Tuesday, January 5, 2016

DIY: Tips on How to Paint a Vintage Sign

I needed a piece of art for a narrow space right at the top of my staircase, so I decided to make one and have some fun with it.

Being that we've been renovating our home and a cottage on the same property, there was some old wood to be had. Actually, a perfect piece was found. It was long and narrow and painted white (in some of the pictures, it looks like raw wood, but it's not) and was definitely worn and a bit dirty. I didn't even clean it before painting it! I wanted it to look as old and rustic as it could.

I had a bunch of different things I was going to paint on it. First, it was "Turn Left", with an arrow, then it was "Bedroom, Turn Left". I settled on "Upstairs Bedroom Turn Left" because of the way the letters laid out when stacked.

Being a graphic designer, I had the ability to lay out the design in Illustrator. I tried several fonts, but settled on a simple one that was reminiscent of a vintage sign.

Before, laying down the letters, I lightly sponged some watered down black paint over the wood to just give it more "texture". I printed out the letters full size, cut them out, taped them down in place and traced around each one in pencil. I drew in the outline of the larger letters myself. To create the drop shadow, before taping down the letters again, I moved them over a bit to the right and then down and traced around each one.

I used acrylic paints and some leftover Farrow and Ball paint I had. Once everything was painted, I let it dry completely before distressing it. I did that by lightly sanding over the letters. I also added a bit more of the watered-down paint to the sign.


  1. Love, love, love your sign and aesthetic! May I also add that the collage photo format you used to show your work in progress is genius and looks beautiful! I'm going to have to borrow that idea,just so you know. Beautiful blog!!

  2. Thank you for sharing the inspiration for painting and decoration! It looks fantastic! Nowadays painting made easy and fun using airless spray and I’m trying to get one for my painting project. Would love to see more updates from you for inspirations! Thanks!