Sunday, August 4, 2013

DIY personalized wood sign from pallet wood

I am a pallet virgin no more! I have finally completed my first ever pallet wood project and it's this awesome personalized wood sign that's now hanging in my dining room.  I got the pallet board from my aunt and it's been sitting in my garage for months waiting for me to make just this very thing.

Here's what you'll need (I've gathered all of the supplies, except the board, in the Amazon shopping cart below.  Order one or order them all to get started!)
  •  48" Pallet Wood Board
  • Sander
  • Chalk Paint (or make your own - DIY tutorial coming soon)
  • Stain (optional)
  • Sharpie Paint Marker (oil based)
  • Pencil
  • 2 D-Rings

 
This was kind of one of those projects that was a lot of trial and error....until I finally got it just how I wanted it.  I started by sanding the entire board - front, back and sides - with my electric sander.  Pallet wood has a lot of splinters and is pretty rough so it took a decent amount of sanding.

I made a batch of DIY chalk paint (waaayyy cheaper than its store-bought cousin) and painted the sign.  When it dried, it was just too white for my taste.  So here goes trial and error 1.0...I stained over top the white paint.  Despite it being a dark stain, it wasn't able to saturate the wood because of the paint.  When the stain was dry I lightly sanded the front of the board again.  I still wasn't happy with it so I ended up putting another coat of stain on it.  When that dried I put a light layer of the white chalk paint on top - but I did a very "rough" job to keep the board looking distressed.  Finally...I liked the outcome.

Now it was time to put on my lettering.  Again, a bit of trial and error here.  I knew I wanted two different fonts.  I always use Powerpoint for this kind of thing.  I just find it easier to manipulate than the word processing programs like MS Word.   I ended up using Times New Roman (size 350) for my last name; Edwardian Script ITC (in bold) for the rest.  "The" and "Est." are in size 250; the year is in size 200. 

Tip: Unless you have a very short last name, it likely won't fit on one Powerpoint slide.  Since my last name took up 3 slides, I put the last letter that fit on the first slide, at the beginning of the second slide and the last letter n the second slide as the first letter of the third slide.  (Is this making sense?) This way even though they were all on different pieces of paper, the spacing between the letters was the same.  Once I printed them all out, I just overlapped the letters and taped it all together to ensure the proper spacing. 

Now, I had all these papers that I had printed out - but to transfer them onto the wood pallet board.  There are several different inkjet to wood transfer methods.  I swear I've used them all and for all different reasons - like this print on wax paper method.  I tried to use the same newsprint transfer method - as I did on my toolbox to herb garden project - on my wood sign, but it wasn't transferring.  I think the problem was all that paint and stain and whatever.   So I switched to the pencil scribble method.  This was the first time I've used this ink to wood transfer method, but it worked great.

Here's all you have to do...once you print out your text, just flip each paper over to the back.  Take a sharp pencil and scribble over all the letters.  You don't have to completely covered the entire ink area, you just need to cover the edge of the letters because you are going to trace it and you need the lead to transfer from your "stencil."


After it's all scribbled, flip the papers back to the right side and place them on your wood board just as you want them to appear.  It's a good idea to tape the papers down so they're not moving around while you're trying to trace them.  Now, use a sharp pen to trace the outline of each letter - do not lift up the paper while you're transferring as this might shift your stencil.


When you're all done outline each of the letters, remove the paper and the outline of your letters will now be on your board.  Use a sharpie paint marker to retrace the outline and color in each letter...or you can paint it.  I'm a terrible painter, so I always use the marker instead.




Add a pair of D-rings to the back of your pallet board wood sign and hang it up.

Now, step back and proudly admire your work.

 
My husband said, "Wow, you could sell that! It looks like Pottery Barn."  This is the same guy who was about ready to throw out my pallet wood a few days ago - that's really what lit the fire under me to get this piece done.

Here are a few more pictures of my DIY wood sign.