Saturday, May 19, 2012

God Bless America!

...My Home Sweet Home 
A Painted Wooden Sign Tutorial

I've been itching to make a patriotic sign for the fourth of July to hang in my front entryway.  I considered lots of different phrases before settling upon this one, choosing it because of its nods to home and God.  

Making it was a good learning experience for me because I had to figure out how to print out the mirror image of words, and I had to paint.  I am absolutely the world's worst painter; in fact, I dread it, avoid it, and despise it.  The template I made helped assuage my painting panic because it works as a pattern and eliminates the need to free-hand the letters.  I'm sure your sign will turn out much better than mine, because I stink so badly at painting.  

I'm not gonna lie...this project will take you a while, probably about 2-3 hours because you do have to paint over all those letters; but it is cute in the end.

-One piece of wood, cut to 8 x 17.  I used MDF.
-A sawtooth picture hanger, OR  a drill, a small drill bit, and some twine (for hanging)
-White, blue, and red craft paint (acrylic).  I used Americana brand "Deep Burgandy" for the red and Plaid brand “Cobalt Blue” mixed with a little bit of black paint for the dark blue.
-a VERY fine paintbrush
-a wide sponge paint brush
-18 inches of red 3/8 inch wide grosgrain ribbon
-a black and white computer printer + 3 sheets of paper
-a paper cutter
-scotch tape
-an iron
-a hot glue gun 
-the template provided (see below)

1. Cut the wood to size.  Add two holes for a hanging ribbon if desired, or you can add a sawtooth later in step 9. 

2. Paint the front and sides of the wood with white paint by using the wide sponge brush, and let dry. Add a second coat and let dry. 

3. If your wood is a soft wood, like pine, print this template (regular facing wording), making sure to select  in the printer set up under “Page Scaling” the option ”Tile all pages.” Trim the excess paper off the first and last sheets, tape the sheets together with scotch tape, then lay the words carefully where you want them on the wood (I put mine a little too low so there is a two inch gap above God!), tape securely, then trace the letters with a ballpoint pen to get the words transferred.  Need help?  See this website for tips on this lettering technique. 

4. If your wood is a hard wood, like mdf, which doesn't dent easily with a ballpoint pen, instead you will need to print this template (mirror image wording), making sure to select in the printer set up under “Page Scaling” the option ”Tile all pages.”  The words will print out backwards, as if you are looking into a mirror.  Trim the excess paper off the first and last sheet, tape all three sheets together with scotch tape, then lay it carefully in place over the wood (I put mine a little too low so there is a two inch gap above God!) and press down to get it to stick to the paint a little.  Holding the template securely in place with one hand, iron on the low setting by tracing each letter with the tip of the iron only, checking each letter as you go to see if it has transferred well enough to be useful to you (make sure there is no water in your iron!) If you are going to paint any words red or another lighter color besides dark blue or black, iron more lightly on those parts because otherwise it will be hard to cover up the black ink of the transfer.  If the paper starts to stick to the wood, cool the iron down, and be sure you are only using the tip of the iron.  Stuck paper can be removed by scratching it off with a clean, dry fingernail.  

No, this picture isn't backwards!  This is the mirror image template, taped together
Ironing the words...use only the tip or the iron, not like I did in this picture!
The transfer left on the wood
    Just in case you want to learn how to make a mirror image file, see this page here
    5. Paint in the letters with the blue and red paint, covering the transfer completely.  Go back and touch up the letters once they have dried to fill them in evenly.

  6. Touch up any areas on the white background that need it, with the white paint.  Let dry.  
  7. If desired, distress the edges and/or the whole thing with sand paper, an emery board, or an electric sander.
  8.   Hot glue the grosgrain ribbon across the top and bottom edges by wrapping it around the side edge and gluing it to the back.
  9.  Add the sawtooth hanger to the top center.  I glued it down with hot glue instead of nailing it on because I thought the nails it came with might poke through to the front. 
     There you have it! 

The fonts I used, just FYI:

        God- Palace Script MT
        America- Nueva std, and I made it into
               a banner shape in Photoshop
        My- Lucida Handwriting
        Home- Buttons & Patches
        Sweet- Vladimir script
        Home- Cutie Pop 

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