With all of my pantry obsessing of late, and my continuing avoidance of completing my income taxes, I finally got around to a project I’ve been thinking about for quite some time… a DIY wooden sign for above my pantry door.
I went to France years ago, and in my travels through different areas of the country there was one thing I was completely enamoured with…
more than the architecture and history and culture,
more than the scenery and picturesque towns.
It was the beckoning signs above the little shops that said “Patisserie”.
If you’re not familiar with “Patisserie” it means pastry shop and is more specialized that a “Boulangerie” – which is a bakery.
A pâtisserie is a type of French or Belgian bakery that specializes in pastries and sweets. In both countries, it is a legally controlled title that may only be used by bakeries that employ a licensed maître pâtissier (master pastry chef).
In France and Belgium, the pâtissier is a pastry chef who has completed a lengthy training process, typically an apprenticeship, and passed a written examination. Often found in partnership with a boulangerie (bakery), pâtisseries are a common sight in towns and villages in France and Belgium.
What does all this have to do with a DIY wooden sign?
Well, if you’re going to make a sign, you might as well make one that brings you joy right?
Start off by measuring your space – I knew I only had 9 inches between my transom and the ceiling so my sign had to fit within that area.
Once you’ve cut your wood down to size, you’ll need to stain it AND varnish/polyurethane it.
The reason for the varnish/poly is so that when you sand it down to create a rustic/distressed look, you don’t want the top layer of paint to mix with the stain. Adding a single coat of varnish/poly will keep the wood stain crisp and clean.
While your board is drying you’ll need to size out your letters. I have the luxury of owning a Silhouette machine so I was able to size each letter so that it would fit within an 8″ height. You can do this in word as well, and then print out your letters and trace them onto the wood using a pen and pressing through the paper to create an indent in the wood, or by chalking up the back of your paper and then lightly tracing the letters, which will leave the chalk outline on the board.
With the adhesive vinyl letters, I was able to just adhere them into place and then top with another coat of varnish/polyurethane. This second coating will stop any bleed through of the top coat of paint on your DIY wooden sign, so it’s important not to skip.
I’ve been having fun with my new Dewalt random-orbit sander lately and one of the things I found it did very easily was create angled edges. I decided my sign needed this extra detailing so I just ran the sander down each edge a couple of times and voila!
At this point you are ready to paint it; I went with white again because it was such a strong contrast to the dark wood stain. Two coats, with drying time in between and you’re set.
Carefully peel off your letters;
If any of the top coat of paint did sneak under your stickers, you can easily remove it with a gentle scrape of your nail. I had to clean up the P and A a bit in mine, but it came off very easily.
The next step is optional – your sign is looking pretty fantastic right now, so if you decide to leave it as-is you will be very happy. While I’m not a huge fan of “distressing” (who wants to put in a lot of work only to make it look like it needs to be refinished amIright?) I decided to rough up my edges just a tiny bit to replicate the feel of the signs I’d seen in France.
Just enough to say I tried it (and I’ll admit, it does add character).
My favourite technique for hanging things is to add two finishing nails (with narrow heads) to the back of pieces.
Doesn’t matter where, or what the spacing is, just tap two nails into the back of your sign so that they are solidly embedded, but not poking through the front.
Now hold your sign up to the wall with a level on top, make sure the bubble is centred and shove really hard.
The nails will puncture the drywall and your painting/ DIY wooden sign will never slip, tilt or fall.
I love it!
Now if only the pantry held the pastries I’ve made it accountable for…
Change it up and make your sign a “Do not enter” or a “Mercantile” or “General Store”.
Create one for the patio, or make one as a wedding and/or baby gift with the recipient’s name on it.
It’s such an easy project and the results are fantastic – if I wasn’t the one making them, I’d even suggest one for “Mom’s garden” as a Mother’s Day gift. (made out of cedar for outdoor longevity).
Have a great one!