Have you seen all the awesome farmhouse signs everywhere? Pretty cool right? I have seen several I have drooled over, but I am way too cheap to pay for them.
Since I refused to pay for them I needed to figure out how to make them myself. I did some research and tested out several methods and came up with a very easy DIY farmhouse sign tutorial. This is great because you will probably have all or most of the materials already. For my first sign (the laboratory sign) I had everything but the hangars so all total that project cost me $3.44 and some time. I am pretty happy with the results and since it was pretty quick and was insanely cheap I certainly can’t complain. Not to mention if I make them myself I can customize size, colors, and wording.
Making your own signs is really easy and relatively quick depending on the intricacy of your design and size of your sign. I would highly recommend trying it out.
Here are the supplies and steps I used to make all my signs.
– piece(s) of older (if possible) wood
– chalk paint
– varying size paint brushes or Chalk Markers
– stiff bristle paint brush
– computer and printer
– painters tape
– a pen
Pick and prep your board. Get started by finding the right piece of wood. I always start by scavenging my scrap wood pile. If you don’t have one of those or any scrap wood hit up the big box store or a lumber yard and get some pieces. Try to keep your thickness to around 1″. Don’t use a 2 by 4 or similar as those are pretty thick and heavy and won’t look quite right either. Aged pallet boards work great for this as they are usually 1″ thick, but are usually only 4 inches wide so you may have to fasten a few together.
You will need to paint your sign the main background color. I usually use chalk paint, but that isn’t a must. Feel free to use any paint you already have. Paint entire board with a light coat. You want to still be able to see some of the wood grain and imperfections. If you apply to thick it isn’t critical just causes you a bit more work.
My wood (for the laboratory sign) was an old piece I found laying around behind my barn that belongs to an old swing set, so it already had the weather barnwood look I wanted. If you are starting out with a new piece of wood you will want to age it. There are multiple methods for this you will just have to use trial and error to figure out the best one. Honestly though you won’t ruin or hurt the wood so be bold.
Get on your computer and open a word document and spell out whatever word(s) you want. (I used Bernard at 400 point for the laboratory sign) Play around with the fonts and sizes until you get the one that fits your sign best. Once you have it print this out. Same goes if you want to add a picture. Just print the picture in the size you want. Keep pictures simple though. Too much detail will be hard to do and won’t look right. Remember you are going for a old rustic farmhouse look. They didn’t usually get intricate on their signs.
Position the word(s) onto the board where you want them and then tape them down. If you have multiple pages like I did do your best to make sure the letters are all even and straight with each other.
Take a pen and trace the letters. Press a little hard so that it indents into the wood. This gets a little tricky the rougher the surface of your wood, but do your best.
Once finished with that remove your paper and now you should have an outline of your word(s) on the wood.
Next paint your letters whatever color you would like. You can either use the little paint brushes for this or I recently found the chalk markers work amazing for this part! They make super clean lines and cut down on time.
Let the piece completely dry. Once it has dried you can choose to leave it the way it is if you like the look or if you want more of an aged feel grab the sandpaper and rough it up a bit.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to this it is all personal preference. I also took my hand sander and rounded a couple corners and edges just to give it more of a used feel. If you don’t like the way it turned out or you feel you sanded off too much color simply repaint that area let it dry and start over. No need to be perfect you are going for a rustic weathered look so imperfections only add to it. Try to use a finer grit sandpaper. The rough grit won’t get you the look you want. Hint: the higher the number the finer the grit. I usually stick to 100-150 grit.
Once you have it looking the way you like you will need to attach a hangar of some kind. I like sawtooth hangars because they are easy to instal, cheap, and pictures are super easy to hang and get straight with them. These are crazy easy to use simply put the hangar where you want it and hammer in the 2 tiny nails that come with.
Step 9: Hang your new sign and enjoy!