Custom Sign – Where the Wild Things Are
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Alternately titled “That one November when I overlooked an entire week.” I have been so stressed, busy and overwhelmed this last month! I signed up for a craft fair, on top of everything else, and things didn’t go as originally planned or thought. So I’ve been scrambling to make it work. I’m sure you’ve been there. I was editing some things here on the blog during toddler nap time and happened to glance at the scheduled posts coming up. I noticed that somehow I had completely missed this week on my editorial calendar. No posts scheduled. I’m trying not to neglect the blog, even though things are so crazy. I hurried out to my shed thinking if I worked fast I could whip something up with the 30 minutes or so I had left of nap time. Of course this would be the perfect time for complete creative block. Nothing, there was nothing. Already stressed, frustrated, and overwhelmed I decided that I’d just forget about it, and leave this week of November empty.
It’s funny when those moments of clarity arrive. Sitting there in my Craft Shack frustrated with no creative juices flowing I glanced over and there on the floor were boxes full of my craft fair work. Big huge boxes full of signs and more signs. If you follow on Instagram you’ve probably seen a couple. I’ve been creating them like a madwoman for weeks, and not once did I pause long enough to think that maybe someone out there might want to learn how easy they are to make. This is what my teenage son would call a “DUH” moment. I want to show you how to make this really cute “Where the Wild Things Are” custom sign!
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own custom sign:
- A piece of wood (I am using a 12×16 scrap of plywood)
- An electronic cutting machine (I love my Silhouette)
- A stencil (if you don’t have a cutting machine)
- Con-Tact self adhesive paper (Clear and colored)
- Paint (I love chalk paint for signs but acrylic would work too) (two colors)
- sand paper
- Sealer (Soft Touch Varnish is my very favorite sign sealer)
- Paint brush (I love the dollar store brushes for wood signs)
The first step for making a custom sign is to sand the wood until it’s smooth and free of loose splintery pieces. Especially if you are using scrap or reclaimed wood. You don’t want your pretty sign to give you a splinter!
When the wood is smooth, make sure to wipe all of the sanding dust off.
Paint the sign with the color you want your lettering or detail to be. You can use more than one color, but it’s difficult to line things up unless you’ve sketched it out on the board first. For this purpose we’re just using one detail color. I use two coats of paint to make sure it’s evenly coated. I used Americana Decor Chalky Finish in “Relic.”
While your paint is drying completely, make your stencil. (If you are buying a premade stencil you can obviously skip this part)
For this custom sign I am using my Silhouette Cameo to cut the stencil. Choose the design and cut it out using your design studio. I cut my stencils with contact paper. I have found that the name brand stuff works better for stencils than the super cheap no name paper. It is still much cheaper than using vinyl.
This is the design I’m making today. I just love Where the Wild Things Are! If you don’t know how to make a cut file from a .jpg file you can check out this great tutorial here and then you can just right click this image below and “Save image as…” import it into your design studio and trace away! (Personal use only please)
These are the settings I use when cutting contact paper on my Silhouette Cameo with the cutting mat. (You can cut contact paper without the cutting mat, but I prefer to use the mat)
Now normally you’d remove the negative space from around your lettering, leaving only the letters on the paper backing. In this instance though, I removed the background and the letters and only kept the wild thing. Love that wood grain contact paper!
Using a clear sheet of contact paper, lift the design off the paper backing, and place it on the sign. I use an old credit card to secure the stencil to the board. Peel the clear contact paper back off, leaving your letters on the wood.
If the letters are peeling off, rub them again with the card firmly.
After your lettering is in place, paint over it again with the same base color you’ve already used. This is how you get really great crisp lines. Your paint will seal any gaps under the letters top color from seeping in. Let it dry completely.
Paint over the whole thing with your second color choice now. This will be the background color. I used Chalky Finish “Everlasting” which is a really great bright white.
When the paint is completely dry you can peel your letters off. If you peel the stencil off too soon some of your paint may come off with it so make sure it’s really good and dry.
Now is when you can do any distressing you want, or additional details you might want to hand paint onto the sign.
Remove any dust left by the distressing, and then seal the sign.
Attach a saw tooth hanger if desired, or set your sign up for display! Isn’t it super cute?! This one is going to the craft fair, but I have two adorable little baby nephews who will likely be getting a similar one for Christmas!
I hope you love it! If you do, please share. Thank you!