Wooden signs, distressing, and stencils!

Hello world! Lately I’ve been into making wooden signs… using old wood “as is”, or distressing, painting, and stenciling… making it into something new! I’ve been trying out different techniques and wanted to share!

What got me started was this amazing wood Matt saved for me from when he was working on a project in our house. It is almost 100 years old, so the wood was perfectly aged and textured and a beautiful brown color.

Because it was so thin and had a great color, I thought it would be perfect for a WELCOME sign. I looked through many different techniques on stenciling, tracing, transfer paper, etc., to get fonts and text onto a sign, but for this I decided to use chipboard letters in this wonderful western font and trace them onto the wood. I also didn’t even paint the wood, I just left it “as is” because it was already distressed and beautiful.

Here is what I used to paint the words onto the sign:

1) wood

2) chipboard letters

3) pencil

4) paint pen

5) paint

So, it was simple really…I placed the letters onto the sign and traced them in pencil! And then I had a wonderful outline for painting!

As fas as the painting, I may have cheated a bit, but I used a paint pen first to outline what I had previously traced in pencil. Then I used paint to fill it all in. And this is what it looked like! Super easy!

With the same wood, I also made a Wedding Arrow sign, but for that I thought a white color would be better. And since the wood was so old, I didn’t want it to look bright white and new, so I decided to distress it.

For distressing, I did the following steps:

1) paint the wood with one coat of whatever color you want to show through and let it dry

2) paint over that coat with a crackling medium (similar to a glue texture) and let it dry

3) paint over that with the color you want the sign to be and let it dry

4) use sandpaper to sand and distress! pay attention to areas that would normally get distressed and worn, such as corners

5) top it off with a little chisel or nail to nock some holes or chips into the wood

AND you have something like this!

For the letters I used the same Western font chipboard, traced them in pencil, outlined in black paint pen, and filled in with black paint to make the word “WEDDING”. (the arrow was free hand – no tracing here!) 🙂

Here are some photos of some additional signs I made for a wedding that I sold through the ETSY shop.


Stay tuned for more posts on other signs and stenciling techniques!

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2 thoughts on “Wooden signs, distressing, and stencils!

  1. its beautiful sister! absolutely love the wood! if you have new wood and want it to look old, i found a natural stain of grade 0000 steel wool mixed fully with white or apple cider vinegar and let it sit for at least a day waiting for the chemistry to happen! It instantly turns brand new wood to look like its old barn wood weathered from the sun (grayish brown, not as pretty as your wood)! just some thoughts 🙂

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