DIY Stenciled Wedding Signs

This weekend, Jason had to go help a friend move, so I was left to my own devices and decided that it was time to get some of these DIY wedding projects on the road.  I have a pretty specific image of what my wedding is going to look like (imagine: wide expanses of open fields, country antiques and bouquets of wildflowers).  I’m even toying with the idea of inviting all of my friends with little girls to dress them in white so they can tumble down the isle as impromptu flower girls (if they are so inclined) ~ nothing expensive or crazy or planned, just a small gaggle of girls (ages 2 – 7) making it down the isle to sit on a blanket and color while the festivities are taking place.

That said, I wanted to start with something easy.  I’ve had an image in my mind for a while.  Since we live in the country, I intend to have our guests park along our dirt road (there’s a half mile of it, uninhabited up past the house and a quarter before you get to the house), so when they approach the house, the driveway is open but for a refinished parlor stove (see Wednesday’s post!), blooming with Million Bells, and a tall sign post directing them to the ceremony, reception, etc…

I looked everywhere at signs (you can evidence of this over on Pinterest), but I finally settled on simple black and white (nature will be providing most of the color).  On Thursday morning, I went to Lowe’s and stocked up on 3/4” x 2”x24” pine craft boards (for under $2 each).  Now, this is a place where you could exercise thrift; however, I really wanted to start these this weekend and I didn’t want to spend hours cleaning up old barn wood.  And while some people make beautiful, rustic barn wood signs for their weddings; I wasn’t really looking for “rustic” in this part of my decor.

If you want to make your own, they are super easy!

Large Sheets of Paper for Planning
Ruler (I used a quilting ruler from my rotary cutting board)
Wood (cut to desired lengths) – For these signs, I used five pieces of 3/4”x2”x24” Pine
White, Satin Paint (I used a water-based paint)
Regular, Flat Paintbrush
Letter Stencils
Black Acrylic Paint (For Letters)
Stenciling Brushes (I ended up using the smallest in my package)
Masking Tape

Planning Steps:

  1. Using your paper, letter stencils, ruler and pencil, block out the size of your signs.  Then make templates for the words you would like to use (I used these for orientation on the boards, NOT the actual stenciling).  While, initially, I thought this step was just for practice and something I’d only do for the first word or two – it allowed me to center the words on larger signs and recognize places where I had to be careful with spacing, lest I run out of room on the boards!
  2. Sand off the edges of your boards, rounding them.  For me, this was just a personal preference.  The boards, themselves, looked so sharply square that they lacked a handmade look.  I first used rough sandpaper, then a smoother sandpaper, for a soft, stain-y finish.  Later on, I found Jason’s Dremel tool with sandpaper attachment and sped up the process a bit (honestly, I think this tool might be my best friend during my DIY projects over the next few months!
  3. Next, I painted the boards with a satin white, water-based paint.  I chose to go with satin because I wanted a bit of gloss but not so much to cause glare in the sun.
  4. It took three coats to properly cover the boards, but  I found that the paint dried so quickly that by the time I got to my last piece, I could start on the first piece again (this step took about an hour).

Stenciling the Signs:

  1. In order to get the signs just-so, I drew a thin line with a pencil and my quilting ruler 1/4” up from the bottom of the board, then traced each letter on with pencil.  This gave me an opportunity to see where everything was before I began to work with the paint.  Before I painted, I removed the line underneath the letters with an eraser.
  2. When I finished this step on all five signs, I covered my coffee table in newspaper and laid out each sign.
  3. Since my stencils were of individual letters, and not complete words, I applied the stencils to the signs letter-by-letter, using masking tape to hold them in place and giving each letter  space to dry to ensure that nothing bled over (Imagine the word: LOVE ~ I would place the L & V first, stencil them, let them dry, then place the O & E).  As such, working on five signs at once gave each letter time to dry, since they required at least two coats of paint, applied with proper stenciling technique.  The hearts required four coats of paint and touch-up with a detailing brush because of their size).
  4. Proper stenciling technique requires you to dip your stenciling brush (with its flat, round brush) in the paint, then to scrub most of the paint off onto a  piece of paper or paper towel before applying the almost-dry brush to your stenciling surface, which allows a more uniform coat of paint without the risk of “bleeding” onto your other surface color.  Using an acrylic top color helps because acrylics dry quickly.
  5. Once the signs were dry, I touched up any mis-steps with the white paint.

Voila!  My first five signs!

After finishing these, I decided to add eight more signs (at only the cost of the wood, since I already had the paint.  My total cost per sign came out to about $3, and I’m super excited to someday be able to hang the Jason & Jessica sign above one of our wedding portraits.


4 thoughts on “DIY Stenciled Wedding Signs

  1. Amazing! I’m planning my wedding too (in July) so am doing a lot of DIY as well to save costs and coz it’s fun. looking fwd to reading more about your DIY efforts 😀

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