This DIY Wood Sign is just one example of my recent obsession; creating wood backdrops that are part stain/part paint. The combination of the two just makes for more interesting artwork. And it’s so easy to do, I thought I’d share some simple tips that you can try yourself. Maybe you’ll even experiment with it a bit more.
As always, you start with a good piece of wood. When I can’t find something I like in my husband’s wood scrap pile, I usually just go to Lowe’s and pick up a piece of Craft Master’s pine that comes plastic wrapped in sizes that are great for artwork. Tip #1, you can get up to two free cuts while you’re still at the store. So if the piece you get isn’t the exact size you need, just have someone in the hardware department cut it for you before heading to the register.
Once you have your wood, you’ll need to sand it, particularly along the edges. Always sand in the direction of the grain, and keep in mind the higher the number on the back of the sandpaper, the finer the grit. Since I’m not removing old finishes or scratches, I used #150 grit sandpaper, which is considered a medium grit. If you want to get particular, you can then give it a final light sanding with about a #220 grit sandpaper. You always start with heavier grit and finish with a smoother one.
Using a damp rag, wipe off all the sanding dust and then apply a coat of pre-stain conditioner. This ensures that your stain will go on evenly. Have you ever seen a bad stain job, where the stain is darker in one area than another? That’s exactly what this prevents. Just apply it onto the wood liberally with a paint brush and let it sit for about 15 minutes before staining.
I used a dark espresso stain by Minwax for this particular DIY Wood Sign. I wiped off all the excess with a clean cotton rag and then let it dry overnight. Then I did just a couple of things before I could paint.
Because I wanted to cover only the center of my sign with paint, I used painter’s tape to give me a straight border on both the top and bottom. I allowed a little extra space on the bottom where I planned to add some simple wooden hooks. I found them at the hardware store and not only were they perfect for this DIY Wood Sign, they were pretty inexpensive.
I measured and marked exactly where I wanted those hooks to go and then using a drill press, I drilled counter sink holes about half the depth of my wood.
If you don’t have a drill press, you can use a hand drill to create those sink holes. Then you can insert the wooden dowel (bottom portion of these hooks) and secure them with glue. Of course, I didn’t do that just yet because I didn’t want the hooks in the way while I was painting. Instead, I just cleaned off the dust and pulled out my paint and small roller. I went with a pretty basic white paint color, because I had plenty leftover from another project.
As soon as I was done rolling on the white paint, I peeled off the tape and my lines were perfectly clean. People often make the mistake of waiting for the paint to dry before removing the tape, but in my experience that actually increases your chances of having the paint bleed. So, the sooner you take it off, the better.
I waited for the base paint to dry then got started on the wording that was painted on top. The person I was making this DIY Wood Sign for wanted it to say “Hero Up,” which I thought was perfect. And because it was going to be hung in her children’s sports-themed playroom, I tried to mimic a baseball font with a giant tail at the end.
I forgot to take pictures when I painted the wooden hooks and then gently hammered them into the sink holes with just a tiny bit of wood glue, but I’m sure you can figure that part out on your own. At any rate, I was happy with the way this DIY Wood Sign turned out. It adds just the perfect touch on the wall of the playroom, where the kids can easily access their hero costumes.
I’m so tempted to show you a wide shot of the playroom, because I not only made this sign for it, I painted a mural on one of the walls and did some other fun things in there. But I’m saving that for a separate blog shot on video. I hope to share it with you very soon.
Just for fun, though, here’s another wood sign I recently made with the same part stain/part paint look. It will give you another idea of how you can play with this technique. If you come up with something cool, be sure to share it with me on my facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/muralsbymarcy/
Thanks for checking out my blog. Check back soon. 🙂