Well, my littlest baby is rapidly approaching two.  TWO, people.  Which means it has been almost a full year since I posted about her first birthday party, and offered a tutorial on how I made this sign.  Oops.  Sorry it didn’t happen sooner, but better late then never I guess!

I first saw a sign similar to this on Etsy but it was overpriced like whoa.  I figured I should at least try my hand at a DIY version before even considering purchasing something similar.  Thankfully, this was actually really easy to do.  The only new item I needed was the piece of plywood.  Everything else we already had in the garage.  This meant my grand total for the project was $12.  Score!  I took a few pics of the process with my phone (some are blurry, sorry!) to document the process in case anyone was interested.  And boy, were you!  So many people have emailed me asking for the tutorial.

Now, first let me just say, I know there are many different ways to achieve this result.  In fact, I’ve recently seen some other tutorials floating around for similar signs.  However, those use decals and I didn’t want to spend money on that, or time waiting for one to be shipped to me.  I just made do with what we had around and it turned out exactly as I had hoped.  This method may not be for everyone, but it was perfect for me.

Okay, here’s what you need:

  • Piece of plywood (mine is 18 x 18″)
  • Base color and top color paints (I used sample sizes I already had on hand)
  • Paint brush
  • Pencil
  • Painter’s tape, preferably something semi-translucent
  • Exacto knife
  • Sand paper or power sander (optional)

First, paint your plywood a solid color – whatever you want the words to be.  I used white, obviously.  Depending on the way your text is oriented, it might look cool to use a few different colored stripes!

Then, draw out your text IN PENCIL.  I repeat – use pencil.  Do not be dumb like me and use a gel pen.  It smears, badly, and will necessitate many, many touch ups later.  Trust me.  Now, I did this free hand because I’ve been drawing bubble letters since all those notes we wrote in elementary school/middle school/high school.  (Side note: Do kids even write notes anymore?  Or do they just text?  Oh, note writing and folding may become a lost art.)  Anyway, if you aren’t comfortable free handing, maybe print out a template to use as a guide.  Or I suppose you could cut out and trace letters but if you’re going to all that trouble, pre-made decals are probably the way to go.

Cover your text over with painter’s tape.  I used this green kind (not sure of the exact brand) since it was slightly transparent and allowed me to see my letters.

Use an exacto knife to trim away the excess so only the letters are covered with the tape.

Finally, just paint over the entire thing with your top color, let dry, and carefully peel away the tape.  As long as you were smart and didn’t use gel pen, you probably won’t have much, if any, touch up work to do.  If you would like a more vintage look, you can sand the edges and lightly sand over the surface of the board with sand paper or a power sander.  I didn’t bother.

And that’s it!  Now you have a fun sign to serve as party decor, home decor, whatever you like!  I couldn’t bear to part with this one because of its sentimental value so it sat in our garage for a while.  I’ve since added mounts to the back and it is part of our wall decor in our newly redecorated playroom.

I hope this was helpful to the many people who have been requesting a tutorial.  It’s a fun and cheap project and I absolutely loved the result!


  • Jacinda

    Hey Annie,
    I’ve been reading and baking things from your blog for a while now. You are a huge inspiration for me. I’m currently in high school (Australia) and we still do write notes! But do you mean to say that you wrote all your notes in bubble writing?! That’s crazy! Thank you for doing what you do, you are awesome.

  • annieseats

    So glad to hear you still write notes! And no, I didn’t write entire notes in bubble writing – but we did spend an inordinate amount of time addressing them with fancy renditions of the recipient’s name. Man, we were cool.

  • branny

    As a high school teacher, I can assure you that the art of notewriting is alive and well. The only difference is the content of the notes. Holyhell our kids grow up tooooo fast.

  • Tasha Fontenot

    I LOVE the sign!!! And it is easier than I thought. I am wanting to do something like this for our 1950s home in the bathroom that has YELLOW tile! I am using the saying “You make me HAPPY when skies are gray”. I have gray accents.
    I am loving seeing this other side of you. Not that I do not adore all your cooking/kitchen FUN, but it is good to see your other talents.
    Happy Thursday Annie! :)

  • Emily Clark

    Thank you Annie- great project! And that’s so hilarious about note passing…I hope there’s still a fair amount of hand written notes exchanged between those “youngsters.” I never mastered bubble writing, but lots of curly-Qs were attempted!

    Also, I prepared the recipe you posted for “spicy shredded pork,” because it’s so delicious, and made your flour tortillas for the first time this past weekend. I shared the meal with someone who’s been under the weather, and they loved it too. Thank you for all the inspiration, in and out of the kitchen.

  • annieseats

    Oh, I can only imagine. I’m pretty terrified of my kids becoming teenagers.

  • Sally Anderson

    Thanks so much for sharing!!! I’m going to attempt to make this for my little ones 1st birthday in a couple of weeks. Wondering if you think spray paint would work just as well?

  • Caroline L.

    Too, too cute! Would love to have this as a project to occupy some free time & make me feel crafty! :)

  • I love this so much, I have been waiting for the tutorial! Thanks Annie. I recently bought my twins (one named Caroline as well) this shirt because we sing the sunshine song all.the.time. http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1225284/jumping-beans-hello-sunshine-tank-toddler.jsp It was just so happy I couldn’t resist.

  • marcie @ flavor the moments

    They grow up fast…too fast. When I look back at photos of my boys at that age I can’t believe they were ever those pint size little people! Enjoy these early years. Anyway, your sign is absolutely beautiful. The entire table looks so festive, and the food looks WOW.

  • Lizzi Stremke

    Your comment about writing notes in middle school and high school cracked me up. I did this too and had totally forgot about it until you mentioned it! It was the “cool thing” to have like a 10 pack of skinny markers to decorate all your notes with. I bet they all text now. I would have been better off with texting because I am not artistic at all! :)

  • SoDomesticated

    So adorable… love this diy! Thank you : )

  • annieseats

    I try to limit my use of aerosols, so I haven’t worked with spray paint before. Also for this application, I tend to prefer the texture that brushstrokes add. But I assume you could use spray paint – I’m just not sure.

  • Cerissa

    Thanks, Annie! Why didn’t I think of painter’s tape? I mean, it only makes total sense! I’m so glad you finally posted this…I can’t tell you how many times I was close to buying expensive signs from Etsy! ;) Don’t get me wrong, those signs are great, but I think that the sentimental value and satisfaction from making something yourself is something you just can’t buy.

  • Steph in Lex

    My boy is actually extremely close in age (within a couple of weeks, I believe) to your girl, so he too is approaching his second birthday! It completely blows my mind.

  • Sally Anderson

    We made this sign for my daughters birthday and it turned out great!!! Thanks so much for your tutorial!!

  • Shelly

    I actually made this for my daughters baby shower…..but I cheated! I found someone on etsy who made me a vinyl cling that I put on a board that I painted yellow. I only felt a little guilty, but……I’m over it!!!