They’re everywhere; the farmhouse style signs with the inspirational or witty sayings. Well, what if you want something custom? A word or phrase that’s special to you and not something you’ll find laying around on the shelves of Hobby Lobby? It’s time to DIY!
I actually made this sign a couple years ago. I heard these words from our pastor on a Sunday morning and they stuck with me. I knew I needed to put these words in our home as a constant reminder to go out and make the world a better place. I also knew that it would probably cost a small fortune to have someone custom make it for me since I wanted it to be BIG.
[Let me pause to say that I strongly support small businesses who make custom art like this. Heck, I’ve had my own photography business for 7 years, I know the cost it takes to operate a small business. I also know that custom work and art isn’t always in everyone’s everyday budget. There’s a time to support a business and there’s a time to DIY.]
My original design definitely had a farmhouse feel with the country green and barnwood trim. The canvas is a basic painters canvas from Hobby Lobby. I went with a big one (24″x 36″). Don’t forget to use their always available 40% off coupon! I found this barnwood style trim at Home Depot. It was already this rustic grey color so I didn’t need to paint it. If you wanted something more clean or modern, they have plenty of different size and shape of trim boards. They will be in the lumber section. If you do not have a saw at home to cut the trim, make sure you take measurements of your canvas before heading to Home Depot as they can cut your boards in the store for you!
I didn’t do any fancy 45 degree angles on my frame, just a simple perpendicular edge. For this original design I used basic craft paint and a foam brush to paint the entire canvas before attaching the frame. I used basic craft store stencils with a small foam brush for the lettering. [Keep reading to see a brand new way I did the lettering during my sign refresh project].
This canvas has a strong wood frame inside so I was able to attach a picture wire to the back of the canvas itself to hang from, instead of hanging from the frame. This allowed me to just use super glue to attach the frame to the canvas. If you are going to hang your picture from the frame itself, I would definitely recommend nailing the frame to the canvas.
As we have been going through this home remodel, our style of decor has changed slightly. We’re a little less farmhouse and a little more modern now. This country green sign just wasn’t going to fit, but I knew I still wanted it in our home. Instead of trashing it and starting over I decided to give it a little fresh coat of paint and style update.
The first thing I needed to do was a little bit of sanding. Since I originally did painted lettering on top of the painted canvas the letters had some stand out texture to them. I knew my new paint would cover the color of the original paint, but I didn’t want to be able to see the outline of the lettering through the background. I took a sanding sponge and did a quick brush over the letter to remove any of the texture.
Instead of reframing with more modern style wood, I decided to use a dark black paint to give it that modern feel. I first taped of the edge of the canvas (cause I’m a messy painter!). I again used a basic craft paint and a foam brush. It took 3 coats to cover the wood since it has that rustic finish and texture.
I gave the frame a few hours to dry completely before moving on to painting the background of the canvas. I again used painters tape to tape off the trim this time so that I could paint all the way down around the edges of the canvas. I debated on background color for a long time. The safe choice was white, but I felt pulled to do something a little different. I ended up choosing the blush pink color that I’ve been incorporating into other areas of our decor.
The paint covered the previous design really well and there was no trace of the previous lettering! I again gave the canvas a few hours to dry before moving on to the lettering.
This time, I wanted to do a different technique for the lettering. I chose to use graphite paper to transfer the font onto the canvas. I’ve done this technique on a few other projects and I love that it allows you to use any font and style of design you want instead of being stuck with whatever stencils are available.
All you need to do is type up your word or phrase (or even a picture design) on your computer. Size your font to the right size and shape you want to be on your final design. (I would recommend bolding any fonts you use. The thicker the better for tracing to transfer).
Place your graphite paper dark side down on your canvas and place your printed lettering on top. Secure it all with painters tape so that it doesn’t move while you trace. I like to use a dull pencil to trace the outline of each letter this way I can easily see where I have/haven’t traced already, but I don’t puncture the paper. You don’t have to apply a lot of pressure and be careful not to rub as the graphite will smudge onto your canvas (don’t worry if you do, it will erase off!) Once you’ve traced everything, slowly remove the graphite paper and you’ll will have a perfect outline of your design on your canvas!
From here you can use whatever type of media you would like to paint in your design (permanent marker, paint pens, brushed paint). Since I wanted my letters to be black, I decided to use a basic black sharpie. Just slowly trace around your outline and fill in. You can use your finger or a damp cloth to remove any excess graphite that may have transferred while your were tracing.
This is definitely a project you can complete in a day. Just be careful because it can become addicting! Good news, if you decide you don’t like it, it’s pretty easy to change it up!! Stay tuned for more DIY decor projects!