How To Make Your Own ‘Welcome’ Sign

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Obviously I’m jumping the gun by thinking about how to decorate our new home before ground has even broken on building it, but I can’t help it! I am too excited! I have a beautiful vision for how I want our home to look and feel and that starts with the front door. Recently, I have been seeing these vertical ‘Welcome’ signs and have been wanting to find one for our front porch. Given I have months to figure that out, obviously I wanted to do it now. So I have been casually shopping around for them. The problem I kept running into was the the cost for anything close to what I was after; everything seemed so overpriced for a simple piece of wood with the word ‘Welcome’ painted on it.

Then I randomly decided ‘I’ve painted things before, why couldn’t I get a board and paint on some stencil letters??’. So I did! Best part is, I did it in under two days and for under twenty bucks! For now, it will reside in our apartment entry hall with Jedi modeling for us above.

Here’s a quick step-by-step of how I created the little ‘Welcome’ sign I was dreaming of:

Items you’ll need:

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1 finished wood plank – I went with a finished cedar plank that measured 6 feet tall, 6 inches wide, and 1 inch thick from Home Depot.

Acrylic paints of your choosing – Michael’s has tubes of paint in a variety of colors. I chose a matte acrylic to ensure the finish wasn’t shiny or metallic. I chose a black and a white paint.

Brushes – 1 sponge brush to do the background color as it is a wider area, and 1 brush that allows you to cleanly complete finer straight edges

Stencils – Unless you are super skilled in painting or very confident in your ability to create the letters perfectly for your project, I highly recommend stencils.

Measuring tape – I didn’t realize I even needed one until I was starting my project and wanted to get the spacing on the letters just right. Math is not my favorite so even after measuring I had to go back and fix a mistake in the spacing at one point (thankfully the black paint made it a quick fix!).

Newspaper or an old sheet – Trust me, you want to have a safety net in case the paint splatters.

Cardboard or something equivalent to use as your paint palette – You don’t want to squirt the paint directly onto your board, especially when using your stencils, so use this to hold your paint and dip your brush into.

If you shop online or check your local paper, you are likely to find great deals and coupons for art supply stores such as Michael’s Craft as I did. I was able to get all of my supplies from them (minus the wood) for just over fifteen dollars given there was a 30% off available at the time. Then, Home Depot sold me the wood for under five bucks! Can’t beat that!

How to: 

  1. Crack open your background paint and put about two quarters worth onto your palette. You don’t want to overdo it with the amount of paint you and have it running all over, so use just want you’ll need a little at a time. Apply an even coat of your background paint directly to your board covering the front, sides, top, and bottom. (I left the back side of mine raw.) img_1647
  2. Allow about an hour for the paint to dry and add a second coat of your background paint if you feel the color has not covered the wood grain in the way you would like. Allow that to dry for at least an hour as well.
  3. Measuring time! Determine how you would like your letters to be positioned. I chose to leave more space at the bottom of my plank so that if I have a plant, lantern, or other decor on my porch, the letters are not covered up. Once you determine where your word will sit, space out the letters of your stencils to sit within (I measured and determined that I had about 9 inches for each letter with 2 inches above and two below each letter as each letter itself was 5 inches tall). img_1648
  4. If you have stencil tape, you can use it to secure your stencils in place. I did not and it didn’t stop me at all. I chose to do each letter individually starting at the top and working my way down the board. After allowing each letter to sit and dry for an hour, I applied a second coat of paint to brighten the color.  *Do learn from my mistake of trying to do the top and then the bottom and work to the middle. I had not measured correctly for the bottom and ended up with far too much space in the center of the board. Work from the top down!
  5. Clean up those edges! By picking a darker background and white letters, it was easy to take a little black paint to the edges of my letters to clean up any paint that got a little outside the lines of the stencil. It also gave me a chance to clean up other areas of my plank where a dot of paint may have ended up. Oops!

Before:

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After:

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That’s it! Super simple! I promise you, I am not the most handy person in the world and I made it work, so I know you can too!

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