We recently came across a haul of old door panels – absolutely perfect for making signs. We’ve got most of them sitting on our porch at home, waiting to get cleaned up a bit (so watch for them in the shop!)

In the meantime, we needed a sign for our new space at Greenwood Antiques & Uniques. I decided to get crafty and make one.

{Caveat – since I have a background in design, I have software that made the process much easier. I did a little research for those of you that don’t use Adobe Creative Suite, and have a few suggestions there, as well!}

Here’s what I needed for my sign project:

  • Graphic file of what I wanted on my sign – I used Adobe Illustrator
  • Regular printer paper/printer
  • Exacto Knife
  • Self-healing cutting mat (like what quilters use with rotary cutters)
  • Tape
  • Paint – We used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Graphite
  • Stencil brushes – We used Martha Stewart ones from Michaels
  • Very small brushes or q-tips
  • Board for the sign
How it went down…
First, I played around in Illustrator to figure out how I wanted the sign to look. Tip: Pay attention to how big the letters are in your sign to make sure they are legible from a distance – here’s a nice resource for that.
Once I had the file the way I liked it, I printed it off. In Illustrator, choose “Tile Full Pages” in the scaling section.
{Tip: If you don’t have access to Adobe, try doing a Google search using the name of what you DO have (Microsoft Word, Google Docs) and include “poster print” in your search.}After you get your sign printed off on the multiple pages, it’s time to pull out the Exacto knife and self-healing mat. Sit down with a glass of wine and start cutting out the black parts of what you printed. Remember to leave ‘bars’ of paper to keep the whole page semi-stable – you can fill it in after you paint your stencil. I left paper bars every inch or so. You can see them on the lower case ‘h’ and ‘e’ (it’s hard to see because of the black ink.)

The Snugbug Reclaimed Sign

Once I got all the letters and artwork cut out, I trimmed around the whole things pretty close so I could see where I was placing the stencil and try to get it as centered as possible. Next I placed it on the board and taped the sucker down – I used invisible tape, although painters tape would have been better.

Next up was painting time. When painting stencils I like to use specific stencil brushes (pictured in the photo above.) Be careful to not put too much paint on the bristles, or you’ll just end up with a mess. (I like to shake the paint can and use the lid as my paint ‘palette’.) Tap the paint over the stencil, being careful to not get any under the edges. Since this is printer paper, this will be a one-time use stencil!

Once all the spaces are filled in with paint, remove as much tape as possible, being careful to not shift the paper (it’s nice to have a friend to help with this part.) Lift the paper up, slowly but carefully to avoid smudging. Then use a small brush or q-tip to add paint in the spaces where the paper ‘bars’ were – or if you like the look of a real stencil – leave ’em in!

And there you have it! A sign! It took an hour or two for me to cut out all the letters and artwork, and about 30 minutes to prep the stencil, tape it, paint it and clean up the empty spaces.

The Snugbug Mercantile Reclaimed Sign
And here it is in its new home – our booth at Greenwood Antiques & Uniques.
The Snugbug Mercantile Reclaimed Sign

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