Tuesday, September 10, 2013

DIY wooden sign.

I'm a pretty CHEAP frugal person when it comes to home decor. Most of the time when I'm shopping at Hobby Lobby I think to myself "I could so make that for next to nothing," because to be honest, I could! You betcha I plan to decorate baby's nursery on a dime if I can help it!

I love DIY projects and crafts for a few reasons.

They make me feel:
1. empowered.
2. proud.
3. artistic.

Recently, a friend asked me to design a piece of wall art that her daughter-in-law (also a friend of mine) had seen for sale on Etsy. Her mom passed away almost a year ago and this saying struck a cord for her. Plus, I'm always up for a challenge so I said yes!

The supplies I used were:
• computer
• printer paper
• laser jet printer
• pallet wood & shims
• wood nails
• pure acetone (not nail polish remover, the real stuff)
• rubber gloves
• a mask (because safety first when you've got a baby on board) - this is optional, though I'd recommend it because the acetone smell is STRONG
• safety pins
• paint brush handle (or any blunt object)
• 2 pop tabs


For the video tutorial that I followed click here.

The first thing I did was design the wording on my computer. This, for me, is the easy part. I own approximately 2,493(ish) fonts so I have plenty to choose from when doing this sort of thing! It's important to mention that I printed this wording on a LASER JET printer. I did some internet searching and most tutorials recommend using a laser jet. I even tried it using a printout from an ink jet and it just didn't transfer the greatest.

I forgot to mention a very important step when printing your text! You must print the design IN REVERSE so it applies to the word reading left to right. I typically use InDesign or Illustrator to create these sort of things and it's super simple to flip the image horizontally. As for other programs, fiddle around. I'm sure you can find an option to flip the text pre-print or "mirror" the print out in the printing options.

Next I constructed the "board." I cut sections of wood from a pallet (using my new jig saw - whoop whoop!) and connected them using shims on the back.

Then I sanded the face to prepare it for applying the letters.

Next, I cut the words out and laid them on the wood to decide where I wanted them.

I used safety pins to secure them to the boards so they wouldn't slide.

Then came the stressful intense critical step . . . transferring the ink!

I poured the acetone directly on the paper over the letters. I pressed down lightly and let the acetone absorb into the paper to help "stick" it to the wood. Then I used the blunt end of my paint brush (pictured in the corner above) to rub directly over the words. I treated this like I would a scrap-booking rub-on making sure to rub firmly but not tear the paper.

I took my time working my way down the board and didn't pour it all over everything at once. Acetone dries super fast, so even if I had done that it would have been dry by the time I made it to the next row.

Next, I slowly peeled the strip of paper up to reveal the letters had transfered to the wood. If there was a spot that didn't transfer I laid the paper back on it and rubbed it a little more. I continued this down the board until all letters and words were applied.

After examining it, I noticed it was a little lighter than I was hoping in some parts. I grabbed my Stampin' Up markers and filled in spots that needed it.

On the backside, I nailed in pop tabs to make hanging easier.

I chose not to stain or poly coat this after I was done because it would have made the marker run. Even without the top coat I think the raw wood looks neat.

I love how it turned out! And the girl who it was given to as a gift loved it, too. She even sent me a picture of where she has it hung at her home. That makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Since this one turned out, I think I'm going to try my hand at other sayings and running the boards horizontally. I have a new sense of reassurance that I can do more of these!

Happy DIY'ing!


  1. Love this! I typically use free hand and a wood burner, but this will be my next effort!!!

  2. A very good and interesting post that i have come across, thanks for sharing the post.Really appreciable.

  3. I absolutely love this ! Going to make one for my daughter in law who lost her Dad just before her wedding. Thank you from Australia : )



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