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How To Build A Vintage Inspired Sign

How To Build A Vintage Inspired Sign

Don’t you just love old vintage signs? Because they are hard to find, here is how to build your own DIY Vintage Inspired Sign and have the look of an authentic Old Sign.

How to build a Vintage Inspired Sign to look like an authentic old sign.

Do you like old vintage signs? Those that were used to advertise road side produce or old country stores are some of my favorites. Unfortunately, these were usually made of wood and are not longer in existence. I love vintage business signs but they are hard to find.  So I decided to build my own DIY Vintage Inspired Sign.

Because I was starting from scratch, the options were unlimited.  The sign I wanted may have never actually existed.  I’ve asked my brother’s but they don’t remember there being an actual sign directing traffic to The Ponds.  

How to build a DIY Vintage Inspired Sign to look like an authentic old sign.

My dad built these three ponds and for a few years, had them open to the public for fishing.  He charged just $1.00 to fish all day.  
Memories of fishing there myself as a little girl are strong, but to be honest, I don’t remember when they were open to the public for fishing. As we have been refurbishing The Ponds, I’ve dreamed of what a sign might have looked like all those years ago.  So I decided to make a sign to look like a vintage road side sign from 50 years ago.

Using old wood adds to the authenticity of the sign.  How to build a DIY Vintage Sign to look like an authentic old sign.

Since most signs from that era would have been made of wood, imperfections would be important. To add to the authenticity of a real vintage sign, it was important to use old wood.  
Fortunately, this old shiplap was stacked in my dad’s old building.  After we cleaned the boards, we cut them to the desired width for the vintage sign we were making. These boards will be perfect to build a vintage inspired sign.

 Next we cut a couple of 1×4 boards slightly shorter than the height of the sign. We attached to the back of the ship lap to hold the boards together using wood screws. Be sure your screws aren’t to long. You want them to attached the two pieces of wood without puncturing the wood in the front of your sign.  

I don’t have any old wood

Don’t worry if you don’t have old wood. You can use new wood and use distressing techniques like these to make the wood look old.

The Design


Once you have the size of your sign determined, draw out your design. I like to use graph paper to draw the design to scale.

This step very important in determining where each letter will go. Each square on the graph paper equals an inch on my board.  Therefore, I know exactly where to place each letter and how large to cut the letters.  
Next I used my Silhouette Cameo 3 to design and cut a stencil for the sign.  For this project, I used card stock to cut the stencils.  I knew this was a one time project.  When cutting stencils to be used multiple times, I use stencil material instead.  

Time to Paint

My go to paint for most projects these days is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. For this project I choose Amsterdam Green and Duck Egg. In addition, I used a black craft paint.

Age Paint technique.  How to build a DIY Vintage Sign to look like an authentic old sign.

 First mix Amsterdam Green with 50% water to paint your first coat.

How to build a DIY Vintage Sign to look like an authentic old sign.

Then using a dry brush technique, add Duck Egg over the top, leaving a lot of the green peeking through.  
Using iron orchid decor large distress stamp, you can add some black craft paint to add a distressed look to the surface.  These are so cool.  You just roll a small amount of paint onto the stamp and then just gently lay it on your piece and lightly press.  It leaves these perfect distress marks on the boards.  

Stencil your graphics  

Stencil the letters to build a DIY Vintage Sign to look like an authentic old sign.

Using the Old White Chalk  paint and the black craft paint to stencil the sign.  Carefully attach your stencils to the board following the pattern you made on graph paper. Use painter’s tape to hold your stencils in place  Using a stencil brush, carefully apply the paint to the boards.  

How to build a DIY Vintage Sign to look like an authentic old sign.

You may want your sign to show more signs of age! So, once the stencil is dry, sand the entire board, removing more paint.  Next, add a layer of Old White Paint distressing by using the Iron Orchid Distress Stamp.  

How to build a DIY Vintage Inspired Sign to look like an authentic old sign.
The sign hangs in our outdoor kitchen

Because I still felt my lettering was to rigid, I did some shading to the left of each letter with the black craft paint.  You can accomplish this by placing the stencil over the letter again and slide it off to the left slightly.  Then use a small brush with a dry brush technique to add the black paint.  Now sand the surface once again lightly.

Add some crackle

You know paint that is over 50 years old will be crackled. If you want an authentic vintage sign, then add a crackle effect to the piece using another stamp. I used Iron Orchid Craquelure Stamp and black craft paint.  Note: I am not affiliated with Iron Orchid but I do like these reusable stamps.

Use a crackle technique to build a DIY Vintage Sign to look like an authentic old sign.

This is a close up of the craquelure stamp.  Isn’t that great?  

How to build a DIY Vintage Inspired Sign to look like an authentic old sign.

How do you like it?  I can truly believe this sign stood on our property over 50 years ago!!!
If I close one eye!!!  LOL

Click here to see the Before and After of the DIY Outdoor Kitchen here at the Ponds.

How to build a DIY Vintage Inspired Sign to look like an authentic old sign.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little of The Ponds history. This sign is a way to preserve some of the memories that will begin to fade with time. Hopefully, this sign will remind future generations what once was happening here. If you’d like to know more about our life here at The Ponds click here! Please feel free to ask any questions.

xoxo, Rachel

How to build a Vintage Inspired Sign
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Pamela @ DIY Vibes

Tuesday 19th of May 2020

This sign is absolutely gorgeous and I love the story behind it! I need to look into the stencils you talk about, they REALLY add to the character of the sign.

rahrags@gmail.com

Tuesday 19th of May 2020

Pamela, I really appreciate you for stopping by. Rachel

Traci Jennings

Monday 11th of May 2020

That looks fantastic! Thanks for the "how to" and use of the stencils. What a great project to commemorate your family's history at the ponds.

rahrags@gmail.com

Tuesday 12th of May 2020

Traci, Thanks for stopping by. I'm so glad you liked this project. I appreciate you for taking the time to comment. Rachel