Thursday, 20 September 2012

Vintage-look garden sign tutorial

Recently on Pinterest I came across a link to this laundry makeover. I really liked the rustic sign they had made, and I thought a similar one would look good in my potager. It was easy and cheap to make, and best of all looks like it has been there for years! Read on for a tutorial.

 You will need a piece of wood for your sign. I used a piece that the builders pulled out of our house when they were taking the chimney down, but pallet wood would also be excellent. Give it a rough sand to remove any splinters, but leave it quite textured.

 You need two colours of paint - black and white (or thereabouts). I used test pots which were super cheap, the dark one is more of a green black but that is fine for these purposes. Put the wood on a work surface, with a couple of small plastic pots or jar lids to hold it off the surface. Paint it with your black paint. Do two coats and let each coat dry thoroughly.

 Take a candle and rub wax all over the sign. It will stick to the raised wood grain. (If you don't have a candle, omit this step. It's not essential but will make distressing the sign a bit easier.)

 Paint ONE coat of white paint on the sign.

 Using a word processing programme, print out the lettering to go on your sign. You can print it in outline to save on ink. Cut around the letters and arrange them on your sign. When you are happy with the arrangement, trace around the letters with pencil.

 Use your black paint and paint in the letters. Do two coats for these. Let the paint dry for at least 24 hours, then take to it with sandpaper!

Lightly sand along the edges to remove the top layer of paint. Be very gentle if you go near the painted  letters as it's easy to remove that layer as well. You can go a bit heavier near the ends, the more distressed the better here! When you have aged the sign to your liking, coat it with some clear varnish if desired, or leave au naturel so the weather can continue your work.

 I decided to hang my sign on the arch leading into my potager garden. I attached it firmly with wire so it doesn't get blown down in a breeze.

And that's it. A house name sign would be really nice, or a coffee sign for your kitchen. The possibilities are endless and all it takes is scrap wood and paint. Happy signwriting!


  1. Hi, I found you on Blotanical. Love your vintage-looking sign, and the posies in the below post (beautiful!). Thanks for showing how it's made. Have a great weekend!

    Charlie @ MixingCreative

    1. Hi Charlie, thanks for stopping by! Glad you enjoyed the post. The weather is great here this weekend which is good because I have lots of garden tidying to do.

  2. Hi Ruth. Love the sign and I am keen to give it a go. I need to finish my Potager garden before I can add a sign..... I can see the potential to label lots of other things as well. Your garden is looking great. Hopefully we will have another fine weekend in Christchurch this weekend. Kind regards Julie

    1. Hi Julie, hope your potager is coming along well! Let me know if you make a sign, I'd love to see it!

  3. Very cool. Great instructions too. Your new sign looks terrific.



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