Learn how to make your own hand painted canvas and wood sign with this simple step-by-step tutorial!
I have been admiring painted lettered signs like this for some time.
I love the neutral colors, the simplicity, the petite wood frame, and the endless options of text.
And since I am still in denial about it being fall (it is, after all, still over 100 degrees here most days and we can’t stay out of the pool…), I thought this verse would be a lovely, subtle nod to the season and a perfectly apt statement in our new dining room.
And how gorgeous are these flowers from my in-laws for my birthday?! But I digress.
Here’s how you can make one from an old canvas and some scrap 1×2 boards…
- canvas (any size or shape and it CAN already have something on it… like a random cherry blossom you tried to paint years ago 😉 )
- white and gray paint
- computer and printer
- fine tipped paintbrush
- 1×2 boards (enough for the perimeter of the canvas)
- stain in color of choice (I used Mixwax special walnut)
- wood glue
- finishing nails (with hammer or nail gun – I use and love this one)
Instructions (each corresponds to an image above):
- cover any previous artwork with white paint (I used three coats of Behr Ivory Keys in Satin)
- design your text in Word or Photoshop and print in the size you want
- using your best kindergarten scribble, lightly cover the BACK of printed papers with graphite
- align your printed pages carefully on your canvas and hold in place with delicate tape
- using the end of your paintbrush or a ball point pen or some other small-tipped, blunt object, trace your printed letters
tip: put something under your canvas (I used scrap wood) where you are tracing so you don’t accidentally poke through the canvas
- make sure your graphite transferred enough to see your letters – this is what you’re going to paint
- using your gray paint (I used Country Chic CobbleStone – the chalky finish made a nice contrast to the satin white background), hand paint your letters where your graphite transferred
- while your letters dry, cut your 1×2’s to fit your canvas – you can miter the ends like I did or simply use straight cuts, just remember to account for the overlap of the frame pieces
- stain your wood pieces in your color of choice (I used Minwax special walnut – probably my favorite medium brown)
- once dry, lightly sand your letters to soften the effect and hide imperfections
- run a thin bead of wood glue along the sides (one at a time!)
- align your frame pieces and secure with finishing nails (by hand or with a nail gun, it doesn’t matter)
It’s not perfect, especially because the painting I covered up left some texture on my canvas.
But I like the imperfections. It gives it a lovely, rustic balance to the simple, modern design.
You could also make the entire thing from wood (using thin plywood for the sign portion), but I love the mixed textures of the canvas and wood together, and I love how light it is with just the canvas and a simple frame.
Best part? It’s perfect for fall, but it won’t look out of place if I don’t get around to taking it down until next summer. 😉
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