Mother always said, "Remember who you are." Well, lest the Sisters forget, these hand-painted signs will keep them mindful.
Step 1: Materials List
Wood scraps (I used scrap decking that had been left in the weather for several years) 2x4x26
Printer with mirror image option
Acrylic craft paint
Assorted brushes, including tiny ones
Watercolor pencils (for shading)
Stencil transparency film
Picture hanging hardware
Step 2: Prepare the Wood
Because the wood had been in the elements, I sanded it to remove dirt and debris. The rough finish is part of the charm, so don't overdo it with the sanding block.
Do a whitewash with white acrylic craft paint and a wet brush. Hit both sides and all edges, but don't go for a solid finish. You want the grain to show through.
Step 3: Print the Names
Decide on a font you like (I used Verdana). The size of the font is dependent on the size of the wood; I used 420 point for the 4" wide wood. Of course, the names probably won't fit on a single sheet, so you'll have to do some adjusting of the pattern you run, but that's not hard to do.
Set your print properties to narrow margins, landscape orientation, and mirror image. Trim the white space from your pattern, lay the pattern onto the wood, and rub firmly with a burnishing tool over the entire inked image.
Step 4: Get Really Comfortable
This part takes patience and precision. Follow the outline of your transfer and fill in the letters with the black acrylic craft paint. (The paint dries quickly, but be careful of where you rest your hand. Trying to repaint parts of the the white areas is less satisfactory than I thought it would be.)
In case you're tempted to outline with a Sharpie, I advise against it. I did that once, and the shellac spray caused the edges of the letters to feather badly. Stick with the acrylic paint for a sharp, crisp line.
Step 5: Prepare the Stencils and Paint
Find a photograph or painting you like. I used three sheets of stencil transfer paper--one for the blossoms, one for the leaves, and one for the stems. Sketch a general area for the different colors, and cut out the areas with an exacto blade. I painted the yellow first, then the green, and then the brown/black. I added detail and shading with watercolor pencils and contrasting or shading paint colors. It was really sort of amazing that the blobs of color came together, but I used the original photograph as a guide.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
Spray the surfaces with shellac if you're going to keep the sign indoors.. For outdoor use, I recommend a couple of coats of a brush-on shellac. Attach hanging hardware.
Step 7: Inside or Outside or Way Outside
The signs can be hung inside or out. The weather will age them some, but that only adds to their charm, I think.