Inside: Make a large wood sign that looks like vintage metal using an easy tracing and image transfer technique.
DIY a large wood sign for waaaay less than buying. Most large signs or art can cost into the hundreds. I will show you how to make your own for under $15 that you can customize any way you choose. No fancy stencil or imaging software needed.
My goal with this large sign was to achieve a vintage, rusty, nostalgic look to add to the industrial feel in our Home Gym Remodel. I knew I had hit the sweet spot when someone asked after seeing this sign in our garage if my husband used to own his own gym. YES!!! That is exactly what I wanted someone to think.
The size of the sign is 48 x 33 inches. I used less than half a sheet of 1/4 inch plywood and I had all the paint and supplies on hand. I used the same easy carbon paper tracing technique that I used for this Large Pallet Sign and for this Farmhouse Kitchen Sign.
Before we get to the tutorial you have to see what this room looked like before the home gym remodel began. Yikes…I know.
It has been a few months’ process, but here is where we are right now.
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For all my projects I recommend using specific Safety Gear. Since you will be working with power tools I recommend safety goggles and ear protection and the super sexy P100 respirator mask for applying spray paint.
TOOLS FOR DIY WOOD SIGN
SUPPLIES FOR DIY WOOD SIGN
- 1/4 inch 4 x 8 ft piece of plywood
- Gray hammered Spray Paint
- Black spray paint
- Behr paint in Earth Fired Red – purchased a sample size
- Craft sea sponges
- White spray paint
- Scotch tape
- Frog tape or painter’s tape
- Carbon tracing paper
- Small artist’s paintbrush
- Wood glue
- Sawtooth hanger
CUTS FOR DIY WOOD SIGN
- 1/4 inch plywood at 48 x 33 inches
- 1/4 inch plywood at 27 x 3 inches (almost the width of the sign to be glued to the back of the sign to attach sawtooth hangers)
STEPS TO MAKE DIY LARGE WOOD SIGN
Step 1) Start out by sanding the top and edges of the sign. Spray paint the whole board and edges with gray hammered spray paint. Next, apply black spray paint in random spots. To add a rusty look use a sea sponge and a rust-colored paint. I used the Earth Fired Red paint that was leftover from my Brick Stenciled Wall. Dip the sponge in the paint, blot off the excess paint on a newspaper then blot it on the wood in random spaces.
Step 2) Spray paint the entire sign with a few coats of white spray paint.
Then sand it in several spots to bring out the previous applied colors.
Step 3) I created and printed out a large poster size of a graphic I created. After creating the graphic I used Block Poster to increase the size, which ended up being a total of 16 pages. I printed it out, cut the margins off of each page and then taped it together.
Then I centered it and taped it in place on the wood. To transfer the graphic I used my favorite transfer technique using carbon tracing paper. I slid the carbon paper under the graphic and traced the letters with a pencil. The carbon paper transfers really well.
Step 4) I painted the graphic using black paint and a small paint brush. I sanded the sign all over again to continue with the rustic look.
Then I sprayed a few coats of sealer.
Step 5) To hang the sign I added a piece of scrap to the back using wood glue. Then I hammered in three sawtooth hangers.
To hang this large sign I used this same technique on How to Easily Hang Picture Frames Perfectly Level. I did have a slight issue with the bottom left corner not sitting against the wall so I applied a command strip behind the corner which did the trick.
I think it added a lot of character to the space.