Weathered wooden sign DIY

Happy Superbowl Sunday! Hope everyone is preparing to partake in excessive amounts of unhealthy food and drink. We’re cooking up our famous cajun lime shrimp tacos and red velvet cake martinis—that means it’s going to be a good night.

But first, I’m here to share a quick tutorial on how I made my Tea Time sign:

Believe it or not, no fancy machines or tools were used, and the whole thing cost me $0. Here is what you will need:

A 1×5″ board, cut to 18″ long
A basic inkjet printer and paper
Sandpaper & paint (flat works best)

That’s it!

When looking for kitchen sign inspiration online, I found this tutorial (one of the few that didn’t require a silhouette machine). I loved the way hers turned out:

So I followed her technique for my own. 

I had a random leftover piece of wood from some project sitting in the garage collecting dust, and I thought it would make a perfect plaque for a new kitchen sign.

Next came time for the fun part: designing it.

I chose the words “Tea Time”, and drew a little teacup for added interest.

In order to transfer the words onto the wood properly, I had to flip my graphic. Because it was too large to fit on one sheet of 8.5×11″ paper, I split them up into three sections and divided them with a cut line so I could realign them correctly on the wood.

Here they are printed out:

Next it was time to prep the wood. This is also a fun part. I wanted a distressed look, so I took a hammer and screwdriver and roughed it up a bit. Then I grabbed some white paint and dry brushed a few coats on.

Once dry, I lightly brushed a coat of light turquoise paint, and sanded everything down. There is no real technique to this… you just distress, paint and sand until you achieve the look you want.

Finally, it was time to apply the letters.

I laid my peices face down on the wood and secured them into place with tape.

Next, I took a brush, dipped it into water, and lightly coated the surface. In order to get the ink to transfer, I used a sharpie cap (any smooth hard surface will do) and burnished over the letters until every spot was covered. I don’t have an in progress shot of this, but here is one from the tutorial I followed:

I ran into a few hiccups along the way… my paper had torn in a few spots and it didn’t look like the ink was transferring well in others. This may be due to very thin paper? Not really sure. Here’s how it looked once the paper was removed:

The darker areas are where the actual paper fibers had been transferred and stuck on… again, it must have been super thin the paper I was using. But I wasn’t too worried—texture just makes it even more aged looking, right?

I lightly went over the letters with a coloring pencil to fill it in some, did a final sanding, and it was done and ready to be hung!

Oh, and see that flower bucket?

It used to be this:

I picked it up at Goodwill for 99 cents. Sanded the candy cane striped paint, gave
it a coat of white, a coat of turquoise (same shades from the tea time sign), and gave it a final sanding to let bits of metal show through. I like how they kind of coordinate.

If you’d like to make your own tea time sign, I’ve saved the template for you here (just click Download on the top left menu). It’s already sized for your 1×5″ board (which techically measures 3/4″ x 4.5″) and ready to print. The only requirement is that you must show me your completed project pictures!

Alright… we’ve got some cajun shrimps waiting to be fried up… be back soon with my DIY Chalkboard tutorial!

29 thoughts on “Weathered wooden sign DIY

  1. If you use oil of wintergreen instead of water, and a bone folder instead of a sharpie, you'll get great results! 🙂

  2. Happened by your blog by accident, and I must say that I love it. I really like this sign and already know the piece of wood I have in my garage to try it out. Thanks!

  3. Happened by your blog by accident, and I must say that I love it. I really like this sign and already know the piece of wood I have in my garage to try it out. Thanks!

  4. Beautiful! I wanted to use the template to make this sign for over the tea table at my daughter's senior tea in May, but it won't download. Any tips for me? It says that it was sent as an email and won't load?

  5. Jenn… that is odd… it should just take you to my Picasa web albums page with a preview, and then you woud click Download at the top, and save it to your desktop. I'm not sure what else could be going on!

  6. I just stumbled on your blog! You're amazing! I love the tutorials on your blog and I'm going to try follow your tutorial for a sign in m laundry! Thanks!

  7. You can design your own custom signs in the form of proverbs, quote or song, which can be created into an astounding wood sign through skilled professionals. This is one of the important features of custom handmade wood signs.

  8. What a cool idea. I sell new, laser engraved wood plaques, but I definitely will consider trying this for an alternative. I love the distressed / vintage look you have here. Thanks for the tutorial!

  9. We actually hired a carpenter to make them… I wanted to DIY but had no idea how to make them so getting a pro was our best option!

  10. H I love this,, so just by printing off your letters using normal paper once wet you just scraped over to transfer the ink? Or did you use the pen to go over the lettering ?
    Thanks so much

  11. By using just the cap to apply pressure, most of the ink transferred over (you can see how it turned out in the photo after I removed the paper). I went over some areas with a colored pencil to fill it in a bit more though. Hope this helps!

Comments are closed.