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Welcome to Emily’s Simply Made Series! Each post features a craft that looks cute or is practical but is easy enough for even the uncraftiest of people. Cute DIY things are NOT just for the pros! You can do it too!

Welcome Welcome Welcome, my friends!! Today marks the first post of my Simply Made Series!

Today, I’ve made a Custom Wooden Sign- something that you may think you can only find in home decor stores or on Etsy, but I will prove to you that you need not spend a ton of money on a mass manufactured sign when you could make a CUSTOM one at home for a few dollars.

I need to preface my craft by explaining that I am a Modern Family fiend. My husband and I quote it randomly throughout our days, and most of the time the quote is a Phil Dunphy quote. I LOVE Phil. How can you not?? This guy tries so hard to do everything right and be cool, and usually ends up making a fool of himself, which makes for quotes to die for. The quote we use most often around here is actually from the pilot episode. Phil tries to explain that he’s the cool dad…that’s his “thang”. Well, watch for yourself…


So, my husband and I must say “why the face?!” to each other a few times a week and it needed to be part of my decor in my workspace. Because the thought WTF comes up a LOT when I work. I thought it was fitting.

Want to make one?? It’s easier than you might think!

All you need is

  • a piece of wood (mine was pre-cut and shaped from the craft store) $3.99
  • acrylic paint in two colors
  • a thin paintbrush
  • pencil
  • sand paper with a fine grit
  • clear seal (mod podge or spray on)
And away we go!
Start off by painting your sign with the background color of your choice. I used a light blue. Let it dry and paint on a second coat. Apply a third if needed.
While the paint it drying, print out the words you want in the font you like. I just used Word, typed the words out, chose the font I liked then sized it so that it would fit my sign. Print it out- mine took 2 sheets of paper.
Once printed out, cut the paper so that the words have only a little paper left around them.
Draw a straight line under the words, using the bottoms of the letters as a guide.
Turn the words over. Using your pencil, color the backs of the paper behind where the words were printed out. You want to make sure and cover the words.
Using the lines, tape the words together in order face up & pencil shading down, making sure the lines line up.
Tape the paper phrase onto your sign, making sure it is level.
Trace around each letter with your pencil, making sure to get every line, including the inner lines in letters like “e” or “R” or “a”. When you trace, press down a little bit.
The pencil on the back of your paper will transfer to the wood as you trace each letter.
Remove your paper words and the tape, revealing your transfered letters on the wood!
Here comes the only tricky part. Using a thin paintbrush, fill in the letters with your second color of paint (I used a grey). It takes some patience, and semi-steady hands, but it is A-OK to go a little outside the lines. Just make sure to try and fix the line by going back over it, making the rest of the line a little wider as well. Remember-the look of this sign will be a little weathered, and you’ll be sanding over it so a little mess up here and there is ok. If you make a big mistake, paint over it in your background color. **IF you are concerned about thin lines, try and choose a font with bold lines to make painting easier!
I did two coats of the grey on the letters, just for the best coverage.
Once the letters have dried, take your second color (the same one you used with your letters, OR if you used a bright color, then a black or brown is a better choice for this step) and paint it into the edges, and up onto the front a little at a time, using a paper towel to rub it off immediately. This will help give it an aged look.
When your sign is completely dry, take your sandpaper and start sanding away!
Over the letters, around the edges, all over that baby. When the letters start to fade a bit, then it’s ready! Wipe it down with a dry rag, then seal it with your Mod Podge or clear coat spray.
Add some picture hanging hardware (found at any hardware store or even Target/Walmart or a craft store) and hang it up to enjoy!

This makes not only some great decor for your own home, but also gifts for weddings, new babies or any special occasion! I mean, you can make it with whatever words you want (although I don’t know why you WOULDN’T want “wtf” on your wall), a family name, song quote, a fun saying etc. Have fun with it and make it your own!

Did you make this craft? We think immitation is the best form of flattery, and we would be flattered if you come by and post a picture of YOUR sign on our facebook wall!!

Happy Crafting!