use it to create straight lines!With things like text, it’s hard to make sure it’s straight and clean. So, I present to you a method that has made creating “I ♥” a breeze- etching.
Okay, so I don’t know if this method has an actual name, but that’s what I’m going with.Print out any text you want to put on your board (print it out life-sized!) and roughly cut it out. Masking tape it to your board and trace the letters with a ball-point pen- you don’t have to push too hard! This will imprint/indent the text (or whale, or Empire State Building, whatever you printed out 😉 ) onto your board, YAY.
- Fill in the guidelines you made with whatever colour of paint you want
- Step back for a second and look at your painting, does it need more? Maybe another coat? I found that my warning sign looked a bit plain, so I added some yellow details. My no fishing sign needed some touch ups on the red, so applied some fresh paint.
If you feel like your painting is sectioned… like it hasn’t come together, but you don’t know what to add, move on to the next step!
- This is probably my favourite step. It just magically pulls the piece together and gives it such a rustic vibe.
Mix some brown paint with water and start by applying it to the edges of your board. I like to spread the paint/water mixture on the board, let it sit there for a bit (so the wood can soak it in, staining it) then dab the excess mixture off with a tissue.
- Lastly, if you feel like your piece just isn’t vintage enough, lightly sand away some areas. I loved the worn down effect this had on the Dreamers piece I did for Gabi, since it had a few layers of paint and the sanding revealed the ‘lower’ layers.
Just as an extra step (for insurance), I would spray the sign(s) you’ve made with a clear gloss, I just didn’t have one at the time of filming :3 hehe
Check out the gallery for the signs I’ve made here.
This DIY has taken me over a month to film so make sure you let me know if you guys try this tutorial out!