{How to} DIY a painted wooden sign, for free.

See how I did that? I got all those fancy keywords into the title so I can get right to business with you here.

How to make a sign

Our porch couch is very dirty, because it’s a couch … on a porch. Say it with me: dirt happens.

You’ll need:

How to make a sign

Wood (we’ll talk about this)
Brush (or your finger, let’s be honest)
Fine sand paper

This started a few days ago when I saw a few scrap pieces of wood in the garage and like almost everything I find in this house – whoever left these treasures behind feels like they’ve been spying on me and my heart for a while. Like while they were preparing to sell this house, how ever long it took them, I was quietly praying for this exact home.

Originally I wanted to make a sign that read “be a leader” – this is something my brother says to each of his kids every single morning as he drops them off for school. It’s something I’ve started saying to my own kids while I drop them off, or at the breakfast table as we’re preparing for the day.

I love the phrase because of where I first heard it and the conversation that followed with my brother about raising leaders in our kids. That’s why I wanted it on a sign. The constant reminder to be a leader. Take the lead, demonstrate leadership. Don’t do what everyone else is doing, just because they’re doing it. It’s ok to be forge the path. It goes hand in hand with being kind. To lead you need to be “other-minded” as what you accomplish affects many other people. Be the face of change. Be a leader.

But I started brainstorming other ideas as well (and second guessing myself) and posed the question on facebook – the feedback was mostly for “Something great here” and Donielle made a parallel line to this phrase that I hadn’t even thought of, she said: I think it fits not only you and your home, but the feeling of a porch. šŸ™‚.

I loved how she embodied our porch and our hopes and wrapped it up for me to see. That in this house, from this porch, we believe in Something Great Here. In greatness. That we have it in us and to share.

So, I gathered my supplies and painted the sign. Justlikethat. It’s not hard, you guys. It’s ok if your handwriting isn’t Pottery Barn or that you don’t have a stencil to guide you. Character wasn’t discovered in a dictionary or etiquette guide, it surely wasn’t found between the binding of a magazine. Let’s just do this.

How to make a sign

I penciled out the phrase so I could visualize the size of the letters needed to fill my board.

Then I sanded it down lightly – I wanted to leave some of the dirt and sharp edges because I wanted the sign to be weathered, even if I had just painted it:

How to make a sign

That’s all!

If you don’t have weather barn wood hanging out in your garage you can find something free and similar in a wood pallet on the side of the road. Often you can find it behind warehouses or rural back yards at a garage sale. Just ask. Do you have any scrap wood you’re throwing away? I just need one plank.

The paint I had on hand – it’s a sampler from Menards. But your neighbor probably has 4 or 5 cans of paint in their basement. All you need is 1/2 a cup. Be spontaneous in your color choice. I almost painted it the same green as the snack bar.

The brush I used was a 2 inch edging brush, I’m pretty sure. But I just used the tip. Your finger might work too. If you DO have a need to use a stencil: you can spray paint.

After it dries and before I hang it I’ll probably run the sand paper over it one more time. To make it look like the phrase is IN the wood … and I just had to bring it out.

There you go! Now make a sign, and no matter what it says, it should speak to you.

How to make a sign

lets hang out


I’m ready for you.

Porch revealed.

I spent a few days turning this:

Valentines Loot

into this:


And I was totally inspired by this via Pinterest.

This was a very simple project and cheap too (who’s surprised?) I had to invest in a power sander ($50) and I bought the primer and paint ($40), as well as the mini fridge ($50) off craigslist. So my investment into this project rang up at roughly $140. According to Pottery Barn I just saved over $600 bucks.

Hells yeah.

Here’s how it went down.

Power tools are so sexy.

I took the drawers (there were 3) out, and the cupboard doors off. Sanded and then I sanded some more. I also sanded. I spent some time sanding then I sanded, while that was happening I was sanding the dresser. Then I sanded.

So, I sanded it down. Then I started taking it apart. Everything below the two top drawers had to come out and be rebuilt or scrapped:

What kind of saw do I need to cut through metal? (nails) I have a straight saw. Good?

I got lucky and was able to shimmy it apart (I started with a straight saw, fuck yeah.) and dropped the bottom down to … the new bottom.


(That small piece still attached to the backing where the “bottom” first lived? I shimmied him out too. What with 9 nails holding that thing in? This sucker was not going anywhere without a little fight. I won.)

It was time to prime the snack bar so of course I prepped the area handed each of my kids and the neighbor kid a brush and said – go get em.


Fun for everyone!


Once that dried I applied 2 coats of Tequila Lime that same night.

Opinions please. #nofilter

But in the morning I realized how awesome an idea it was to paint while it was dark outside:


So I applied a third, and final, coat.


Let it dry and then got to work.



Let’s pick up the fridge! And then … maybe over there?


Nope. Over there:

Porch revealed.

Aside from the supplies already mentioned the only thing I bought to complete this room were the yellow scoop chairs for $5 each while thrifting.

Porch revealed.

Everything else we already owned.

Porch revealed.

Porch revealed.

Porch revealed.

Porch revealed.

mini fridge

bug off

So in conclusion: you’re invited.