If you, or someone you know, is getting married soon, this Save the Date Wedding Sign is the perfect DIY project for you. It’s not only a beautiful photo prop for couples to take pictures with and let loved ones know when the big day is, it’s the sign that keeps on giving. Trust me, you’ll want to use it again by displaying it at the wedding ceremony and then later you can hang it in your home as artwork. Talk about getting your money’s worth! And it doesn’t take much to make it. Now that you’re on board, let me walk you through the steps.
We start with a good piece of wood. My preference is always pine because it has a gorgeous wood grain and a few knots for visual interest. Pine is also great for staining, but that’s a whole other blog. In fact, if you’re interested in seeing wedding signs that I stained and then painted, you can click this link: http://www.muralsbymarcy.com/wedding-signs/
But back to this project. I found the perfect piece of pine wood at Lowe’s. It’s individually plastic-wrapped and labelled for high-quality crafts. It measures 2′ x 3’6″ which is good to keep in mind if you don’t have a way to cut it. It’s a great size for a sign as-is. Although, the couple I was making this for, requested their Save the Date Wedding Sign be exactly 2’x3′, so I had six inches cut off the side. (I ended up using that scrap piece I cut off for a smaller “guestbook” sign. Nothing goes to waste on my watch!)
Once you have your wood, you’ll want to sand it smooth. This wood didn’t need a whole lot of sanding. I mostly just focused on sanding the edges.
When you’re finished sanding, wipe it clean with a slightly moistened rag and then you’re ready for painting. You won’t need a whole lot of paint for a sign this size. In fact, just buy a paint sample and that will be more than enough. I’m using a Valspar paint sample in a satin finish. The color is called “Swiss Coffee” (Valspar 7002-16). I specifically chose it because I didn’t want a stark white. I wanted just a hint of warmth. You wouldn’t think choosing a white paint would be that big a deal, but there are probably fifty shades of white! (Be sure to check out Valspar’s brochure on whites and neutrals. It’s super helpful.)
Before you take a paint brush or roller and start going gang busters with the paint, here’s an important thing to consider. You don’t want to completely cover the wood with paint, otherwise that defeats the purpose of finding perfect wood grain. Trust me, you want some of that to show through. So instead of painting as you normally would, what you’re going to do is give it more of a color-wash. To do that, I use a sponge. Just go to the Dollar Store and grab a pack of cheap sponges. I always keep them on hand for projects just like this. Run your sponge under the faucet, wring it out, and dip a small bit of it in your paint can. Once you have paint on your sponge, you can start rubbing it over the wood in the same direction as the grain. The paint goes on lightly, so you can just keep layering on more paint until you get the look you want. If your sponge gets too dry, add a few drops of water and keep working.
After your paint dries, you can go over your sign again with a sander and distress it just a bit, especially around the edges. It’s not necessary, but it’s a great look. I purposely took off some of the paint where I wanted to see more wood grain.
With your backdrop all set, now, it’s time to paint your lettering. (Yes, we’re painting the lettering. I know people who own Cricut’s can easily print vinyl letters that stick on, but I like the look of painted letters so much more. And, depending on the font, I have three different ways of doing this. Option One: free-hand it completely. Some fonts are easier than others. But if you have decent writing, or are pretty good at mimicking what you see, this is a great option. You’ll, of course, need artist paint brushes for this part. And make sure you have a really fine tip one. It’s the one I use most when painting letters.
If you don’t think you can free-hand it and make it look good, then Option Two is graphite paper. Graphite paper is an artist’s secret weapon. You can find it at Michaels, or Hobby Lobby. You just print whatever it is you want your sign to say, in the exact font and size you need, put your graphite paper directly underneath it, followed by the wood, and then trace around the letters with a pen or pencil. This creates a template directly onto your wood that you can then paint.
The third option is to use a projector. I finally broke down and bought one a few years ago to simplify my mural painting. I now sketch my murals on paper, where I can erase and make changes easily. Then once I’m happy with my drawing, I project the image onto the wall and can move it around and size it to fit my needs. I’ll admit though, it has spoiled me a bit. I used my projector for this project because I wanted the lettering to be perfect. Even with the outline, when it comes time to paint, you need a very steady hand and lots of patience.
With the Save the Date Wedding Sign all painted and dried, I went ahead and installed the mounting hooks on back before going on to the next step. (Be sure to measure when doing this so that when it comes time to hang on the wall, it’s easier to get it level.)
For the finishing touches, I ordered some fake succulents off of Amazon. It was much more affordable this way. If you price them at Michael’s, some of the bigger succulents are about six to eight dollars apiece. But for just over twenty bucks, I had a box of fake succulents delivered to my door. They were carefully packaged and arrived with not so much as a scratch.
The stems came off with a little twisting, and I was able to easily arrange the succulents and then hot glue them onto the board.
I filled in the gaps with some Spanish moss I picked up at the Dollar Store, and with that, this DIY project was done!
It’s always so rewarding to make something like this yourself, instead of buying it. But for me, the real reward came when I saw these gorgeous photographs of the soon-to-be married couple. Yes, the Save the Date Wedding Sign is beautiful, but it can’t compete with the unmistakeable glow of love and happiness.
Save the Date photos courtesy: Lizzy Bee Photography