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Farmhouse style signs are all the rage right now. They’ve surely been popping up in your Instagram feed like crazy over the last year and if you’re like me, you’ve fallen in love with them. Last time I visited Hobby Lobby I couldn’t believe how many options there were – quotes, lyrics, prayers, etc. But, I knew I wanted something personal for our home.
I decided to create my own sign to go front and center in our upper living space featuring lyrics from our wedding song.
Here’s how I created my own custom farmhouse sign for under $25:
For the longest time, we had two very plain photos (above) hung above our couch. I always knew this was the perfect space for something amazing, I just didn’t know what. When I came up with the idea of creating a sign that showcased my favourite lyrics to my wedding song (Love Song – The Cure covered by 311) I knew this is where it belonged.
Choosing The Size
The very first thing you’ll need to do is decide roughly how big you want your sign. I decided that ours would go directly over our living room couch, so I wanted it large. I settled on roughly 2 by 3 feet and went from there.
- Printed quote or lyrics in your choice of font
- Black and white paint
- Pencil or chalk
- 1×2 pine
- Mitre or hand saw
- Nail gun, or just a hammer and nails
Most of the farmhouse style signs you see online use a base of plywood, but I chose to use stretched canvas for many reasons – less expensive, no cuts or sanding, lighter to hang, and textured. Because canvas can’t be cut, you’ll want to purchase your desired size and use it to gauge how much wood you’ll need for the frame.
I purchased my 60x80cm canvas at JYSK for $8. I then used my canvas measurements to determine how much 1×2 pine to buy. I ended up grabbing 2 pieces of 1×2 in an 8 ft length, costing me a whopping $13.
I purchased 1 bottle each of black and white acrylic paint at the dollar store for a total of $2. I already had the perfect colour of stain at home from use in other projects, but if you need to purchase stain, get the smallest container possible as this project uses very little.
You’ll need to first cut your wood to create the frame. If you have a mitre saw, great. If you don’t, borrow a friends or consider the option of hand sawing. These pieces of wood are not only tiny, but don’t need to be perfect for this project. If you scroll down, you can see exactly how imperfect my mitre joints were!
You’ll also want to give your canvas a coat of white paint to remove any imperfections and brighten it up.
Next, you’ll want to print out your quote or lyrics. I found a free font online and used my home printer. It took me a little while of playing around on Microsoft Word before I got the sizing correct for my canvas, but I did it. I printed on standard paper and cut and glued the pieces together to form what you see below.
Tracing and Painting the Letters
This is where things get slightly time consuming (but so worth it). You’ll want to use some type of pencil or coloured chalk that will transfer on to your canvas when rubbed. I tested a few pencils out before I found that a charcoal one worked best.
Now it’s time to flip over your printed quote or lyrics and trace. I traced the entire outline twice to make sure it would transfer properly. Like I said, this is a little bit time consuming, but it’s so helpful in the end.
After you completely trace your letters on the back side of the paper, you’ll flip them back over and carefully position them on your canvas. After I found the correct position, I used painters tape to hold the paper in place.
To transfer, you’ll rub your traced letters on to the canvas. The easiest way for me to do this was to gently go over each letter with a plastic card.
Upon lifting the paper, you’ll see a very faint copy of your words. Just enough to use as a guide for painting!
To complete the letters, simply paint over what you traced with black paint. I suggest having multiple brush sizes handy.
It doesn’t need to be perfect! Imperfections add to the charm. My finished painted letters are a little wobbly, but I love them!
Staining the Wood
The cool part about making this sign is that you can choose what finish you want on the frame. I wanted the wood to match my DIY entry table as well as my upcycled coffee table so I used leftover stain from those projects.
I always use a wood conditioner to prevent uneven application, but because this project is decorative only, I opted out of a topcoat.
Assembling The Sign
Once the stain is dry, it’s time to put it all together! Because the inner frame of the canvas is already wood, we simply nailed the 1×2 to the canvas with a nail gun. You could easily do this with a hammer and nails as well. We did 3 nails on each long side, and 2 on each short side.
As I mentioned earlier, my mitre joints aren’t perfect, but the little gaps add to the charm. Plus, they’re hardly noticeable!
Hanging the Sign
I chose not to add any hanging hardware to my sign and use the canvas frame. The best part about using canvas instead of plywood as the base is that this sign is incredibly light. This means it doesn’t need to go into a stud or use drywall anchors when hanging.
Isn’t it perfect!?
This sign has already become one of my favourite pieces in our home. I adore that it’s customized to fit our family and was ridiculously cheap and easy to make. I’ve even been adding seasonal decorations to it.
This might be my go-to wedding gift from now on! I hope you love it as much as I do.
I’m so proud of this little DIY!