i saw the sign

Yes, so that is a super cheesy and predictable title for what this post is about.  You guessed it…signs!  Not just any signs but my new obsession with creating vintage reproduction ones.  I am not normally a fan of vintage reproduction anything but if I can create vintage inspired signs using old salvaged wood then I’m in! 

I got a new gadget for Christmas that I just can’t get enough of.  You might remember me mentioning a projector, sewing machine and bike were amongst my gifts this year.  I am still intimidated by the sewing machine and it has been too freezing out to get much use out of the bike just yet.  Buuuut the projector and I have been getting cozy the last couple of weeks.

How so you ask?  Well, I just hook it up to my computer and project an image of my choice onto some salvaged wood.  I then paint the image to create a sign.  It is so much more versatile than using stencils.  Although so much more expensive than using stencils.  Maybe you can borrow a projector from work?  They won’t miss it.

Remember our reclaimed pallet wood backsplash that I posted about a couple of days ago? You haven’t forgotten? Good. Well, there was a bit of leftover pallet wood that was calling my name. See we chose to use oak wood in that renovation but acquired some pine pallets that we didn’t use…until the projector came along. Perfection.

I have started at a beginner level sign maker by considering vintage style fonts and how they might have been used in signs.  For example, I thought this lettering was dead on for “Bakery”.  Although I think the paint is too light, it might make for a good kitchen accessory.

I also tried to replicate simple signs you might see at a farmer’s market.

From fruit…

to vegetables…

The look I am going for is what would have been a hand painted sign like a million years ago and then aged and weathered naturally. After the paint dries, I like to rough up the sign by lightly sanding in random places where the image would have worn over time. Roughing it up might just be my favorite part. Don’t judge. Then I use a dark wax to seal in the wear and tear. Plus the dark wax helps to age it and gives the wood patina. Oh and it also makes it feel nice and smooth.  Now you know my technique.

After I graduated from single pallet signs, I got the bright idea to connect a few.  Check my Bait & Tackle sign…

Hook & eyelets are used to connect them to each other so you can change out the sale of the day, if you will. Too bad they’re not rusty hook & eyelets.

Then I started to move into intermediate vintage reproduction sign making, if that is such a place. Enter the world of images (beyond the scary stick figure fish seen above). I projected a moose with the text “Moose Lodge” onto a big piece of salvaged wood. I only used one color acrylic paint though and followed the steps outlined previously.

Side note: My parent’s wedding reception was held at a place called The Moose Lodge. That was not necessarily the inspiration behind this sign. I was thinking rustic winter cabin type lodge. I like that lodge style this time of year. I think this sign would complement a mounted buck’s head.  Did I just say mounted buck’s head?  Not something I thought I’d ever write about.  Anyway, I really like the wood grain on the moose sign.

There you have my newest project du jour. I hope you’ve found this technique helpful.  Hopefully my sign making skills will get better from here.  I’ve got more ideas to come and a garage full of salvaged wood. Stay tuned!

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7 thoughts on “i saw the sign

  1. Brilliant. What a smart and efficient way to make signs….the possibilities are endless. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

  2. Hey, love the signs, but I would suggest you spray paint the hooks with a dark hammared metal paint to give them a more rustice look.

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