Are you wanting to jump on the make your own sign bandwagon? Here’s a quick tutorial showing you the supplies I use and the steps I take to make these amazing signs! I love making signs because I don’t have to finish the entire project in one night, which I rarely have time to complete any crafting projects in one night with my son running around, but they are great sellers at craft shows, and you can use stencils to make the sign custom for gifts which everyone loves! Lets get started!
Wood from Lowes or a blank sign. I like to use Pine for my wooden signs. It stains and paints easy, but you can also use pallet wood, old fence panels, or an old cabinet door! The smoother the wood, the less bleeding you will encounter!
Stain or Paint. My favorite wood stain is Rustoleum. It comes in several finishes and dries in an hour or so, so I can stain my wood while my son is sleeping, apply the stencil I cut out with my SilhouetteCameo 3, and seal it in the same day!
Remember to work in a well ventilated area and wear a mask if you are sensitive to fumes. Chalk paint has almost no smell so I normally don’t wear a mask for that.
Chalk Paint for sign base or stencil if not staining. Annie Sloan chalk paint is amazing! If you try other brands, and then this brand you will never go back! I love chalk paint over staining because it doesn’t give off the harsh smell that stain does, so I can paint in the garage while my son is decorating a bird house or watering plants. You might be able to find it in a local boutique, but here’s an amazon link below just in case!
Acrylic paint: If you aren’t quite ready to invest in chalk paint, you can use acrylic paint to fill in designs on a stained sign. My favorite brand is Americana. It dries fast, gives great coverage, comes in lots of colors, and is affordable! I normally have to do a few coats with this depending on the color i’m using. It also is more likely to peel up when removing the stencil, but a quick touch up can fix any boo boos.
Foam brushes to apply stain and paint. I like to use foam brushes and just toss them afterwards. They don’t leave the brush strokes that a regular paint brush leaves, they apply a smooth coat, and you can dab them in an up and down motion when filling in the stencil, which helps prevent bleeding!
Oramask stencil Vinyl for stencil or oracle 631. I prefer the Oramask stencil vinyl with my cutting machine because it is a little see through, and easier to see where you are placing it on the sign. It also easily tears off in pieces when you are removing it which can be helpful. The blue film isn’t as sticly as vinyl, but gives a great seal. It is made for making signs, and was definitely a game changer for me when I started making signs to sell. Yhe contact paper is used to transfer the stencil from it’s paper backing to the wood. Once you have it on you can use a burnisher like the one posted below to smooth the stencil onto the wood. I sometimes use a kitchen spatula or plastic spoon when I can’t find mine! =)
Silhouette Cameo 3, or other cutting machine. I have been using this brand for several years and just upgraded to the new model. I used it to cut the stencils for all of the signs below! My Cameo Class group will be learning to use this vinyl in the future to make signs if you are interested you should join us! It’s an on line instruction on how to make everything step by step!
Sealer. After you paint your sign, I highly recommend sealing it. Chalk Paint has a wax sealer you can use, but it has to be reapplied every so often, which I don’t have time for, so my go to sealer for al signs is Minwax Polycrylic in a satin finish. It comes in glossy too, but i prefer the satin!
That’s it, all the supplies you need, now lets get crafting! the first thing you want to do is cut your wood and sand the edges until its smooth. Clean all the excess dust and dirt off with an old cotton shirt or paper towel and apply your stain or paint with a foam brush to one side and let it dry. While it’s drying you can go cut out your stencil! I like to measure my sign and then draw a rectangle that size in the Silhouette Studio 4.1 software so that i know how big i can make my design. place the stencil material blue side up on your cutting mat, cut on the matte vinyl setting, and then weed out the part you want to fill in with paint. I use contact paper to transfer the stencil to the sign. I like to use it because it’s not too sticky, and it’s clear making placement on the sign easier. You can use other transfer tape, I just prefer contact paper for this particular project. Go check your sign and see if you can flip it to paint the back. if the stain feels tacky, it’s not ready!
Signs are painted and I wrote out what i want to put on them
If you are newer to stenciling there are tons of places to get designs for signs like this that your machine can cut out!
Once the sign is dry, it’s time to stencil! put the contact paper over the stencil and burnish it to get it to stick and remove it slowly from the paper backing of the Oramask to reveal the sticky back that is your stencil! Carefully line up the edge of your stencil with the edge of the sign after you remove it from the paper backing and slowly roll it across the sign smoothing it out as you go. try to keep the edge of the stencil lined up with the edge of the sign all the way down so everything stays straight. Once it is in place, burnish it on the sign with something hard and rubber or plastic. I use a kitchen spatula sometimes if I can’t find my burnishing tool. It works great.
Carefully remove the contact paper, going slow and making sure all the insides if letters like o and A stick to the board.
Next take your stencil paint of choice and dab your foam brush into it, then dab the brush on something like a paper plate, old box, anything to get some of the excess off. This is key to helping you prevent bleeding. Apply the paint in an up and down motion dabbing all the areas that need to be filled in. try to avoid painting left or right. Again, this increases the chances of bleeding. I normally apply 2-3 coats of paint this way before removing the stencil. Use sharp tweezers, a dental pick, or a sewing pin to remove the tiny pieces. Now, take a moment to say damn I did a great job! Seal that bad boy and hang it up for all the world to see!
If you plan to make lots of signs, these sawtooth hangers are amazing, and less expensive than buying them at the hardware store normally! I attach them with my staple gun, or you could use command strips to hang them too!
Finish projects sold well at my craft show!
I want to see what you create! Join us on Facebook at Whimsy Willow Creations to share!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links for products I have used to create crafting projects that I am sharing with you. If you plan to craft and purchase from them I get a small percentage that goes towards keeping this site live!