Fall Welcome Sign – Tutorial

All the projects I’ve attempted lately have taken longer than I thought they would. This one is no exception. It isn’t hard, but it takes a few steps. Also, this project has infinite possibilities. I’ll give you a list of the materials I used, but I’d encourage you to scrounge around and use whatever you have laying around.

Materials:

Plank of wood – 1 used a 5/8″ thick piece of plywood I had on hand
Sandpaper
Paint in four fall colors – I mixed to get what I needed but basically I used brown, red, orange and yellow
Twine
Letter stencils (you can make your own!)
Stencil bonding spray
Antique glaze (optional)

Tools:

Jigsaw (or get Home Depot to cut for you)
Power drill

Step 1:
Mark and cut the plywood into 7 squares. (mine are 4 1/2″ inch squares)

You may have guessed from my previous post this week that I was just a little bit excited to finally learn to use my jigsaw. It was easy peasy to cut up the wood with the jigsaw!!

After handsawing one tiny little boat (with the help of two big strong boys), I’m totally in awe of people from ages past like Pa Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie that built houses with just a few hand tools!! Actually, incredulous might be a better word!

Step 2:

Drill a hole in the top center and the bottom center of each square, about 1/2 an inch from the top. Use a drill bit large enough to accommodate your twine folded in half but small enough that if you knot your twine, it won’t go through the hole.

Step 3:
Roughly sand the squares so you don’t get splinters in your fingers. This is supposed to look rustic so don’t spend huge amounts of time sanding.

Step 4:
Paint your squares. I wanted to alternate colors, so I painted 2 oranges, 2 reds and 3 browns. You can use any color combination you want! You probably want to allow these to dry overnight so your stencils won’t stick to them. I only used one coat of paint on each square.

Feel free to mix your paint colors to achieve the look you want. The only orange I had on hand was too bright for fall, so I mixed some yellow acrylic paint (Basics brand Cadmium Yellow Deep Hue) with a free sample pot of paint from Lowes dyed to Pantone Bossa Nova.

Step 5:
Stencil your letters onto your squares. You can hand paint you letter on if you wish. I just wanted the project to go a little faster so I made stencils (I realize that probably didn’t make things go faster!). I used a font called AR JULIAN and blew it up to 300. Each letter was printed on card stock and cut out with an X-Acto knife. I used Elmer’s bonding spray to adhere the stencils to the squares.

The best thing to do is spray a very light coat and wait five minutes before sticking it to the wood. Press it on very well around the edges of the letters to prevent bleeding. It should peel right off when you’re done. (Don’t wait for the paint to dry. Peel it off as soon as you finish painting.)

Step 6:
After the paint dries, distress the squares a bit with sandpaper.

Step 7:
This step is totally optional, but you can cover each square with antique glaze if you have some on hand. I painted it on and then wiped most of it off. It didn’t change much — just softened the brightness a bit.

Step 8:
Lay all of your squares out in a row and stretch your twine across them. Double the twine and give yourself a good 5 – 10 inches or more extra on each end for good measure.

Step 9:
With your twine folded in half, stick it down through the bottom hole of the bottom letter (from the top down because you want the twine to stretch across the back of each letter). Pull it nearly all the way through, leaving about 8 inches or so loose on the bottom. Make a knot right by the hole.

Now pull the twine up through the top hole of the same letter and knot.

Make another knot about 1 1/4″ from the previous knot and put the twine down through the bottom hole of the next letter.

Repeat until all the letters are strung and you have a loop at the top. I pulled my loop through the twine on the back of the top letter and tied an extra knot at the on the very top for a little extra durability.

Step 10:
Tie double knots on the loose pieces of twine at the bottom and hang your Welcome craft by the front door. I also took a double piece of twine and tied a bow at the top of the sign.

bow at top

And there you have it. A homemade rustic Welcome sign for your front porch or entryway.

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