How to Create a Hand Lettered Wood Sign

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This past week my husband and I were driving around our little town in our golf cart and out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a thick piece of wood laying on the side of the road. We kept on going on our merry way but I couldn't stop thinking about that piece of wood. I immediately started thinking about what I could make with it. 

Since receiving my Cricut Explore Air 2 for my birthday this past September, I seem to look at everything as a possible product for me to create something fun. So I just knew that we had to turn around and go find that piece of wood so that I could create my Cricut masterpiece. ;)

Here is what you will need in order to create your own piece of art:

Once we got the piece home, I had my husband remove the nails from it. It seems like this piece of wood was used as part of a cement mold, you can see a lot of cement still stuck to the wood. Before I was able to start my project, I had to figure our how to create a smooth surface for me to be able to attach the vinyl and paint something on it.

I started by first brushing the piece of wood with a a hard bristle brush to get most of the big pieces of cement off. I wanted to make sure that I kept the aging of the wood, so sanding was out of the question.

Then I used a plastic scraper to try to get the remaining little pieces of cement off or at least the smallest that I can get them. I wasn't too careful with the wood because I like the weathered look but still wanted to make sure I didn't brush or scrape too hard.

Once my piece of wood was prepped. I headed over to the Cricut design center to create my template. I wanted something that I could use anywhere in our home, moving it around where ever I wanted throughout the seasons. So I finally settled on 'our nest' and created my template. The only thing I had at home was vinyl that my husband so generously gifted me along with the Cricut, so I cut my template out of some of vinyl. 

Once my template was cut, I was ready to remove the negative space from the template and get it ready to apply it to my piece of wood. I then used transfer tape to get the stencil on the piece of wood. The process was super easy but you just have to make sure you go slow, taking your time with each step.

I was so excited to start painting that I almost forgot to take pictures of the vinyl stencil! Oops!

And here is the full stencil! I had to cut my stencil in 3 parts because I only had vinyl that was 8 1/2" x 11". So I had to cut each work individually to make sure I had the right scale.

Once I was satisfied with the location of the stencil on my piece of wood, I was ready to begin painting. I decided to use black paint we already had at home, so I simply used a small foam brush and lightly brushed the paint on top of the stencil. I did two coats, making sure that each coat was a super thin layer of paint. I didn't want to pile a bunch of paint on and then have trouble getting the stencil off. I also didn't have too much of a strategy with how I applied the paint because I wanted it to look weathered, so if some little paint did seep through the stencil, I was okay with it.

Once my paint was applied, I let the wood sit for about an hour before I even attempted to remove the vinyl stencil. Now if you want your edges to be perfect, then I would suggest waiting longer for the paint to dry, but like I mentioned, I wanted the piece to look a little weathered so I peeled off the stencil slowly and firmly. This gave the edges of the words a little character. 

Now that my vinyl was off, I was ready to leave the piece to dry properly before I continued with installing the cup hooks to help me hang it on the wall. After about a full 24 hours, I was confident enough that the paint was dry and I could continue with hanging the piece on the wall.

Hanging the piece on the wall was super simple. We simple used to cup hooks we already had at home and hand installed them into the upper edge of the wood. We then used our twine to create a little hanging picture look and simply hung the sign from a picture nail.

What do you guys think? Not bad using materials I found on the road and stuff I already had on hand, huh? I hope this tutorial helps inspire you to keep an eye out for pieces that will spark your creativity and create something beautiful for your home!

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