Friday, January 22, 2016

DIY Handpainted Sign

laura ingalls quote

Happy Friday friends!  Sharing how to make a handpainted sign today without using fancy stencils or a vinyl cutting machine.  A few weeks back I posted this new wall art I had made on Instagram and many folks had asked if I would share a tutorial.  Below are the steps to make this planked sign with handpainted lettering, if you can color in the lines then I promise you can make this.

I choose this quote because 1) I recently saw it in the March 2015 issue of Country Living magazine 2) I'm a long time Little House on the Prairie fan and 3) we needed some wall art in that spot after the tree shelf from Christmas came down.

Country Living magazine March 2015

Growing up I wanted to be Laura Ingalls, life on the prairie was so basic and simple and I loved everything about her rustic family lifestyle.  That might explain a little bit of why I choose to buy a 1740 saltbox farmhouse, living out my inner Laura every day (except with indoor plumbing).

laura ingalls quote wall art

At any rate back to the sign.  You can make it any size to fit your space.  I joined a couple 1scrap 1x6 and 1x8 boards to get the width I wanted and cut them all to the same length.

The first step is to find a quote or inspirational saying that you love. Then determine the size you need and go from there.

diy framed wall art

Below are the step by step instructions to make a planked handpainted sign:

planked boards attach with pocket holes

Step 1: Attach planks using wood glue and pocket holes.  My sign measures 29"w x 32"h (without the frame).  If you don't have a pocket hole jig you could attach two horizontal boards across all the planks and screw the boards to the planks.

word document print out using for sign making

Step 2:  Set up a word document with your quote in the font you like.  There are hundreds of free fonts online.  I used Laser Metal font from here at 350 point.  I recommend setting your margins to .10 on all sides of the word document to get the most use out of your space and print in outline to save ink.  You can see the document will print on multiple pages and you have to line up the words by taping the pages together. 

Step 3: Using a ballpoint pen trace the outline of each letter with heavy pressure.  This will leave an indent in the wood where you will paint.  I suggest working one row at a time.

handpainted script lettering

Step 4: Using a small brush and white high gloss acrylic paint slowly paint on and inside the indent left behind by the pen.

stain over paint

Step 5: Apply Minwax early american stain.

framed planked sign

Step 6: Attach 1x2 frame.  (I suggest painting the frame pieces before attaching unlike I did here.)  Keep a 1/2" inset at front and use wood glue and 1 1/4" finish nails.

For something lightweight like this I use 2 screws into the upper third at each side on the back then attach a wire in between the screws.  Super easy and fast for hanging.

family room wall art

Hope you enjoyed this handpainted sign tutorial.  I've made many, many signs and have lots of different versions floating around this blog.  Click the 'sign' category on the right sidebar and you'll see many more.


  1. this turned out SO good! love love love! i am wanting to create large lyric art in my living room, but it scares me!

  2. I love this so much, Jaime. It looks incredible! I also love the way you did the frame - really nice way to finish it. I feel like this is what some of my signs know.

  3. Looks Good!
    something else you could add for less-artistic people:) is if you rub the back paper of the computer printed paper with chalk or pencil or even charcoal, then trace with the ball point pen it will leave a transfer of the script.

  4. Don't be afraid!! For the most part, you can sand it off and try again, if you think it's messed up. This looks great! My daughter found some scrap wood in the garage last spring and made a couple of pieces to hang on the wall of the house she bought last summer. turned out really cute

  5. Such a great quote and a wonderful tutorial! Thanks so much for sharing!
    xx Annie

  6. I love it! By the way, where did you get your end table and coffee table? that is exactly what I am looking for!