Fun Little Vintage Signs

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These little signs have been a huge success! Simple to make and inexpensive, they are well within the reach of  anyone with very modest woodworking and computer skills!

3.5 and/or 5.5 inch constructions grade boards
hammer, saw and drill with 1/8 – 1/4 inch drill bit
paint, sandpaper
putty knife or scraper
jute or wire
Orange Oil and a spoon

Step 1:

Design your sign in a program like Photoshop or even Word. Reverse the image and have it printed on a colour photocopier (not Laser or inkjet) like they have at Staples.

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Step 2:

Cut your wood to length with a hand saw and sand the cut edges. Stain or paint your wood a medium brown and let dry.

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Step 3:

Apply your first coat of Cottage Paint. This will be the worst paint job you’ve ever done! You don’t want the paint to cover the entire surface and you want it to be very thin in some spots and thick in others. Don’t forget the edges of the board! The thin areas will dry faster than where the paint is thick. When the thin areas are dry, you are going to scrape it off with a putty knife or scraper.


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Step 4:

Apply the second colour randomly- just like you did the first colour. Again, you want thin and thick areas of paint. Scrape the paint off the areas that are still slightly wet.

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Step 5:

Distress the board by banging with a hammer – use different parts of the hammer head for different effects! Now sand the board – especially the cut edges until it feels nice and smooth.

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Step 6:

Place your photocopied image face down on clean, dry paper towel and sparingly add orange oil (Cottage Paint Transfer Oil) where there is ink. When you are done and there are NO shiny areas, lift the paper and place it face down on the wood. Tape ONE edge to the wood. Rub the back of the paper with a spoon – gently at first and then gradually increase the pressure. Carefully lift the paper to see how you’re doing. Continue until the whole image is transferred. There will still be ink on the paper – only about 1/2 of it will come off.

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Step 7:

Drill small holes at the top of the board and attach jute or wire through the holes for hanging. I didn’t finish with wax or varnish, but you could. Use Cottage Paint Satin Wax if you are putting the sign outside. Here are a few others that we’ve made.


Watch the video on orange oil transfer: