DIY Farmhouse Sign Tutorial
You've seen them. Those beautifully simple farmhouse signs with Scripture verses, sayings and quotes that make you just drool. They pop up in your social media and taunt you. But, wow they can be pricey especially if you're looking at one that's got some size to it. The one I had my eye was in the $200 range! Since there was no way I was going to spend that kind of money I decided I could make my own! In fact, I've now made two and am ready to start the third one.
Supply list to make a Farmhouse Sign
Plywood - My husband calls it subfloor...it's real thin like a sheet of paneling
White wash (any white paint with water - 1 part paint to 3 to 4 parts water)
1" X 1" trim - ours came in 8' long pieces
Stain of color choice (I used walnut)
Acrylic paint, pencil or medium of choice for lettering
How to Make a Custom Farmhouse Sign
1. Decide on the finished size of your sign
The thin plywood comes in a 4' X 8' sheet. I was able to get two pieces that were 2' X 5' and a piece that was 3' X 4'. And the best part? Lowe's cut my plywood sheet into those exact measurements for us for free! Perfect straight lines with no hassle for us. I had already decided that I wanted the one for my living room the 2' X 5' and the 3’ X 4’ piece for my dining room farmhouse sign. The 2’ X 5’ piece that’s left I had planned to use in our bedroom above our bed, but it’s not going to work we’ll need to cut it down. I’ll update this post once we work through that.
2. Choose verse, quote or word
I already knew the Scripture verses I wanted for all three of my signs. I quickly sketched them out on scrap paper so I could plan how it would be placed onto the wood. And of course, I carefully searched for just the right fonts. I take my font choosing stage very seriously. I want the choice I make to convey the feeling I'm wanting to achieve with each project.
For my living room farmhouse sign I wanted it to look like text you'd see in a book, specifically oldschool text from the Bible. I went with a typewriter looking font called Coronamatic 67.
For my dining room farmhouse sign I sketched it out and then chose fonts that were very close to quick sketch. Fonts I used: Lilly Bloom Regular, Panda Tired Script, Shania, Tokyo, Lonssa Ornament 2 and Disco.
For the bedroom farmhouse sign I used the font Saturday Rock.
I've actually made the same print I used for the dining room farmhouse sign that reads "They broke bread in their home and ate together with glad and sincere hearts" available as a downloadalb pdf in the Lifestyle of Faith Free Library, get yours here!
I've shared my process for choosing a font before with you. It's just a matter of opening any program you like and typing in the text you want to use for a project and changing it until you find the one that strikes your fancy.
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3. Whitewash plywood
Now that everything is planned out it's time to get to work. I mixed my water and white paint (leftover ceiling paint) and began to whitewash my plywood. It's important to go in one direction with nice even long strokes and move quickly because it tends to dry fast.
4. Create your text
All three farmhouse signs I created were with a slightly different technique. With the living room sign I chose the verse...
But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
I simply cut a stencil with my silhouette and used that to apply gray acrylic paint. It was fairly quick and easy.
For the dining room farmhouse sign I used this verse...
They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Acts 2:46
I had a bit of an issue with this farmhouse sign. My first attempt was to take my graphic designed piece (which I altered to print backwards) to Staples and have them print it as a blueprint. The price of a blueprint is under $5.00 and printed on very thin paper. The purpose of printing it backwards is that when you turn it over where the ink is against the wood the lettering is forward and you can use a rubbing technique to transfer the ink, therefore the lettering to the surface. But they printed it on poster paper instead and I didn't take the right copy that was backwards. I was already on the road to failure.
I should not have settled for them doing it wrong because I asked for blueprint. The quality of the poster, however could still be framed and work beautifully...who knows maybe I'll do that for a gift for someone? When I got the poster print home and tried to transfer the ink the paper was too thick and wouldn't work. I attempted to darken it with colored pencil, but the idea of the time it would take for that made me stop. I also attempted (not pictured) just freehand filling each letter in with paint...again not my goal to spend even more time on this project that I'd already wasted way too much time on. So I ended up making stencils with my silhouette and using brown acrylic paint to create my lettering...which only takes a fraction of the time once I got them all in place.
For the last sign that is in our bedroom I chose this verse...
I have found the one my soul loves. Song of Solomon 3:4
I simply printed it backward at home on regular paper and used the rubbing technique to transfer the lettering to the wood. It didn't transfer as dark as I'd like so just used a pencil to shade it in a little darker and I love the result! I've decided to share with you the exact print I used - Get your free pdf download here...no email required! Want more free downloads? Click here.
Remember my gallery wall and photo mat lettering post? I used the same technique to transfer the lettering. The only thing different here is that I ran string across and down the center so I would have a guide to place my lettering. I simply taped it to edge until I was done.
5. Stain trim
I simply used an old rag to apply the stain to the trim. Apply to the stain to all four sides. Once the stain was dry, my husband cut them to the necessary lengths for each of my farmhouse signs. I did choose to have the ends of the trim be measured so the ends wouldn't show on the sides and would be at the tops and bottoms of the signs.
6. Glue trim to sign
This step takes two people. Get someone to help glue and clamp into place so that your team is perfectly even around all sides clampling them until the glue is dry. You'll want to be sure to have a wet cloth to wipe up any drips...wood glue does not dry pretty. Be sure to inspect closely for any drips or glue that has oozed out...you'll want to wipe it clean. I would wait at least a day before moving to the last step.
7. Add hanging brackets
Once your glue has dried remove the clamps. Be careful handling your sign. They are lightweight and it is thin plywood so you'll want to be careful as you turn them over to add your hanging brackets. We chose to add two to each sign. I know this makes it harder to hand them, but it's best for the stability of your farmhouse sign to sit nice and snug in its new home gracing your wall.
There you have it - your very own personalized farmhouse sign at a fraction of the cost to buy one! Pat yourself on the back and anyone who may help you. And I'd love to hear if these tips and steps helped you out!
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