a little diy: rustic wooden sign

Photo Credit: Brooke Lark

Photo Credit: Brooke Lark

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my bathroom remodel – going from a tiny broom closet to a freaking toilet palace was like winning the lottery and discovering calorie-less Reese’s peanut butter cups all in the same day.   I still marvel at the fact that I no longer have to suds up behind a shower curtain and have space around my sink where I can put my toothbrush. However, even though the main fixtures were all complete (and I was loving them), there was the small matter of decorating my sparse space. My first matter of business? Creating this bad boy below.

I looked at saving myself some time and just buying one of these off of Etsy, but a) everything was super expensive – the item below was $200! – and b) I couldn’t find quite what I wanted. Plus, I wanted to be able to pick a quote/saying that meant something to me and not just what was available. Thus, I put on my creativity cap (trust me, we accountants need them) and a Pinterest craft night was put on the calendar.

I went to Lowe’s to get my supplies (and I may have made a pit stop at Target for the wine – my creativity seems to come out when I’m slightly tipsy). Luckily I had a $10 off coupon, so all in all, I spent a total of $36.14, broken out as follows:

And then the hard work ensued. I’d like to say this took me only a few hours to pull together, but as I’m a bit of a perfectionist (and I needed a night for the stain to dry), this project actually took me roughly a week to complete. Don’t fret, though – that’s mainly because I’d come home in the evenings and work on painting it for half an hour, get bored, and put it back to finish another day. Plus, those letters took a double coat…and a slow, steady hand. Talk about time-consuming. Anyhoo, if you’re interested in making your own quote board, even on a smaller scale, read on for instructions!

Step 1:

Buy your supplies. Just kidding – you already knew that. First thing you should do once you’ve got everything together is sand down your board to get rid of any rough edges. Then, after picking out a quote or picture or whatnot that you want on your wood panel, trace it out in pencil. I did it all freehand, which meant there was a butt load (yes, that’s an actual unit of measurement – look it up) of erasing to get the spacing on my quote right and the font how I wanted it. When I was satisfied with the pencil version, I traced over it with a sharpie so that I would be able to see it through the stain.

Step 2:

I beat the shit out of the board. And as you can probably guess, this was the best part of the whole project. The board I had picked out from Lowe’s needed a little weathering in order to give it a more rustic look, so I rounded up some tools (a hammer, some screwdrivers, allen wrenches, and small wheels that were supposed to go on the bottom of my dehumidifier – they had sharp edges great for this!) and went at it. The beauty of this part is that you can be creative with how you weather it – just get after it, have fun, and release some of that pent up frustration. Here’s me in the process (photos courtesy of my roommate – because I made her take them):

Step 3:

It was time to stain this sucker, so I made my way down to my dungeon of a basement, laid down a sheet, and stained away. Note, you do not want to do this part of the process on any floor that you would worry about getting the stain on. So head to a garage, a basement, in your front yard, whatever. Also, just as an FYI, with any stains, the longer you let them soak in, the more saturated the colors gets. I used a walnut stain, which can get fairly dark if left on for the full allotted 15 minutes that the stain can stated; instead, I left it on for 8-10ish minutes, and then wiped down the entire board to remove any excess still on there, which left me with this:

Step 4:

Wait for it to dry. This is where my Pinterest night ended because it was already past 11pm, and I wasn’t about to stay up until 3am to begin painting it. A girl has better things to do.

Step 5:

Alright, once your stain is dry, get ready to channel your inner Van Gogh because it’s painting time, ladies. I had to paint over mine twice so that you couldn’t see through the white (which took forever and a day), but hey, it was worth it. Try to trace your lettering as precise as you can, but don’t worry about any “oopsies” – we’ll fix those later.

Step 6:

I’m not perfect and neither was my painting. I got outside of the lines quite a bit (see below) and heck, I even accidentally dipped my hair in the paint at one point. I know, I’m a mess. But luckily both the hair debacle and my painting errors were easy to fix. All you need to do is take an Xacto knife (a regular knife may work here, but I like to use the Xacto because it’s a little sharper) and scratch away at any paint you want to remove. Don’t dig in too hard here, but also don’t worry if you shave off some of the wood. Trust me, no one will notice.

Step 7:

You. Are. Done! After a week of my living room being transformed into an artist’s (and I use that word loosely) studio, it was finally complete and ready to move into my bathroom. And in total, it cost me less than $40 and some lost hours in front of the TV (although I did have my Netflix up and running while I was painting – no one can resist a New Girl marathon). What do you think of the finished product?

If you’re looking to build one yourself and have any questions, please feel free to email me at brittandthebenjamins@gmail.com.