Making a rustic sign is so simple, and I made this one for only $1. Here are the easy steps and a free printable to do it yourself.
So here’s the story.
One of my favorite childhood memories is roasting s’mores around a wood fire. It was one of the few times our parents encouraged us to get a stick. Usually, “Put the stick down!” or “You’ll put your eye out!” were the first words you heard when you started waving a stick around.
Today, roasting s’mores with the grandchildren is still a favorite family past time. There are plenty of wild sticks, gooey fingers, marshmallows dropped into the fire, marshmallows stuck in your hair…you get the picture. Except that now I’m the one playing stick police. “Don’t trip over the stick! Don’t run with the stick!” Sigh.
I created an outdoor sign with a $1 piece of scrap lumber to hang near the fire pit at my daughter’s new house. Here’s how to make your own, with a free printable letters to save you some time. (step 5)
How to Stain and Stencil a Sign
1. Make your own stain 24 hours ahead. Put a steel wool pad in a glass jar with a lid, and add vinegar to cover the pad.
2. Gather these supplies:
- steel wool pad
- empty jar with lid
- piece of scrap wood, (the printable works for a 42″ by 71/2″ board, but you can resize the letters to fit what you have)
- exterior latex paint (I used leftover Cloud White by Benjamin Moore)
- paper to print letters, printer (you can also use store-bought stencils)
- small paint brush, angled works best
- dark stain (or dark permanent marker, or dark brown paint)
- rag or old sock
- sand paper
- optional: mounting brackets and/or chain for hanging, polyurethane top coat
3. Clean the wood with water and let it dry a few hours. (Optional: a nosy dog to steal the wire brush when you are trying to snap the picture.)
4. Rub stain on the wood with a rag and let dry. I used two coats of the homemade stain. The pictures below show how it continues to darken over time.
I tested the stain on the back to see what one coat would look like. This is after two hours of drying time. It has a nice grey/brown color.
5. While stain is drying, print and cut the letters apart. Don’t cut them out yet, just cut them apart and arrange them to make sure they fit on the board.
You need a font style that is easy to cut out and paint. The “Felt Marker” font in italics has an interesting look, a fixed width option, and is simple enough to paint easily.
My board is 7 1/2″ tall, so I stretched the font on the page to about 5 1/2″ tall to leave about an inch of space above and below the letters on the board.
I had a 57″ wide board to work with, so I made each letter about 5″ wide. Ten letters x’s 5 inches (the width of each letter) gave me 50 inches of width. My board is 57 inches wide, so 50″ of letters left me with a few inches on each side for margins.
To make things much easier, just get a 57″-6o” board and use my S’mores Cafe Printable!
6. Cut out the letters and tape them into place.
7. Replace the “o” in “S’mores” with a drawing of a marshmallow. Use the width of the “o” as a size guide to draw your marshmallow. Draw a stick coming out the top and the bottom.
8. After the stain is dry, trace the letters and the marshmallow with a pencil.
9. Paint the letters using a small craft brush with an angled tip. I did two coats of paint.
10. Distress the letters using a medium grit sandpaper.
11. Draw the stick and brown spots on the marshmallow using a craft brush and dark stain. (Improvise if you don’t have stain. Paint, markers or a wood stain stick would work fine.)
12. Optional: Attach mounting brackets and chain on the back to hang. Seal it with polyurethane if you want to protect it from the elements.
I love the rustic look of the sign and can’t wait to hang it outdoors. I will update this post soon with recipes and lots of fun ideas for your family. In the meantime, get your sign project going, go grab the perfect stick, tell some stories around a fire, and make a few memories.
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