Right now, everyone is obsessing over the show Fixer Upper and everything that Joanna Gaines touches. And I’m with you! She’s introduced us all to the wonders of farmhouse style, which features lots of rustic, antique pieces — and a lot of times, big ol signs that were once hanging in storefronts of the cutest little markets. Therefore, I was inspired! I decided to create my own DIY Farmhouse Market Sign after seeing lots of similar pieces in her designs and at the Magnolia Market.
I’ve never made a sign before, so I put this project off for awhile. But, I was surprised at how easy it was! From picking out the board to hanging the finished product on the wall, the entire project only took about two hours.
Tools & Supplies:
White Chalk Paint
Large Paint Brush
Stencil – Use my stencil or create your own
French Cleat Wall Hangers
The most important part of this project is finding the right piece of wood. Luckily, I had access to some old planks that were left in my detached garage from the previous owners that I picked through.
Just like in my Chalkboard Font Tutorial, I made my lettering using adobe illustrator and printed it on a large plotter. If you want a sign just like mine, you can use my Market Fresh Produce stencil. Mine is set up to fit nicely on an 8×21″ surface, but it can be easily resized in your print settings.
First things first, I decided where exactly on this board I wanted the stencil to be. I just laid it out and picked which end of the board would work best and give the best look after distressing with a sander. One end had this real large crack down the center and I loved the idea of how much character that would add. I got all that planned and then cut the board down to a good length.
Then, I used an xacto knife to cut out my stencil. I didn’t save the hollow parts of my letters such as the R, P or D, I decided just to throw mine away and free-hand the letters with paint later on. But if you recreate this and want things to be just like the stencil, make sure to save them!
Also, remember to have something like a cutting mat to protect the surface you’re cutting on! My favorite ever cutting mat is this one from amazon.
Once I had my finished stencil I could paint the background of the board white. I used a dry-brush method with chalk paint to give it this nice, worn look.
This was my first time using chalk paint. (Crazy, I know. I’m late to the game) But I was super impressed at how easy it is to achieve a rustic look with it.
I feel like it goes on much thicker than normal acrylic paint and I love the matte finish. I just bought the color White from Waverly which I got from Walmart for like $4. They also offered a cream color, but I’m glad I went with the white because it isn’t a stark, cold white. It’s the perfect warm white.
It only took one coat of this before I could tape my stencil down. I only taped the corners because I knew I’d have to hold down all the smaller pieces with my hand as I went. There’s no use in trying to tape down every little bit.
For stenciling projects, I always prefer to use a foam brush. Doing this helps avoid bleeding underneath the stencil. I just dabbed my brush into the wood grain while holding down the stencil. A dry brush always works better than an overly saturated brush, also.
I went ahead and took off the stencil right after I finished painting, no need to wait for it to dry.
At this point, I was so excited! It looks great, but you can see that there is still some areas where the black paint bleed underneath the stencil and the letters needed touched up a little. Also, the inside parts of the A, R, D, etc were all black and needed to be defined. Here’s the before:
And here’s after a little fixing:
Lastly, I went back in with my acrylic black paint and free-handed a border and filled in all the sides. It might have been easier to tape this off with some painters tape, but I’m lazy and didn’t want to run back downstairs to get it haha.
Once it was dry, I could start going at it with my Ryobi hand sander. And let me just say… can we take a minute to appreciate Ryobi products? This isn’t a sponsored post, but as my Ryobi collection grows, I become more and more obsessed. I’ve now got a small wall of 18v and 40v batteries charging with at least 10 different Ryobi tools. I never thought that at 21 I would be the type of person to get this excited over power tools, but here I am. I can’t wait to trade out my gas mower for their 40v battery one. Ugh, the dream…
Alright, ANYWAYS… I focused most of the sanding on the corners and edges since that is where the most damage would be on an actual vintage sign. I did this until you could see the natural wood color. I also gave a reaaal light sanding to the front surface of the sign to roughen up the letters a bit so some white would show through.
Once that’s all done, I vacuumed up and the sign was ready for its french cleat hanging kit! I used two 2″ cleats since the sign is pretty small. I used my level as a guide to get an even distance between the cleats on the sign as well as the wall where it would be hung.
My boyfriend was gone and I hung it myself, so I wasn’t able to get any pictures of the hanging process. But the cleats are pretty simple. Two cleats match up, the one of the sign and the one on the wall. You attach them so that the overhang “lip” hooks right into the opposite “lip” on the other cleat.
I attached my two cleats to the back of the sign and two to the wall using anchors. Made sure everything was even, and… VOILA! A beautifully beaten up sign that looks amazing hanging above my farmhouse style calendar in my kitchen.
I absolutely adore it! This was my first attempt at making a sign, and I am in love! I am most definitely going to be making another sign for my Fourth of July front porch and probably every holiday after that. I also have seen some adorable quilt square signs that I’m probably adding to my to-do list.
Are you as obsessed with farmhouse decor as I am? I tend to lean more toward the simpler pieces that aren’t as rustic. But having pieces like this that are super chippy and old looking really make a statement.