I have been slightly obsessed lately with all the reclaimed wood art. But wood is a little out of my comfort zone. I mean it’s hard core compared to the stuff I sold in my Etsy shop – it’s heavy and you have to do stuff to it that has the word “power” in front of it like power sanding, power sawing, etc. BUT… I LOVE the signs!!
I saw a few on Etsy that were cute, but they weren’t big enough and also since I’m cheap, I didn’t want to pay for them when I knew I could make one.
I scoured Pinterest and pinned several different things that would help me do what I wanted to do, but they weren’t all in one place, so I thought I would write this post in case someone wants to make one on a budget and without any fancy machines.
The first step was to get some wood. A friend of mine gave me a tip to check local nurseries (you can also check construction areas where they are building new homes or Craigslist). So the next day I was driving by the one by my house and lo and behold, a shipping pallet was just sitting in their trash pile! I walked in and asked if I could have it. They reluctantly said yes, but did not offer to help me load it. (I guess I can’t really complain though since it’s free??) Anyway pallets are deceptively heavy, but I managed to get it loaded into the back of my SUV by myself. Also, if you can’t find any pallets for free, the guy at Lowe’s told me they sell them for $10.
Next, I needed the pallet broken apart WITHOUT breaking any of the wood. I tried a little and it didn’t budge, so that’s where the husband came in. It was pretty tough since pallets aren’t made to come apart (I found out), but he got it done!
I sanded the pieces down (by hand), but not much because I wanted that distressed look. Next, I stained all of the pieces I wanted to use. I ended up using seven boards. For the stain, I used Minwax Dark Walnut. They aren’t kidding when they say dark. But our hardwood floors are REALLY dark, so I wanted it to go with them. After I brushed on the stain, I wiped it off with an old cloth. Then to lighten it up even more, I sanded it lightly when the stain dried.
Now I needed to get them to all the stay together. Rustin rounded up some spare wood for me and I thought I would just nail it to the back. Well I didn’t get small enough nails and they went through the front, so I just decided to do wood glue. (There is a picture of the back when I show how I attached the D-rings to hang it.)
And the part that was stressing me out the most – the lettering. I have the handwriting of a 3rd grader, so free-handing was not an option. I could have went out and bought a Cricut or Silhouette, but spending an extra $200 would have really blown the idea of doing a “thrifty” project. Luckily I found this tutorial and it worked perfectly! So I just figured out the size font I wanted, printed it out, cut the letters out, scribbled chalk on the back and traced over each letter with a pencil. Then it left the chalk line and I could paint it from there. (She goes into more detail in the tutorial.) You can tell my lettering isn’t perfect, but hey, it’s handmade.
About the verse – it is from a favorite hymn of mine – Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing. Rustin and I went back and forth on what to write. (It was comparable to what we went through when we were naming our CHILD.) We thought about a Bible verse, but for some reason I really wanted a line from a hymn. It’s funny that it’s musical and I don’t have a musical bone in my body – pretty sure my singing can break glass – but I love music! Every time I see the sign, I start singing that hymn. And did anyone notice the typo?? Oops! For years I thought it was “sing thy praise.” I found out it was “grace” a couple of years ago, but I guess old habits die hard. Luckily I caught it before I painted it!
Then I just hung it using two D-rings and picture wire.
So the cost breakdown was:
Pallet – free
Paint – already had
Stain – about $7
Chalk – 77 cents
D-Rings – about $3
So the total was about $11 for a 26″ x 40″ personalized wood sign.