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!