Hello again! I am obsessed with signs – big signs, little signs, indoor signs, outdoor signs – it doesn’t matter the kind, but one of my favorites are box signs. I love that you can sneak a favorite quote or verse into your decor with a simply crafted box sign. You can change them out with the seasons, special occasions or your mood.
I’ve tried my hand at making box signs a couple of times but I like my latest attempt the best because it was super easy, did not take a long time and I love how it turned out.
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What you’ll need to get started:
- Wood (I used a piece of a 2″ x 8″ board I had left over from another project and cut it down to the size I wanted which ended up being 2″ x 8″ x 7″). Your local home improvement store (Lowes or Home Depot) can cut your board for you if you do not own a saw – it’s usually just a few cents per cut.
- Metallic Spray Paint (or other paint you choose). I used Krylon K05125500 ColorMaster Paint & Primer Brushed Metallic Spray Paint, Satin Nickel, 11 Ounce. If you wanted to use gold, here’s one Krylon K01000A07 Premium Metallic Spray Paint, 18K Gold – 8oz. You can use any color you’d like though – that’s the fun part.
- Chalk Paint for front (and back) – I used Rust-Oleum 285140 Ultra Matte Interior Chalked Paint 30 oz, Linen White.
- Chalk Paint for text – I used Waverly Chalk paint in Agave (from Walmart) but this is the same Martha Stewart Crafts Vintage Decor Paint in Assorted Colors (8-Ounce), 33533 Blue Agave.
- Door and Cabinet Rollers like these (they provide a very smooth surface): Foampro 165-10 “Fine Finisher” 4″ Foam roller Refills Pk/10 and a roller FoamPRO 84 Finish Coater Mini Roller for Latex Paint, 4″. Alternatively, you can get a set like this with everything (note: I have not used this set but it does have good reviews) Work Tools International 54117 Gold Stripe Professional Paint Roller Kit, 7-Piece – if you get this set, be sure to use the foam rollers not the fabric rollers.
- Paint Tray like this: Encore Plastics 1012 Mini Paint Roller Tray, 7-Inch.
- Very fine paint brushes. Here are a few choices: MEEDEN Professional Sable Hair Detail Paint Brush Set – 7 Miniature Art Brushes for Fine Detailing & Art Painting – Acrylic, Watercolor, Oil – Miniatures, Models, Airplane Kits, Nail, Virtuo – Pro Series 902L Detail Paint Brushes for Oil, Acrylic and Watercolors, Long Handles (12), or AIT Art Fine Detail Paint Brush Set – 11 Paint Brushes – Liner, Round, Flat – Handmade in USA for Trusted Performance with Oil, Acrylic, and Watercolor.
- Painter’s Tape. If you hardly ever use the stuff, this will work: ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape, Multi-Use, 1.88-Inch by 60-Yard, 1 Roll. Or, if you are like me and use it all the time, this is a better deal: ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape, Multi-Use, 1.88-Inch by 60-Yard, Contractor Pack, 6 Rolls.
- Carbon Transfer Paper. I use this stuff for all my signs because it is big enough for larger signs and can be cut down for smaller signs: Carbon Transfer Tracing Paper for Woodworking Patterns (5 sheets – 26″ x 42″ per sheet). Note: this shows up well on light surfaces. If you are doing a dark background behind the letters, use this one: White Transfer Paper-9″X13″ 4/Pkg.
- Text to trace. If you want to make the same sign I made, you can download the PDF here to trace.
Once you have you’re supplies, you’re ready to get started. The diagram below is to help with the painting process and based on the dimensions of the sign I made.
- First, cut your board to size and then sand it smooth (all sides/edges).
- I did not pretreat my board or stain it prior to painting it – you can do that if you’d like then, using the spray paint (following the instructions and safety precautions on the can), paint the edges (or sides) of the wood. When doing this step, I would spray two edges (sides) at a time, wait about an hour, then flip the wood so I could do the other two edges. I did two coats. Note: if you are doing a two-sided sign (one you can flip around) then you do not need to paint the back. If you are only doing a one-sided sign, go ahead and spray paint the back of the sign too. Tip: When choosing which side should be the front or the back, run your hand slowly across the surface to see which side is the smoothest and use that for the front of your sign.
- Once the edges have dried, tape them off with painters tape trying to get as close to the front edge as possible.
- Then, using a foam roller and the chalk paint you selected for the front (and back, if doing a two-sided sign) of the sign, paint the front of the sign and let it dry completely. Drying times can vary but it usually only took about 20 minutes in between coats for the chalk paint. I did two coats of the white on the front of my sign.
- If you are doing a two-sided sign, once the front had dried, remove the painters tape and apply again (this time positioning the tape to the back edge of the wood) and paint the back of your sign.
- Once the front (and back) are dry. Print the text you will be tracing. I did “it is well with my soul” on mine (you can print it here) and “Oh Holy Night” on the other side so I can flip it around at Christmas (you can print that one here). Note, the templates I created are designed to work with the dimensions above but you can scale them if needed or make your own. If you are using my templates, cut along outer line.
- Cut a piece of the carbon transfer paper to size as well and place it under your printed text with the carbon side facing down then position it onto the front of your wood block. I use tape to tape the edges and sides down so it doesn’t move while I’m tracing it.
- Trace your text onto the wood. I used a semi-sharp pencil (not too sharp but not dull either) and go slowly. I also like to have a very bright light above my work area so I can easily tell which letters I’ve traced. It’s also sometimes helpful to have a magnifying glass. I love this combo light/magnifying glass for these types of projects: Ultra Bright 90 LED Illuminated Desktop Magnifier Lamp Light with Clamp – 5 Diopter 5″ Lens – White (FCM-820LED) and it’s white so it fits right in with your craft room decor.
- Once you’ve traced your text onto the front (and back for double-sided signs), use your chalk paint for text and a very fine detailing paint brush to paint over the outline and fill in the text.
- Allow to dry and, if you desire, seal with polyurethane (Varathane 262075 Half Pint Clear Matte Finish Soft Touch Polyurethane) or wax (Renaissance Furniture Wax 8oz – Clear Wax).
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. Thanks!