This is a super quick and easy DIY where I was able to make a welcome sign for a fraction of the price of what I would have paid at the store. Many of the supplies I already had on hand, including the wood, which is how I was able to keep my cost down so low. When I say low, this entire project cost me $12.80! This is because the only thing new I needed was the stencil itself.
wood of choice
I am so lucky that my father-in-law chose a hobby that allows me access to a basement full of wood. I mean, you might not get super excited to walk into a space filled with piles of different types and different cuts of wood, but I do, and my father-in- law certainly does. He has scraps of wood from old projects and wood that he planed himself after cutting down a few trees from a friends property. Its truly amazing what you can find down there. So for this project, I just had to hop in the car and over to my in-laws to pick out a piece from his workshop. This time I happened to use poplar because that is what we had a surplus of at the time. I liked the color, I figured it was light enough to do a driftwood stain, and it was similar enough to what you could find in the store. This project can easily be done with a piece of pine, or any other piece of project wood that you like the look and feel of.
You can easily find project wood around 10 inches in width, just make sure it is tall enough to fit your stencil. Doing a basic search online, I found a 1/2 Thick poplar board, 1 inch thick oak board, and several other species at a low cost of around $6, that would fit the bill for this project. You can also get super creative and find scrap wood from an old piece of furniture or something of that nature.
I had my Father-in-Law plane the wood and cut it down a bit, but I did have him leave it a little longer so that I could really figure out exactly what size I wanted later. Once I got home and taped my stencil to the wood for a better visual, I realized I wanted a little bit extra wood on the bottom so that I can easily have a plant in front of it and not block any lettering. So, I had Steve cut it down to 51 inches tall and 9.5 inches wide.
I then Stained the board with Fusion Minerals Paint’s (FMP) Stain and Finishing Oil in driftwood, but I quickly could tell I was not liking the color. Thankfully, I had some Old Master’s Red Mahogany Gel Stain left from previous projects so I applied that right after the driftwood. I liked the color I got from that much better. The directions for FMP’s stain ask you to apply the stain to the entire surface and then use your rag to wipe off, which I did and everything came out nice and even. For Old Master’s I like to put the stain on in sections because I don’t want it to get too dark. Their stain is fairly thick and I really do like the way it goes on and the way it finishes. However, it can get fairly expensive so I really only use it for major projects. Since this is a small area, I only separated sections into two, where I put the stain on half of the wood, wiped it down, then put stain on the other half, and wiped that down. On larger areas I tend to separate everything out more, which I did when I stained our French doors (I’ll post that blog soon).
I let the stain dry for a while, then taped the stencil to the board using painters tape. I also used measuring tape to make sure the stencil was indeed center. Once everything was nice, center and taped up I was ready to paint!
I pretty much always have FMP Casement on hand, so I decided to use that for this sign. At first, I attempted to use a roller, but I am almost positive the foam roller wasn’t dense enough, so I had a lot of bleeding happen on the top of the stencil. So I flipped it over and started again!
I grabbed one of my stencil brushes when the stain was dry and started at the stencil again. This time is came out close enough to perfect. The stencil I used is currently unavailable, but you can find a similar one here.
Lastly, this sign is going to be outside, in the sun and in the elements so you should really use some sort of Poly or sealant. Since I used white paint and I always have FMP tough coat on hand, I used their tough coat. If you use a regular poly on it there is a good chance that the white will yellow, and no one wants yellowing letters. So I just add some tough coat to a rag and wipe it on to the sign.
And Voila! There you have it! A super easy DIY welcome sign that can save you some money instead of the pricey ones you find at stores. Also, you can change it up each season! For Christmas, Paint the back white and get a welcome Christmas stencil! Then you can just flip it back over when the Holiday season is over!