How to Create A Hand Painted Sign

Good Things Utah
Bring the words you love to life with this DIY tutorial for hand painted signs by Amber Packer. For more DIY crafts, visit and find her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @amberpacker. 
Hand Painted Signs Designed
  • 1” x 12” x __’ Pine Board (cut to 11 ½” x 24”)
  • OR use Ply wood scraps for a more shabby chic look
  • 1” x 2” x 8’ Pine Board (cut to 2 – 24”, 2 – 12 ¾”)
  • Stain: General Finishes Van Dyke Brown Glaze
  • Paint: White Acrylic
  • Pocket Hole Jig (if you have one, don’t buy one if you don’t)
  • Sand Paper: 220 grit (fine sanding), 60 grit
  • ½” square dowel cut in fourths

Also Used

  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Paper
  • ½” flat brush
  • Wood glue
  • Drill
  • 1 ¼” screws
Measurements are for Amber’s project size. Remember you can make your project any size.
  1. Cut pine boards to sizes listed above, or the sizes that fit your project.
    • Frame sizes will vary depending on if your frame is on top of the base or around the outer edges 
  2. If you have a pocket hole jig, drill holes in the back of the base.
  3. Stain all sides of frame pieces and base. Allow to dry.
  4. Lightly paint white on top of base. Allow to dry.
    • Important: if your frame will be glued on the top of the base, keep white off the sides of the base. You also may want to use smaller boards for your frame.
  5. When dry, lightly sand to get the desired look.
  6. While paint is drying, practice writing the word or phrase until you get the look you like.
    • This repetitive process trains your hand to get the look you want with muscle memory when it is time to paint.
  7. Lightly pencil word or phrase.
  8. Paint word or phrase using ½” flat brush. Be sure to allow wide and this strokes.
  9. Sand over the word or phrase to achieve desired amount of shabbiness.
  10. Lightly glue frame to base either on outer edges or to top of base.
  11. If you glued the frame to the outer edges, drill a pilot hole and add screws to secure frame in place.
Non-hand painted method:
  1. Print word or phrase on paper with choice of fonts. (project size, tape papers together)
  2. Rub pencil on back of pattern.
  3. Lightly trace on white side of board with pencil side down.
  4. Fill in letters with paint and brush, paint pen or even a sharpie.
  5. Frame as described above.

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