Thursday, March 15, 2012

Many Smiles

Recently, I was asked to make a custom sign for a sweet Texan lady. She saw a sign on Pinterest and wanted something similar but with southern charm. ;)
The inspiration sign came from a really sweet blog called Team Turnbow, which I discovered, today.
She offers cricut directions for making this sign.  I don't have a cricut machine, so I have directions for those who are cricut-less.

source: Pinterest

Maybe, I should show you my finished sign, first...

I changed "YOU" to Y'ALL"! I love it! 
It reminds me of a vintage Coca Cola sign. 
Now, that's a Southern sign!
You can change the words up for your version. You can change just the last word or the word smile to something else. What's important is that it fits you. 

Make It:

First, I went to my favorite store......LOWES to get my wood board. You can find boards of various sizes, there. I usually buy 4'x8'x.5" sheets, since I use all the wood. You can have them cut it to the size you want, too. I learned how to use a circular saw, so I just had them cut it in half, so I could fit it in my car.
When  I got home I cut a 30"x40" piece. 


Sanded the edges.
Brush the dust off with my little dustpan broom.
You will need satin paint in the color of your choice. 
Brush on 2 coats of paint to cover the whole board. Paint the sides if you don't want to frame your sign.


* You have to work from right to left with this one. For example, I started with the letter "F" in the top right corner. Work your way to the left. I know, I know! Not like it isn't already a huge task. But well worth it. 
I only had Helvetica style stencils, that can be found at your hardware stores. Unfortunately, they have gaps in each letter, so they're not solid letters. I hand-painted each "gap" only to realize, afterward, that I could have used painter's tape to cover the "gaps" and make them solid letters! I know better, now. 
I used 6" letters on the 1st row, 8" letters on the 2nd row, and 3" letters for the 3rd row.
The last row, I hand drew. However, you can print it out on legal size paper, letter by letter, and trace onto board with tracing paper.
It took 3 coats of acrylic paint to do each letter.
The crazy thing about my style of signs, is how I mess it up after I paint it! Yep.
You can skip the distressing part if you like it the way it looks at this point.

Now, that all the letters are in place, take a medium grit sanding block and sand your little heart away. Make the letters look worn and gritty. I like it to look like I found this "old" sign on the side of the road. Like a discarded vintage gem! Ok, back to the task at hand...
Once you have it as worn-out looking as you like, then pour an antiquing glaze (also found at LOWES in the paint section) in raw umber color or use acrylic paint mixed with equal parts water and pour in a disposable cup. 
Dip a trim paint brush in the glaze/acrylic mix and wipe excess off on the rim. Then, brush all around the edges of the sign. Use a damp rag to dab where you brush so it looks more muddled and not brush-stroky.
Brush some on the letters and dab some more. Keep doing this till you are happy with how gritty you made it look. 
*don't forget about the sides of the board if you're not adding a frame.

You can build a frame around it like I did. I used hardwood (oak) 1"x2" to make the frame. 
Making a frame is a very difficult task that I will share how to do in the future. 
Most of my signs are unframed and look good that way,too. You can opt to paint the sides black.


You can screw in a heavy duty picture hanging wire set on the back. You must hang this on anchored screws or a picture wire hanger (found at Hobby Lobby). 

FYI: expect this take, without making frame, about 6-8 hrs to make (add another 3 hrs for the frame). There is a lot of time involved in the  hand-painting and distressing. It's worth it, though. 

Now, this is going to Texas to hang proudly and, hopefully, bring many smiles to y'all's faces! 

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