DIY: Fool Proof Wood Sign

Hey Everyone! I am BEYOND lucky to be writing to you today. Over 800,000 people in Metro Detroit lost power last night, and so far, our apartment complex has been untouched by the outages. There are still over 500,000 without power this evening. So please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers as the temperature is dropping by the second.

I’m back today with another DIY! I mentioned this one what seems like forever ago! We started it in January, but just recently finished it and were able to hang it up. The reason it took so long? We had some serious issues. But don’t worry, I promise that I’ll let you in on what we did wrong, so that you can do this project in only one day!

If you ever check out the hashtags #farmhousestyle or #joannagainesmademedoit you’ll find thousands of posts with beautiful wood and calligraphy signs in them, many linking you to one Etsy shop or another. I was longing for one of these beauties, but couldn’t see spending over $100 on one right now. One day, while I was staring longingly at them, Trev looked over my shoulder and said “We can make that.”

So we did! And I’m so happy with how it turned out. Our apartment is SO DANG UGLY and it makes just the slightest bit more beautiful.

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So pretty… right? The sign I mean… not the ugly peak through thing that all apartments built in the 90s seem to have.

Looking to add a little more beauty to your house? Keep reading!

Shopping List 

  • Two 1×2 pine boards  (we bought 8 feet in length, but ended up with quite a bit extra)
  • One sheet of 1/4 inch plywood (The dimensions will vary based on the size you are planning to make your sign. The one we bought was originally too big for what we needed, so we cut it down to 24 7/8″ x 36 7/8″.
  • One Engineer Print with the quote of your choice

Now the rest of this stuff, you might already have. We did. So, if you own it, dig it out! If not… head to Home Depot! (Or Lowes. Or your hometown hardware store.)

  • Pencil
  • Tape Measure
  • Double Sided Tape
  • Stain
  • Table Saw
  • Kreg Jig
  • Power Drill
  • Miter Saw
  • Staple Gun 

I’m like 99% sure that is all we used. I hope I didn’t forget anything! It’s been ages since we made this bad boy. HAHA

Begin your project at your computer. Before you can make a sign, you need to get the print for inside it made! You can do this super easily on PicMonkey. If you’ve never used it, don’t worry! It’s super simple. But before you even think about opening up PicMonkey, choose your quote. I went with an Irish Blessing that I absolutely love. With your quote ready to go, quickly sign up for a PicMonkey account. It’s free, and you’ll be able to save your masterpiece to your computer.

Choose the “Design” button at the very top. I chose to use the “Blank Canvas” option in the size 10×8. Now, choose “text” and get to typing! There are plenty of fonts for you to choose from, however, if you’re like me and are obsessed with downloading your own fonts from DaFont, they will let you choose from those too! (I used this one and I can’t get enough of it! I thought it looked like a little old Irish man’s handwriting. Everyone else says it’s messy, but that’s what I personally loved about it.)

Not seeing a font you like? I highly recommend scrolling through DaFont until you find one you love. (You will!) Every computer is different when it comes to downloading/installing fonts, but I know for Mac users it’s super easy. DaFont has step by step instructions if you’re not sure what you’re doing. 

Once you have your sign looking just how you like it, click “save”. Save it in the “Sean” size, because it will be the biggest, best version.

Now, head over to Staples and upload your project to be printed as an engineer print. It’s super inexpensive, especially if you’re ordering in black and white like I did. Upload your file. In the bottom left corner of your box, you will see your print options. First, choose if you’d like Color or Black and White. Then, click on media. Choose the size you’d like printed (I chose 24×36) and then check the Fit Content to Paper box. This is super important! If you don’t, your masterpiece will not look correct. Add it to your cart, and pick it up when it’s ready.

Be sure to check out your print before you leave the store. You’re going to notice that in these photos, we have a print that takes up most of the paper. The Staples we ordered it from printed my design wrong, and it was “zoomed” in and crooked. We originally tried to make the frame around this, with different lengths and edges. It actually looked really nice! Until Trevor got the pretty white print dirty and it ended up covered in smudges. We ended up getting it reprinted, and rebuilding the frame. 

Once your print is in hand, it’s time to start making the frame! 

Get a CLEAN measuring tape (emphasis on clean so you don’t end up having to reprint like we did). Place your print on your plywood. Measure and cut off any excess. You may need to leave a little extra board around your print, depending on how much white space is on it (you don’t want to cover up any of the words when you build the frame). Be sure to take that into consideration before cutting! (We used a table saw to cut off the excess.)

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Now, it’s time to build the front part of your frame. Grab your 1x2s and cut them to match the size of your backing. 

For reference, here is our little drawing with our measurements. These measurements are for the backing itself. Our horizontal boards are 36 7/8″.We wanted the top and bottom pieces to go the entire length of the signs, which meant we needed to make both of our side pieces a little bit shorter so it fit perfectly between the two. Our vertical pieces came out to be 21 3/4″.

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Once you have your four pieces cut, it’s time to get out the Kreg Jig. If you’ve never used one before, this part might be a bit challenging, so practice on a few pieces of scrap wood before you do it. The process of using it is easy, but trying to find where to drill the hole is a bit hard. And if it’s not done perfectly, you will split the wood.

Set the Kreg Jig to the depth of the hole you’re going to make, based on the instructions of the Kreg Jig you are using. Just remember, the width of the board is only an inch and a half, so you can’t make the hole too deep. Align your “vertical” piece (the shorter board) in the Kreg Jig, and simply drill to create your pocket holes. We made two holes right next to each other, for extra stability. Repeat on the opposite end, then set to the side. Repeat the entire process with the second vertical piece.

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Next, align one vertical piece and one horizontal piece in an “L” shape. Then, CAREFULLY screw them together using the pocket holes you just created. Be super careful… this is where the wood can easily split. Repeat on all corners, until your frame is complete.

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Then stain, and let dry.

Now the fun part! Assemble your beautiful new sign. Use double sided tape to attach your print to the plywood backing.

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You guys.. it was only 10 degrees the day we were doing this and we were freakin’ freezing! You’ll notice a lot of “overhang” on the backboard. Our second frame did not have this, because we didn’t need it. This was because the paper you see me working with was the original, not right, print I mentioned earlier. 
Then, carefully set you frame on top. Line it up exactly how you want it, then flip it over. Use a staple gun (with half inch staples) to attach the plywood to the frame.

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And that’s it! You’re done! It’s a super simple, inexpensive way to bring a touch of farmhouse charm to your home.

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Thinking of trying it? Be sure to let me know how yours turns out! I’d love to see pictures 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! I’m heading Up North tomorrow and I’m so excited to spend a weekend with my family. See you on Sunday!

Xx.
Savannah

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