Hand-painted Signs




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
Sanding block
Printer with mirror image option
Acrylic craft paint
Assorted brushes, including tiny ones
Watercolor pencils (for shading)
Exacto blade
Stencil transparency film
Spray shellac
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.



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    14 Discussions

    Dr. PTinaW103

    Answer 1 year ago

    I searched Google images for pictures of jessamine and created a composite of blooms, leaves, and vines.


    1 year ago

    These are perfect as gifts as well. Perhaps you could print the signs with different words for different people. For instance, encouraging words like love, happiness, family and so on are possible alternatives to give as general gifts for just about anyone.

    Dr. Pbecky.t.adams

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks--they were fun to do and The Sisters all have them displayed in their homes. I just used a capped marker. Anything solid with a bit of a pointed end will work. It's best to do the transfer while the ink is freshly printed. Good luck!

    Dr. P

    6 years ago on Step 7

    I'll bet they do. Post photos! You know, I've been thinking about the flowers (or whatever illustration--I want to do a chicken, I think). Maybe find good, basic pictures and print them in color. Then burnish the picture onto the board, just like you do the letters, and paint over the image. I don't know. Maybe.

    chris the gardener

    6 years ago on Step 7

    Very nice indeed and very clearly demonstrated. I hope mine come out as well as yours.

    Dr. Pbajablue

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    We shall see--because of work schedules, kids, and geographical logistics, we won't congregate until the first of February. I hope they like them.

    Dr. PPenolopy Bulnick

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Well, thanks! Those watercolor pencils really help with the detail on the flowers. The first time I did one, I was surprised at how those splotches turned into jessamine blossoms.