Hi. My name is Larissa, and I’m addicted to old signs. There. I said it. There’s just something about the typography and artistry of old advertisements, name plates, just…whatever. They draw me in, and since it’s hard to find these relics, I like to create my own – especially on cast-off wood…
…especially paired with antique treasures like this single tree!
Who can resist the time-worn wear and chippy paint, all telling a story of days gone by?
I’d like to show you the transfer method I use to create signs. Only a couple items needed besides your wood (and an antique anything, if you have something!) to do this painted sign tutorial.
- oil pastels – I mainly use kids pastels (cheap & work just as well), but any will do. You can also use chalk, transfer paper, or graphite paper.
- colored pencil – in a bright color
- acrylic craft paint – in color desired
- #5 or #6 round paint brush – you could use any one hand, I prefer these.
- paint tray or plastic lid
- Microsoft Word, Photoshop, or similar program
- masking tape, painters’ tape, or similar
First, measure the wood you’re using to get the parameters you need your graphic to fit into. I typically leave about an inch allowance or greater, depending on the design.
Next, I lay out my graphic (you can also use a pre-made design or clip art) in a software program. I used to use Microsoft Word, but now love to use Photoshop. Here is a handy tutorial on how to print enlarged graphics in Photoshop. No need to reverse the image, just print it out as you read it, and tape it together, if needed.
Once your graphic is printed, grab your oil pastel (I like to use the same color as the paint I’m using), and rub the reverse side of the graphic everywhere you want to show up. To be able to see where to rub, a light box is great (I have a homemade one), but I always use my window since I’m too lazy to drag out my light box. ahem.
Last, center and tape in place your graphic with the right side facing you. Then, take your colored pencil and trace firmly all the parts you coated with the pastel.
Before completely removing the paper after you’re done tracing, gently lift up a side to see if you’ve traced every part and make any necessary adjustments.
It should look like this…
Now you’re ready to paint! I think you can figure this part out, so I won’t elaborate on this part.
Seriously, any old wood will do. See! Here’s part of my stash:
Here’s another sign using a vintage Morris rocking chair part and a thrown out Vera Bradley sign made of foam board. (it doesn’t even have to be wood!)
Got questions? Just let me know!
More repurposed goodness for you: