I am so excited to be writing about this project! When this post is released my friend and co-worker will be married! Here I am going to show you how to make a handmade wood sign you can give as a special wedding present like I did here!
If you belong to the MPD tribe on Facebook you have been able to follow my progress on this project from start to finish! It has been a learning experience and I loved making this present. I hope to get future requests to make more of this style since it was so much fun with a touch of elegance!
Supplies you will need
- Wood round in the size of your choice. For this project I used an 18″ round I purchased from Menards
- Sandpaper in 120 and 220 grit.
- Tack cloth.
- 1″ Painters tape, 1/4″ Painters tape optional
- Stain color of your choice. I used Minwax in Dark Walnut
- Disposable gloves, disposable paint brush or clean rag (for staining)
- Dixie Belle Fluff. I wanted a white color, a creamy white not sterile white like their Cotton.
- Dixie Belle’s Caviar
- 220 grit Sandblock
- Stencil design. I used my Silhouette and contact paper to make my personalized stencil. Click here to see how I use contact paper without a mat on my Silhouette Cameo
- Water-based sealer. I use either General Finishes Flat out Flat or Dixie Belle’s Clear Coat.
- Embellishment. I added my version of the Re-Fabbed bow with ribbons (here and here) with 2 picks of decorate beads I purchased at Hobby Lobby in the Christmas section at 40% off. I also found pretty silver ribbon at the Dollar Tree in the wedding section here.
The first step to make a handmade wood sign you will need to make sure your piece of wood, or round sign is clean and sanded smooth. I sand the flat sides of my round wood first with 120 grit sandpaper then 220 grit sandpaper with my hand-held sander.
The sides, or rounded areas, I just sand lightly and smooth out the rough areas. You can make yours smoother if you want.
Once this is done, I wipe off the dust with a tack cloth.
I then stain my sign in a clean, dust-free area.
This sign, when painted, will have a minimum of three layers of paint and/or stain.
First is the stained area, then the next two layers are two different colors of paint. I used Dixie Belles Fluff or their creamy white and Caviar, their black.
To stain my board, I normally use a clean rag with gloved hands. I wipe stain on an area in the same direction of the wood grain and then wipe it off.
I do this until all areas of the sign are stained. Front, back and sides.
With oil based stains, I normally let this sit and cure a few days. If you are heavy handed applying the stain, you may need to add a few more days to your wait time to let this cure.
Another step I like to do before moving on to lettering or painting, is to apply a thin coat of sealer.
This helps provide a layer of protection to the background and If I have any small areas where paint may bleed under the painters tape, I can easily do some cleaning with my small pottery spatula or dental pick and a baby wipe.
Click here to see how I go into more detail in a recent blog post on prepping wood for stenciling signs.
The second step to make a handmade wood sign is painting.
This was my first time making this type of sign and I was unsure how far down to come for my border before painting the first layer of paint. I ended up coming down about 6″. I used 1″ painters tape and taped a horizontal line across the sign, in the same direction as the wood grain.
Be careful taping the sides. You want your line to be straight across so you will have to adjust your tape to where you want it and not where the tape wants to go along the side of this rounded sign.
I will show you below in my video tutorial. I even had to go back and look this over to make sure I had taped mine right.
Once you have it taped, you will need to use your Mod Podge of clear sealer and lightly brush over the tape where you are going to paint your first color.
This technique is called burnishing and will help to seal any gaps so paint does not seep under and instead you should get a crisp clean line.
Once my Mod Podge was dry. I laid my first coat of Fluff over the sign and over the tape. Since I am painting a light coat over a stained wood, I ended up needing two coats.
When you do the second coat, you will need to paint over the whole top and sides where you painted your first coat.
The reason for this is we don’t want any hard ridges from where the second coat ends over the area that only has one coat. When this is painted, I removed the tape at an angle slowly. Once the second coat is completely dry we can move onto the next step.
The third step to make a handmade wood sign is to consider what size you want your Fluff border..
My next color is Dixie Belle’s Caviar. I had planned on doing a 1″ border but as you will see in the video, I made a mistake and measured 1″ up (actually down) and then applied my 1″ tape. This made my Fluff border 2″ instead. But as they say in art, “There are no mistakes” and I am sticking with that!
If you are going up 1″ just use your 1″ painter tape and tape along the top edge of your fluff. Once again you will burnish your tape with either Mod Podge or Dixie Belle’s Fluff paint.
If you use a different color than Fluff, then use that color to burnish your next layer. This way if any of this paint seeped underneath the tape it will match the layer that is already there.
When this is dry, I painted my Caviar over the the top and sides, a light coat. I alway paint in light coats, I’d rather do a second coat if needed. To me, I think this helps prevent build up of paint in areas like the edges or corners.
When both coats of the Caviar are on, I remove the painters tape again, slowly at an angle.
When this final layer of paint is completely dry, I apply a light coat of sealer and once dry we can start embellishing our sign!
The Fun Step!
Honestly I enjoy each part of this process of how to make a handmade wood sign with a touch of elegance. But I have to admit actually personalizing or lettering signs is my favorite part.
I have a dedicated post on how to make a stencil with contact paper and apply them to wood (click here) and how to ensure your stencils are centered each time when applying them to your signs (click here). I use both techniques from these posts in this project.
Just follow these steps in my previous posts and/or watch my video below.
I really enjoyed this part! This wedding present was a “group” project I worked on in my private Facebook group with the MPD tribe. In the video below you will see how I worked each process and most of these clips were taken from the Facebook Lives.
I agreed with a fellow Tribe member that the sign was a little “top-heavy”.
To break this up, I went back and used my 1″ painters tape and painted a new border of Caviar to the very top of the round sign.
While Katie and Tanners names were drying, on a whim I decided to use my 1/4″ painters tape and paint a pin strip inside the white or Fluff area of the sign.
This really set this sign up to be extra special!
It’s Bow Time!
Then the question was to add a bow or not?
Once again, my Tribe came to the rescue and shared with me the Re-Fabbed bow and I had to give it a try!
Now I know this type of bow has been around, but Brooke from Re-Fabbed has made this style extra special with her crafting skills.
I went to Hobby Lobby and I started looking around in the ribbon section but I actually found what I liked in the Christmas section and at 40% off!
Remember, this sign is in black and white with walnut stain. I found ribbon colors in the Christmas section with the same theme. I even picked up a few Christmas Picks with beads to embellish my bow.
I decided to use a small 3M hook with an adhesive strip to attach the bow to the sign. I wanted to give Katie the option of using this gift with or without the Re-Fabbed bow.
Congratulations to the newlyweds, Katie and Tanner!
To see this project from start to finish, here it is! Bloopers and all!
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I hope this post inspires you to make a handmade wood sign of your own or to give as a gift. One thing in the painting world, it’s just paint. If you mess up you can sand it down and start over again!
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We would love to have you and if you’re a crafter, my goal is to add several SVG designs to our free library every month for your crafting fun.
I also include in the MPD library a growing supply of stock photos for your use plus a few videos including a no-sew pillow case DIY video and mini tutorials on how to design in Silhouette.
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Happy crafting and let me know if you have any questions or requests!
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