How to Create Distressed Signs

Decorating your home on a budget can be daunting, but with a little bit of DIY knowledge you can make your home look gorgeous without breaking the bank! Follow these easy DIY tips to create beautiful distressed signs for your home! 
LoveGrowsWild.com | Learn all the tips & tricks to creating gorgeous distressed signs for easy DIY decor! #diy #tip #decor

Ever since we moved into our new house last year, I have been a busy decorating bee. Now I’ll admit, there are times I come across a great sale, and I can’t help but purchase some gorgeous new things for our home (Hi, my name is Liz, and I’m addicted to Target and TJ Maxx). But for the MOST part, I prefer to create my own decor! #1 It’s cheaper and #2 I get a HUGE amount of satisfaction knowing that I created that all these special things for us! I mean honestly, is there anything sexier than a woman who knows how to use power tools? Sorry… I had to say it! But you know you feel the same way when you use a drill or saw : )
So anyway, I’ve developed a pretty big obsession with making signs for our house, and even though I’ve shown you a few already I thought I’d share my latest creation complete with all my tips and tricks! This sign I made for my kitchen, and I wanted the background to be creamy white but heavily distressed to look aged and rustic. I started with a standard board from the hardware store cut down to my desired dimensions. This sign is going over my kitchen doorway, so I cut it to 30″ x 7″. 
TIP: If you don’t have a saw at home, the employees at your hardware store are usually more than happy to cut it for you! Just have your dimensions ready when you head to the store! 

I gave the edges a light sanding to make it smooth and ready for paint. Make sure to thoroughly wipe down your board after sanding to remove any dust before you start painting! I like to use a slightly damp rag for this. When I distress a project, I like to paint in two steps: first a dark undercoat followed by a lighter topcoat. This allows you sand parts of the top layer off to reveal the beautiful hidden color underneath. For this particular sign, I used a dark walnut stain first and then my favorite heirloom white paint on top. 
TIP: Make sure you sand in between coats to help the paint stick, especially when using paint on top of stain!
To learn my awesome tip on how to easily paint your sign without getting paint on the table, click here!
LoveGrowsWild.com | Learn all the tips & tricks to creating gorgeous distressed signs for easy DIY decor! #diy #tip #decor
Once my sign was fully painted and dry, it was time to add some cute words. Since this is a kitchen sign, I thought a simple “Good Eats” would be appropriate! I like to use my Silhouette CAMEO cutting machine to create easy stencils for my signs, but there are many other ways you can do it too! You can paint your letters freehand, use store-bought letter stencils, trace using my pen method, or transfer the letters with pencil shading just to name a few! But hands-down the easiest method is to use a Silhouette machine and vinyl. You can see the full tutorial on how to create a stencil using Silhouette here, but basically I just type the words I want into the Silhouette software, cut the design on vinyl, peel off the letters, and stick the leftover outlines onto my board. 
Psst! Before you apply your stencil, remember to sand again after your last coat of paint is dry and clean all the dust off!

LoveGrowsWild.com | Learn all the tips & tricks to creating gorgeous distressed signs for easy DIY decor! #diy #tip #decor
Then I painted over my vinyl with 2-3 coats of black acrylic craft paint. 
TIP: If using a vinyl stencil, peel it off your board before the letter paint fully dries. Otherwise, it may pull up some of the paint with it!

LoveGrowsWild.com | Learn all the tips & tricks to creating gorgeous distressed signs for easy DIY decor! #diy #tip #decor
Now comes the fun part… Distressing!! I like to use my hand sander to distress quickly, but if you don’t have one OR you’re nervous about ruining your beautiful new sign, a piece of sandpaper will work just fine! I sand over the entire sign, focusing especially on the edges and corners where an old sign would naturally distress. If your board has interesting knots or marks on it, go ahead and sand those to highlight them as well. It will just add to the rustic quality of your sign!
LoveGrowsWild.com | Learn all the tips & tricks to creating gorgeous distressed signs for easy DIY decor! #diy #tip #decor

LoveGrowsWild.com | Learn all the tips & tricks to creating gorgeous distressed signs for easy DIY decor! #diy #tip #decor
To hang the sign, I placed two sawtooth hangers (I found mine at Hobby Lobby) on the back of the board. 
LoveGrowsWild.com | Learn all the tips & tricks to creating gorgeous distressed signs for easy DIY decor! #diy #tip #decor
Then I hung it up in my kitchen!
LoveGrowsWild.com | Learn all the tips & tricks to creating gorgeous distressed signs for easy DIY decor! #diy #tip #decor
Depending on what supplies you already have at home, signs like this can be super inexpensive to make. I already had a spare board in my garage and all the paint on hand, so I spent $0 on this sign!! I’d say that’s pretty awesome for something so cute! Wouldn’t you agree? 

LoveGrowsWild.com | Learn all the tips & tricks to creating gorgeous distressed signs for easy DIY decor! #diy #tip #decor

What’s your favorite DIY decorating tips? What stores do you shop at for cute home decor? 
Check out other DIY home decor projects from Love Grows Wild:
Rustic Wood Kitchen Sign

DIY Rustic Industrial Chalkboard
DIY Stenciled Lyric Pillow Cover

DIY Wedding Sign
Numbered Plate Display
Want to see more projects like this? Check out our Project Gallery!

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P.S. I’m sharing this post at some awesome link parties… Check them out HERE!    

Comments

  1. This is adorable! You make it look so easy, now I have to try this!

  2. I love all of you signs…they look great. You should sell them!

  3. So Gorgeous! I need to attempt this…. someday!

  4. Oh this is beautiful Liz!! Thanks for sharing these great tips! I see some sign making in my future! :)

    My readers would love to see this! I’d love it if you linked this up over at Living Well Spending Less for Thrifty Thursday this week! http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/category/thrifty-thursday/

  5. Excellent Tips!

  6. thanks! I love the idea of the Cameo Silhouette!

  7. Awesome tutorial! I need to make more of these types of signs. I like the tip about sanding between coats. Really would’ve helped me while I was painting a shelf a while ago. Thanks for this post!

    • Liz Fourez says:

      You’re so welcome, Nikki! I learn as I go, so I love sharing my best tips and tricks with readers! The sanding really does make a difference. Glad you could stop by!

  8. Lindsey Rumancik says:

    This is so cute! Do you use permanent vinyl or vinyl that you can move around? I tried this once but had a lot of bleed under the vinyl with the top coat. Thank you for sharing!

    • Liz Fourez says:

      Hi Lindsey! I use regular vinyl that can be easily removed, but I found the trick to no bleeding is sanding first before applying the vinyl. Sand your board (or whatever you’re using) and wipe away all the dust really well before applying the vinyl, and it should help prevent any bleeding. I hope this helps!

  9. So I just made this over the course of the last few days as a Christmas gift (with a different phrase on the board). A few things:
    For some reason, the stain-showing-through-the-paint really didn’t work for me. Maybe I should have done more coats of stain, but I used a super dark one and waited a whole day for it to dry, then painted and distressed but mostly when I sanded I must have taken off some of the stain too (I just did it by hand with some sandpaper!). So underneath it’s more of a light color, which is also fine, but I was hoping or the dark, rustic look that’s seen here. Also definitely recommend using a hand sander if you can, as it took me quite a while to just do it manually with sandpaper. Finally I recommend getting some sort of stencil; I put too much confidence in myself with hand-painting the letters and it was hard to get straight lines.

    Overall these are good instructions and an awesome idea! I love the creativity and I think it makes a great gift. Thanks for the instructions!

    • Liz Fourez says:

      I bet someone was very surprised with this handmade gift! Sometimes it helps using a less-course sandpaper to only remove the top layer of paint and leave the stain underneath. I’m sure your sign turned out just beautiful! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your tips!

  10. What type of hand sander do you use for your sanding?

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