well, the sign is finished and on the wall. it feels good. and to be honest, i absolutely love it. having a one-of-a-kind piece is pretty awesome to me. 

so as promised, below is a detailed tutorial on how everything came together. just a warning, this post is going to be a little long. there are a lot, i mean A LOT, of photos. so, i’m going to try and be as brief as possible with my wording. ready?

i started off with two 1x12x8s from the local hardware store. they were about $13 each.

other than some knots they were in pretty good shape. i wanted my wood a little weathered, so i got out some ‘tools of destruction’.

i pounded heavily with both sides of the hammer. sawed the edges. beat it with some chain. i sanded down most of the sharp corners.  (i ended up not really using the screw driver. ) it’s hard to tell in the photos below but you’ll see more of the ‘beaten look’ after the next step.

on pinterest i discovered you could age wood with steel wool and vinegar. after doing some research (it seems there are several ways to do this process) here what i came up with.

in two pans (don’t use good tupperware. oops!) i placed a piece of steel wool. to one added apple cider vinegar, the other balsamic vinegar. no specific amounts here.

 i waited about 30 minutes.  then, with rubber gloves, i used the soaked wool to scrub the wood. the picture on the right is the after.

 i then did the same with the balsamic and steel wool.

this is how the wood looked after about 15 – 20 minutes. 

you can see more of the grain and the markings i made with my tools of destruction are much more obvious.

here’s the wood completely dry. i was really pleased with the results. i will be doing this again for sure.

i’m assuming that you could take it even further if you let the steel wool soak longer. or do more applications.

the wood even took on a speckled look. a friend on facebook, after seeing these pictures, thought it actually was old wood.

then i joined together both pieces of wood, on the back, with joining strips. four of them. 

following that, i penciled on my design. i used a plate for the circle of the sun. the rays were just randomly placed. no measurements. i don’t do well with instructions and measurement when it comes to painting. and yes, i’m using a quilting ruler. 

i decided to paint my red outlines first. though, looking back, it may have been easier to put these in last. 

a sun! things are finally taking shape.

i then applied some blue painters tape to preserve the red lines. i had to paint over the red that the tape didn’t cover so that it wouldn’t show throw my other paint. this is when i realized it may have been better to paint the red last. oh well, lesson learned.

 i then picked a random collection of blues and yellows to fill in the rays of the sun.

i intentionally wasn’t perfect when i was painting, leaving some of my weather wood showing through.

i purposely avoided the nicks and dents i made earlier. i used cheap foam brushes to apply my paint.

another thing i hate about painting is cleaning up. when i was done, the brushes went in the trash. 

once everything was dry, who am i kidding… i have no patience, before everything was dry, i removed the tape to expose my beautiful red lines. perfect!

next i gave everything i quick sand and then applied a white wash. just a mix of water and white paint. i worked quickly and wiped the paint with an old towel as i went. this gave me a sun faded look.

i felt needed a few more distressed elements on the piece so i used a fork to create some worm/bug holes.

i then went over the whole piece with a dark wash, just like the white wash. for this i used burnt umber paint and water.

this darker color settled into all the distressed marks giving me a really aged and weathered look.

done! well, the background anyway. next, i needed to add the text.

i used a word processing program on my computer (iStudio) to pick fonts i liked. i then printed out a couple test pieces to get the size of the front right. the main font is haettenschweller and the script font is zapfino.

 once i had everything printed out, i cut and taped the pieces of paper together.

i then shaded in the back of the paper with the printed text. i used a pencil to color everything in.  personally, this works best for me. i’ve tried chalk (rubs off to easy) and carbon paper (turns your paint blue). this is time consuming and a pain-in-the-you-know-what, but it works.

once the back is shaded in, i flipped the paper over and positioned it onto the sign. i then trace the letters. this tracing transfers the shading you just did to the sign creating an outline for you to paint. make sense?

 then i painted! i do mix in a couple drops of water to my white paint for an easy and smooth application.

yes, i’m a lefty. any other lefties out there?!

i bought these paint brushes at wal-mart and have found a couple that work well for me. these i do wash and keep.

i gave all the letters two coats of paint with a very light sanding in between. then, i erased any visible pencil lines.

and that’s it! complete! ain’t she purdy?

i choose to not put any sort of top coat on the piece as it will be indoors.

to hang it, i drilled two small holes into the back of the wood. then i put two screws into the wall. i put the holes on the screws and the sign was securely hung! or so i hope.

like i said, i love unique, one-of-a-kind pieces and if this isn’t one of them, then i don’t know what is. the whole thing cost me under $35. i basically had to buy the wood, steel wool, joining strips and a couple brushes.

and the style, colors and sentiment are a perfect fit for the space.

and even though my head is way to big for this hat, i’m pretty darn pleased with my work.

i hope this little tutorial was helpful. let me know if you have questions.

do you think you’ll be making a sign of your own?

***I’m sorry, but do to a ridiculous amount of spam, I had to to off comments to this post. If you have a question or would like to comment, please email me. Thank you!

I’m linking this post up to this awesomeness:

I would be so honored and excited to be a Home Show Designers! 

Thanks to The Painted Home and the Philadelphia Home Show


  • Holly C. at

    I LOVE it, Michael!

    • Emily at

      just curious as to what type of paint you used… did you use regular house paint? thanks. it looks great!

      • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

        Hi Emily! I just used acrylic craft paint. It’s the paint you get in the little bottle at any craft store – even Walmart!

        xo Michael

  • debbie refresh restyle at

    You stuck a fork in it and it’s perfect! I love it so much!!! I need to make a sign!

  • Diane Cayton-Hakey at

    I would never make this because I’m not handy with tools, also, I’m lazy. But I LOVE IT!!

  • Julie at

    Michael, I love it! You did such a great job, not sure if mine would turn out that great but I may just try. Thank you for the tute!

  • Tanya at

    This looks great! Could you provide more detail on the part about “shading” the letters? Nice job!

  • Brenda Watts at

    great job, I LOVE it..the fork was very clever. Sometimes you can drop the wood on your gravel driveway etc, for some ‘antiquing’..step on it, move it over to another section, repeat..gives random dents of varying sizes.)) Love the cheeriness of the colors you used.

  • Shellie L at

    Love it!
    Everything you do blows me away.

  • Jennifer at

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Carrie Rosalind at

    I SO love this sign and I love how you put it together, but I don’t know if I’ll be making one anytime soon! Too much work! lol I’ll just admire yours…

  • Monica at

    Please come to my house and decorate the whole place. LOVE your work, it’s gorgeous!


  • Holly at

    SO, SO fabulous!

  • Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants at

    I love it Michael! And thanks for giving such a detailed tutorial! I don’t know if you have ever tried graphite paper, better than carbon, comes in white or black, very easy and not nearly as messy, give it a try sometime.

  • Ali Richardson at

    I have made a few signs in my day but NONE of them are as awesome as this one!!!! LOVE it!!!

  • Amber's Snippets of Design at

    I love it Michael…even more in your cute red and yellow room. What a fun, colorful, and inviting style you have. It turned out really great. I love to make signs and I will probably make one. I would like to make a sign with writing on it for my living room and even though it needs to be a different shape and style I will definitely use some of your techniques. Thank you!

  • Funky Junk Interiors at

    Oh my gosh… this is outstanding! And so so perfect in that spot! In that ROOM! I love that room… I love that SIGN! πŸ™‚

    Pinned and FBed and whatevered!


  • Fox Hollow Cottage at

    Your personality shines through in this post. The sign is fantastic.

    Your smile at the end?


    Will be sharing all over πŸ˜‰

  • Laina @ Vibrant Serenity at

    Love, love, LOVE it! I’m a lefty, and for some reason always had you pegged as one, too! Great job, Michael.

  • Mochaberry at

    This is so beautiful! Thank you for such a wonderful tutorial. I’ve been wanting to do something like this and just wasn’t sure I could pull it off. However, this post is a little like hand-holding for me to get me started, so now I’m thinking…YES I will!

  • COTTAG3 at

    I saw this pinned by FJI and had to come over and see it. It’s awesome! I love the colors, the words, the distressing ideas and everything about it. The tip on how to make wormholes was genius.

  • Jennifer Curtis at

    Aw, I love your sign! Donna, from Funky Junk shared it on her FB page and I just had to come see it. I’m a lefty too by the way. I really liked how you aged the wood. This is definitely giving me some ideas. πŸ™‚ Thank you!

  • Tam at

    This is amazing! So fabulous… when you commented about the viewers making their own sign, I was thinking YES I’d like to make one identical to yours! Great job!

  • ChRiS at

    fantastic love the sign and a great tutor

  • Patti at

    well done! Love this sign and this is a great tutorial – room looks lovely, too!

  • Megan at

    This is my first time on your blog and I adore your sign. I am your newest follower! Cannot wait until I have the time to poke around more

  • Monica at

    I already told you I love the sign, but I LOVE the sign and the room that you put it in! Love love love!
    I am the same way about instructions & measurements. I’d rather just eyeball it. And I use the same “pencil technique” to “trace” words. I do like the idea of adding a little water to the paint before painting letters though. I always glob it on too thick.
    If we ever move from this God forsaken land and into our own house, I am FOR SURE painting me a sign!

  • Kim @ NewlyWoodwards at

    You have way more patience than I do, friend. I’ve been thinking about making a worn sign for baby’s room, but I think my patience would be over by the time I did the red lines. πŸ˜‰

  • Letizia at

    This sign is so cool!! I have a question. Did your wood smell like vinegar & how long did you wait after the vinegar to paint?

  • ~ Laura at

    I found you through Fox Hollow Cottage and I’m so glad she shared you!! I LOVE the sign!!! I, too, am impatient and take tape off too soon…and I’m a lefty!!!

    I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while but have gotten stalled in my head…but I’m feeling braver having seen what you did!! Thank you!! πŸ™‚

  • TracyMB @ Crow's Feet Chic at

    WOW! This is fabulous (love that last photo) and you’ve gotta love a man that knows the value of a good quilting ruler!! Thanks for sharing this!! πŸ™‚

  • Gabby at

    Such inspiration! It’s perfect! I only had white vinegar on hand when I worked on the signs for our bedroom; instead, I mixed in a little bit of dark brown and black acrylic paint into some water, and I got a pretty good effect that way! Thanks for sharing this amazing tutorial!!!

    The…Late, Young Family

  • Sandy at

    Great tutorial! I’ve been wanting to make some signs and your blog gave me that extra motivation to do it. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jillian at

    I love it! Reading your blog always puts me in a good mood. You are such a creative spirit and funny to boot!

  • Sue at

    Just started following your blog – and LOVE it. Found you on Pinterest! Your sign is wonderful!!! πŸ™‚

  • Christa aka The BabbyMama at

    I am INCREDIBLY inspired right now! I’ve been kind of wanting to make my own sign for a while now. Yours is stunning!

  • Debbie Willson at

    My daughter just sent me the link to this and we love it! So now we are each going to make something similar, thanks for the tutorial! πŸ™‚

  • tamdoll at

    Just found your blot, love it! This is brilliant, I’m going to have to try and make one!

  • tamdoll at

    Just found your blot, love it! This is brilliant, I’m going to have to try and make one!

  • Robin and Pam at

    You have awesome sign making skills! LOVE the fork effect πŸ™‚

  • Wooden Signs at

    The tutorial is fantastic. Love your use of colors and of course I am partial to wooden signs.

  • Angie at

    You are awesomesauce. Just saying.

  • Le at


  • Jenny at

    Hi! This is my first visit to your blog. I just popped over from The Lettered Cottage. LOVE your sign! You did an awesome job, and I really appreciate all the details you documented. I feel like maybe I could make one now! Thanks! πŸ™‚

  • KellyH at

    Awesome! I must copy!!!

  • Jessica Turner at

    Love this! I might have to try it! We just started our own blog… come visit us at HAPPY HOME!

  • Mary at

    Awesome… so creative… and I love the fork idea!

  • Lily at

    It is snowing here today and decided this would be a good project to try… I am tackling this!!!!! I didn’t have balsamic vinegar so Im using soy sauce and my house smells like PF Changs now… which isn’t a bad thing! I can’t wait! I hope it look as good as yours!!!!

  • Liz at

    I love this and you have inspired me to give it a try! I am thinking of using this instead of a headboard in a guest bedroom.

  • Anonymous at

    LOVE it! i’ve been wanting to try this process after not finding the vinatge sign i want for our entry. thanks so much for sharing!

  • Colleen H. at

    Found this on Pinterest, ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS!! i loooove making one-of-a-kind pieces for rooms… its so much cheaper than finding art/decor and i can make it match, or not match, exactly how i want. This is so awesome, i cant wait to try it out for myself! thanks so much for the great detail and photos!!

  • The Italian Guy and I at

    Great Post Michael, I have used this method before making a hand painted border without a stencil. I used newsprint to transfer to the wall. Much cleaner than carbon paper. Use an area tightly packed with small print like the want ads. Much faster, especially if you have a lot of ground to cover. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  • MissyMack at

    Amazing job!! Thank you for your detailed descriptions on how to tackle it – I will definitely be wanting to try this now! Thanks!

  • Amy at

    Beautiful job! I love it! Thank you for sharing!

  • Bernadette @ B3HD at

    Stopped by from the Lettered Cottage to look at the unique curtain hanging rod and mouth fell open at how simple you made this sign painting look. Wanted to do a sign for a while now and might (just might) have the guts to do it now.

    Pinned this. One of your newest blog stalkers.

  • jhager0113 at

    LOVE this and plan on trying it. Because I’ve never done anything like it before, I’m not sure what kind of paint to use. Is there a specific kind?

  • Julie at

    Wow! That’s probably the coolest handmade sign I’ve seen online and it’s so sweet of you to create a tutorial. Thank you! (Love the colors!)

  • ~S~Barefoot&Busy at

    THANK YOU! This is going to be my next “sunny day” project, soon as I get my hands on some wood. Just me, a board, sweet sun tea, outside with the paint. yeahhhh buddy! =)

  • Lydia at

    Awesome job teaching us how to replicate your beautiful sign! I’m a lefty and love it!

  • Anonymous at

    great job!!!! this sign looks professional!!!!!
    you have inspired me to try and design a sign πŸ™‚
    thanks for your wonderful tutorial!!!

  • Anonymous at

    Love, love, love the sign. One option for shading the back of the paper is to use the wide contractor pencils from Lowes, Home Depot or any hardware store. The lead is maybe 3/8″ wide so it covers fairly quickly.

  • Yvette at

    That is great! I wish I had the patience to complete something like that! I love it!

  • Anonymous at

    yes i would love to make a sign of my own!! nd i am a lefty too!! we are pretty artsy people id say πŸ™‚ thanks for this great tutorial

  • Anonymous at

    Makes me happy – I WILL tackle this project one day πŸ™‚ Thanks for the idea & amazing instructions/photos!

  • srpprcrftr at

    Hey leftie, sounds like there are a few lefties out there. My husband is also. My youngest son is ambedextrous. My Mother and brother were also lefties. Out of 6 grandkids, 1 is ambedextrous like his Dad and one is a leftie.
    Anyway. just found your blog today and love love that sign.You’ve definitely inspired me to take it up again. We have some old pallets out in yard that I’ll start with since we don’t have money to buy lumber. Think there’s some across road at empty house too I might decide to look into. Oh boy here I go.
    We used to make smaller country signs in MT and KY. Sold alot in MT but KY havestrange habit. If they want something they want it for nothing and insult it and seller first. I used to stencil or hand print on the signs and put a strip of material to match the sign on the wire hanger. That’s probably old now so will find a new style.
    Great tutorial by the way. Thanks for sharing.

    of signs that I stenciled and always put a scrap of material on the hanger. They were country type signs for country decorating and were one of our best sellers. This was in MT and haven’t had the chance to do any stuff like that since, even in KY. In KY every craft show I went to people wanted everything for nothing after they insulted the piece and me. Must have been some kind of KY thing.

  • Brenda at

    great sign — thanks for the video — try using graphite paper – its not smudgy like carbon paper, basically like a pencil – works great for me … erase any lines before giving a sealer coat – or use chaco paper, which is water soluable and dissolves as you paint over it…

  • Amanda at

    LOVE! love. Definitely inspired me to try my *right* hand at it πŸ™‚

  • Wendy at

    Love love love it!! Amazing, and thank you so very much for the tutorial. I can’t wait to try this out myself. It turned out just beautiful!

  • catz at

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this Michael! Oh and did I happen to mention I LOVE this awesome, one of a kind sign? LOL

  • Beth at

    Yes I love it! Good job! And I am a lefty too!

  • Katie DeKoster at

    Hi Michael – This sign is hugely inspiring. Would you be willing to share the type of paint you used? Acrylic? Latex? Oil? THANK YOU!!

  • Anonymous at

    “srpprcrftr said…

    We used to make smaller country signs in MT and KY. Sold alot in MT but KY havestrange habit. If they want something they want it for nothing and insult it and seller first.

    In KY every craft show I went to people wanted everything for nothing after they insulted the piece and me. Must have been some kind of KY thing.”

    March 26, 2012 7:42 PM

    Wow…was that really necessary? Kind of condescending.

  • lindy at

    Excellent Job! I am a lefty too…well, both hands actually. I love the sign and am working on mine as I re-read how you did yours!

  • Erin at

    I absolutely love this piece. It’s very beautiful!

  • Anonymous at

    This is great. I paint pieces of wood and old canvases – usually things found in other peoples garages. Then hang or lean them into place…sometimes I use picture hooks, sometimes I take hooks off old frames and use those, I’ve even nailed through the whole thing. Love your art…combining both words and picture is great!!!
    Thanks for sharing – Mary

  • Anonymous at

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I absolutely LOVE it. And I am soo making this:)

  • Katie at

    this sign is gorgeous! thank you for sharing your techniques!!!

  • Elizabeth at

    I must make a version of this for my girls room! Thank you!!

  • Amber at

    Awesome! I LOVE that you didn’t use a Silhouette or anything else to make this “easy.” Though doing something by hand can be tedious, the end result speaks volumes! Great job. πŸ™‚

  • Crystelle at

    this is THE best! Thanks so much for giving us this awesome detailed tutorial! The sign turned out fabulous, as did the while room….!!!!

  • amy at

    This was terrific. Great details. I needed the info on how to get the lettering done. This is perfect. Thanks for sharing.

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  • Paulette at

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for sharing you tutorial for the adorable, fun, happy sign! It’s definitely inspiring me to get moving on some signage I’ve been planning for my home.
    I hope you don’t mind my asking, but what is that gorgeous yellow colour you have on your wall? I just love it!

    Keep up the great ideas!
    Hope to hear soon!


  • Diana at

    I love the sign, was wanting to make one do you know what size lettering you used

  • Kayla at

    This is exactly what I was looking for! Thanks! You’re amazing!

  • Marie@The Interior Frugalista at

    Hi Michael, love this sign and the message! Saw it featured at The Cottage Market this morning. Following on all your social media as of today!

  • Jennifer at

    Love this sign! What kind of paint do you use for painting and for lettering? I’m trying to start making signs for my own personal use and am trying to fugue it all out! Thanks!

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