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Making an “Antique” Sign

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 I must apologize!  I posted a teaser about this sign I made for Cottages & Bungalows and said I would post the tutorial after the issue was off newsstands.  Well…that was in August, so I think it’s safe to say that those issues have been pulled.  So, at long last, here it is…

What you’ll need:

  • 12” wide pine board cut to desired length
  • Acrylic craft paint (at least three colors)
  • 2 ½” sash brush
  • 1” artist brush, 1.0 liner brush, ½” angled shader
  • Computer
  • Printer and printer paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Graphite transfer paper
  • Ballpoint pen
  • 80 grit sand paper
  • Dark brown soft furniture wax
  • Round brush or cotton cloth
  • Clean cotton cloth
  • Drill with driver bits
  • Tape measure or ruler
  • 2 D-ring hangers
  • Hammer and nails

 

How to do it:

Cut a piece of 12” wide pine board to desired length or use a piece of scrap lumber.  If wood is new, hit it with a hammer and scratch it with nails to rough it up.  Using a 2 ½” sash brush, paint the board in desired color.  It is best to use a flat or matte acrylic or milk paint.  (I used MMSMP in Boxwood.)  Allow paint to dry.

Use a word processing program on the computer to design text for the sign.  Sizing it to fit on the board may take some trial and error, so print only one or two letters at a time until the right font size is determined.  Print the letters.  For smaller letters and words, cut out and tape them together.  Place graphite transfer paper under the lettering and trace outline with a ballpoint pen.  Make sure lettering is level on the sign before tracing.  One piece of transfer paper can be used repeatedly for entire sign.

Use a 1” wash brush to paint large letters or a ½” angled shader for smaller letters.  If desired, paint a border on the sign as well.
Choose a darker, coordinating color to paint an outline and shadow around letters.  This makes the letters stand out and gives the sign a three dimensional appearance.  Allow paint to completely dry.
Sand entire sign with 80 grit sandpaper to distress lettering and paint.  Allow wood to show through in some areas.  Wipe away dust with a cloth.
Use a round brush or soft cloth to apply a dark brown furniture wax in a thin layer to entire surface of sign.  The wax will settle in the imperfections in the wood, giving the sign an authentically aged look.  Allow wax to dry for 3-5 minutes, then buff to a shine with a clean cloth.
Turn sign over and measure approximately 2” in and down on each corner.  Make a mark with a pencil or pen.  Drill a pilot hole for the D-ring hanger screw on the mark.  Attach D-ring hangers to back of the sign using screws.  Hang sign on nails.  For heavy or large signs, locate a stud or use anchors to hang securely.   Always use caution and wear safety glasses when using power tools.

 That’s it!  This is a great project to do with free scraps of wood and can be completed in an afternoon.  I love projects like that.

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Comments

  1. does anyone know what the actual font name that is used for this sign? Thanks

  2. Where do I get “dark brown furniture wax”? I seem to only be finding a tin with no coloring specified and nothing else.

  3. maggie says:

    please, I’m new … is the furniture wax sufficient to make these signs “outdoor” compatible ? thank you.

    • Wax won’t be enough to protect it from the elements for any real amount of time. For that you’d probably want to seal it with several layers of clear coat or polyurethane. But you’ll probably have a bit of a hard time getting that to stay on over wax.

  4. Kristen says:

    This is really cute and looks easy!

  5. Great post! We will be linking to this great post on our website.
    Keep up the great writing.

  6. Hi,
    This is amazing. We are a sign company in NY and we are still making hand painted sign the old timer way. We draw with pencil and then paint over. I love this trick and will try using stencil.
    Thanks
    http://www.signsny.com

  7. Will the stained effect work on any board or just the smooth surface? Trying to see if it would work well on, say a pallet type board? Thanks!

  8. Looks great. And this idea just came up at the right moment , I’m building a wine rack!
    I will put a
    Wine and love sing on it!

Trackbacks

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  4. […] Glue, let dry for a minute, then apply a top layer of paint and watch it crack. Or, you can make wood look aged by applying a thin layer of dark brown furniture wax over the wood and letting it dry. Although […]

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