Okay, I'm the first to admit it. I'm not super artistic....and I really can't draw. But, I'm pretty good with a computer.
I use this technique for creating all the hand painted signs at The Farmstead...now you can too!
First things first, what are you going to paint on? Because I design in photoshop I design to the scale of the item I'm using. Most of my projects are on scrap board. The Lemon Goat sign is project board from Home Depot...I didn't want to bother with the table saw so I designed it to fit the pre-cut portion of wood. You can find these smaller project boards in the big box store's wood moulding aisle. Michaels and some larger JoAnns' also sell wood project board. I'd imagine Hobby Lobby would as well, we just don't have any here.
Once you know what you're going to paint on, make your design. If you don't have photoshop, powerpoint would also work. Free fonts can be downloaded all over the internet for personal use as well as a lot of silhouette images. I've also purchased virtual downloads off of Etsy with great success.
I'm including download links to my two designs in this tutorial. They're large, so they may take some time to download. Please feel free to use them for your personal delight.
• Download Lemon Goat Sign (40" x 24")
• Download Bee Yard Sign (26" x 16")
Design? Check! Time to get it printed. Our Office Depot has a large scale printer that literally costs pennies to print on. My large Lemon Goat Sign cost $9 with tax and the 2' Bee Yard Sign was just $1.51.
While you're at the store, pick up some carbon paper, then head to your local craft store and get a few brushes (depending on what you're painting your size needs will vary) and your paint. I use Delta Ceramcoat paint for that rich, vivid black with minimal coats. I've made the mistake of using other brands of black, which come out with more of a "weathered grey look". It's really all up to you.
Once you have your printout, you're ready to transfer! If you plan on painting your wood with a background color be sure to do it before tracing on your design. Secure your printout really well across the top. You'll be moving it a lot and you want to make sure you're always laying the pattern back down in the right place. The carbon paper goes down with the carbon side to the wood.
Start tracing! When you're first starting you might want to double check and make sure you have the right pressure. Nothing's worse than tracing a whole slew of words only to have none of them come through. (Do you like Mr. Nick's pen skills below? I'm sure the Nuns would be pleased with their pupil...They held him back from graduating to pen until around 5th grade...).
Once you've traced everything on it's basically a paint by numbers game. And then voila! Beautiful sign for the outdoors. I plan on sealing ours since we have a large amount of rain but you can do whatever works for you and your climate.
And, one more sign...I made this one by securing three fence boards together and painting them. It's just a text printout.
We'd love to see what you create! Please post your pictures on The Farmstead's Facebook Wall!