Monday, November 4, 2013

Merry & Bright Wooden Vintage Christmas Sign

I had so much fun this weekend in my workshop.  My Carvewright and I had a huge love hate relationship and I probably talked more directly to a machine than I have ever done so in my life.  Let me explain.  Usually when I create, I am the creative one.  I come up with the design, I program the machine on the computer and in the end I paint, sand, and usually finish it all too.  The one part I usually get help with is the actual use of the Carvewright CNC router machine.  My husband is always so willing to help and when he helps, he just makes it happen.  So I just know he will fix anything that might go wrong with the machine.  And with this particular machine, boy have we had a few issues.  SO when I knew he was going to be gone for at least a week maybe two, I asked him for a quick Carvewright 101 lesson…knowing it can't be that hard.  I hand carve with a router all by myself.  But my subconscious all weekend worried about breaking this expensive machine.  Short story is that I didn't break it AND I created 6 new projects that I can't wait to share with you guys.  The first being this one, Merry & Bright Vintage Christmas Sign.
This project was fun and was similar to one I have done before as far as the finishing goes.  The first time I finished something like this, it was due to trying something that I didn't like and so I continued on until I loved it.  This time I knew what my finished project would look like, but as you will see in the photos there are many steps to getting to this finished vintage look.  
Here are the step to step pictures of how I created this fun vintage looking Christmas sign.  First thing I did was create the design in our Carvewright software.  Then I had our Carvewright CNC router carve the design for me.  It comes out rough like you see below.  
UPDATE:  If you want to make the same sign without carving, here is the pattern I used.  Just enlarge and letter onto your board and hand paint.  If you want to pull this up on your own program it is "Curlz" font.  (An easy way to transfer your letters is to use carbon paper under your design and just trace it onto your board. Example HERE!)

 Then I just take 80 grit sandpaper and sand the top of the sign to smooth out all the rough edges.  
 Once it is completely smooth, then I take both a dust cloth and compressed air to get all the debris out of the carved areas.
Next step I love, because it is sloppy painting.  Basically it is just getting paint into the carved lines and I don't really care what I get on the top of the board, because when the paint totally dries then I just sand the top and remove any excess paint.  Very easy way to do this step. 
 Once it was completely dry I then used 80 grit sandpaper again to take off the excess navy blue paint.  
 Next step was to then paint inside the letters.  

 Next was to add the circles to the sign.  I drew them on with a pencil using a circle stencil.  Then marked them as to which color to paint and then painted.  
 In the photo below the circles are all done. 

I then outlined each circle with navy blue as well.  Next I painted the rest of the sign with a brown paint.  
 Then on top of the brown I added white paint.  This took about two coats to smooth out and cover.  
 Once all the paint is dry, then I began to stain.  I stained it with Antique Chestnut.  
 Making sure that I cover it completely with stain.
I know, I know at so many stages on this project I could have just stopped and called it a sign.  But I really like the finished project look, so onward we go.  
 Once I got it completely covered, then it was time to wipe off all the excess stain.  
 It leaves it with a light brown look.  You will find at this stage it will show all brush marks that you may have not seen before. 
 This photo below shows better how the brush marks really show up with the stain, but that is OK, we will take care of that on the next step.  Let the stain now completely dry.  I even let mine dry overnight just to be sure.
Next step was to go back to my sander this time with 220 grit sandpaper and carefully sand down till you get just the look you want.  The more you take off the more dark brown paint that will come through.  I liked it just coming thru in spots, so I stopped with just a few minutes of sanding.  
This is the finished product.  And once I was done sanding I wiped it good with a tack cloth and put a quick clear coat over the entire sign to just bring up a shine.  I did not use a gloss clear, just satin so that it wasn't too shiny.  
This was such a fun project to make.  And this was just the beginning of many other fun wood projects that are all in various stages of almost done in my wood shop right now.  I can't wait to share more with you.  Please come back and see more again.  Also I have an exciting announcement in the next few days.  You won't want to miss it.  If you liked this project check out some of our others, like this Give Thanks sign too.  

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  1. Pam, I love your sign it's so festive and happy. Can I make one like that by hand and if so which tools? It would make a great gift!

    1. Wendy….ABSOLUTELY! I even just updated the page for you so that it now has the font and the design so if you want to just print and transfer onto wood and hand paint you can without carving. I recommend using the Sharpie paint pens to outline if you are going to hand paint without carving to be able to get the straight lines needed for outlines. Michaels has the oil Sharpie paint pens great for wood. Also Home Depot sells pine that is 24" x 6" x .5" without having to cut (usually)…if they don't have that size ask someone in that department and they will probably cut a piece that is 48" x 6" x .5" in half for you. Hope all this helps. If you do make one….please share!!! Would LOVE to see it. Pam :)

    2. Thank you for adding all of this... and taking the time to make sure I got the response, really that was just so-so nice :) I am going to make one of these, maybe a few for gifts! Thanks for sharing the fonts and the tips! I just bought graphite paper too. I'll send you a pic when I finish. It may be a few weeks before Christmas by the time I get it done but I'll share. -Thank you again & have a great week!

  2. This sign looks fantastic and I love the advice to Wendi about using oil paint pens instead of carving, that may be something I can handle. Thanks so much for sharing this project at the Krafty Inspiration Thursday Link Party, you have been chosen as one of the top 5 featured posts at today’s party.
    Have a lovely day!
    Maria @ Krafty Cards etc.