DIY Reclaimed Wood Sign

Make a simple, industrial-looking sign using reclaimed wood, stencils, and some black & white paint. But first, coffee.


So I was at a cute little cafe, Miss Marie’s in Rosanna, and I saw this ‘Specials’ sign. The place is decked out super cute- kind of a modern industrial kind of way.

I did what lots of artists do and took (stole) this idea as my inspiration to make it my own.
My hubs was in charge of cutting some spare decking and wood that we had in our backyard into even-ish little rectangles I could use for my lettering. If you don't have a handy assistant who knows how to wield a saw, use a length of wood instead.

I laid out the different blocks to spell out “But first, Coffee,” because <3 coffee. Laying out the different colored chunks I could easily spread out the different greyish ones and the warmer colored ones- spreading them out in a way that draws the eye around (I’m always working on composition.)
Get some Stencils
Next came the easy part- not! I already had black and white acrylic paint and brushes- just needed some letter stencils. I dragged my daughter to three different stores before I found them. Spotlight and Bunnings don’t carry them and I eventually settled on cardboard letter cut outs I found at Lincraft. Not ideal but I was too impatient to go online and order some.
Side note: it’s one thing that constantly exasperates me about shopping in Australia. I never feel like I know where to look when I’m looking for something. One would think a craft store and a hardware store were logical places to start! Anyhow, I love living here but I can’t stand being ‘shopping-clueless.’
So with these cut out ‘stencils’- my painting time and precision got longer and tougher. I had to trace all my letters and painstakingly hand-paint each one (I’m not the most patient person so I had to take little breaks). 
I wanted to use a mix of black, white, and ‘wood’ for the backgrounds and letters. After three hours I was extremely pleased with the results.

I started out matching up the colors and letters randomly and it got to the point where I realised I needed to lay everything out and decide exactly what colors I wanted to fill in the gaps. Usually, my projects involve more of a random process full of ‘happy accidents’ however in this case planning was necessary.

You can line the blocks up on a shelf or mantel or fix them to a long strip of wood with wood glue or nails. We haven’t decided where this one will go in our house so the letters will likely remain loose for the time being.
What you Need:
14 wood blocks or panels cut to a similar size
Black and white acrylic paint
Brushes- any size you feel comfortable using (mine were pretty small)
Alphabet stencils

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Dawn Rieniets is both a visual artist and brand copywriter. She uses her MA in English, journalism and sales background to craft engaging brand identity copy for small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) globally.

Dawn exhibits artwork independently and with groups; Thou Art Mum and Melbourne and Victorian Artists (MAVA). In her online store, you can find original pieces, wall art prints, and other home decor. A few times per year she accepted personalised and sentimental art commissions for clients.

Dawn creates out of her home studio in Wurundjeri country, the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne.
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