I've been working on my office makeover for what seems like forever! Finally, I'm nearing the end of the process trying to determine my wall art. I knew I wanted a simple, rustic, wood sign for above my desk with an inspiring quote that incorporated my calligraphy. Picking the right quote was incredibly difficult for me, especially because I can be so indecisive and I changed my mind at least three times haha!
I decided on the quote "Create the things you wish existed," although I'm not sure of the source of it. I liked this quote because it can relate to all things creative/art/DIY or it can be applied to really any goals in life you wish to achieve!
Note: If you'd like to purchase this sign instead of DIYing it, we have some available for sale in the shop here!
This building project doesn't involve too many tools and it can be done with just a hammer and finishing nails, but I of course used my favorite brad nailer! Or if you really like the calligraphy quote design and don't want to DIY the wood sign, I've included a free printable art print of the design below:
Here are the supplies and steps on how to build and how to paint this DIY wood sign with the calligraphy quote:
- 1/2" or 3/4" thick plywood panel at 2ft x 2ft
- (2) 1x2 @ 8ft.
- 1 1/4" brad nails or finish nails
- Paint for the the sign background (latex, chalk paint, any kind you want!)
- Paint for the lettering (any kind, I used acrylic craft paint)
- Paint roller and small paint brush (for lettering)
- Wood Stain
Note, this post contains some affiliate links. For more information see my disclosures here.
1. Cut your 1x2s to the following sizes: Two pieces @ 24" and Two pieces at 25 1/2" OR if you have a custom size sign do two at the exact length of the top and bottom sides and two at 1 1/2" plus the length of the left and right sides.
2. Stain all sides (except the back), of your 1x2 frame pieces. For tips on how to stain wood for a beautiful finish, check out my tutorial here. Then, use a paint roller and paint the front side of your 2ft x 2ft plywood piece.
3. Now it's time to attach the framing to the sign! There are two simple ways you can do this. You can flip the sign over and lay your frame pieces against it, so everything is flat on your surface (shown in the first photo below). Or you can put some scrap 1x thick wood under your sign, leave it face up, and line up your frame pieces (middle photo below). I chose to do the second method so I could see exactly how my frame pieces were going to look when attached. Line up one of your shorter frame pieces on the bottom of the sign (use clamps if desired, it does make it easier).
4. Use a brad nailer or hammer and attach frame to sign with brad nails or finish nails. Repeat for the top frame piece on the top of the sign. You can use extra nails on the top and bottom pieces since they won't really show when hung on the wall.
5. After your top and bottom frame pieces are attached, repeat steps 3 and 4 for the left and right side frame pieces to complete your sign build!
6. Time for the lettering! There are many ways to transfer a print design on paper to a wood sign. And if you have a favorite way I'd love to hear in the comments! I'm going to share two methods here.
The first method is what I used, where I printed the calligraphy quote out with my vinyl machine as a vinyl decal and used it as a stencil (shown in below three photos). Then, I painted two coats of black acrylic paint with a small, art, paint brush, making sure I didn't put the paint on too heavy to prevent it from seeping under the vinyl. So, if you have a Cricut, Silhouette Cameo, or other vinyl machine and know how to make decals, this is a good method. A free printable for tracing the design is available below! Also, I recommend using Oracal 631 Vinyl, it's a high quality indoor vinyl and removes easily and cleanly from the sign.
If you don't have a vinyl cutting machine, the second method works just as good! Have the design enlarged at your local copy store, I think Staples engineering 24" x 36" prints for $3.59 work especially great for this project. And I've included a free, 24" x 36" download of the design (in addition to the 8x10 printable) below which you can use! Then, once you have the enlarged print, use the pencil tracing method. Proceed with painting in your letters after you have the design outline on your wood.
Also, although I used a small paint brush for filling in the letters, a paint pen/marker may work really well too!
Once you've painted on your letters, your DIY wood sign with calligraphy quote is complete!