This DIY rustic light-up Christmas sign is sure to bring a beautiful radiance to any room you put it in! I found these light-up signs in the unfinished wood section at Hobby Lobby back in August or September. I thought it would make the perfect backdrop for a sign featuring the line, “O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining,” from the famous Christmas hymn! I snagged one up for myself and couldn’t wait to create a tutorial for you on how to make one! Create one for yourself or as a gift. I love decorating with beautiful and meaningful pieces, and this one definitely makes the list.
Let’s get started! I forgot to include a photo of all the materials, but you don’t need too much to make this beautiful sign.
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Here’s what you need:
- A wooden-light up sign from Hobby Lobby (These finally started going on sale every once in a while! They used to never go on sale!)
- Painters tape (any width will do!)
- Wood stain (this is what I used and would definitely recommend, but you can use any wood stain)
- Sponge/rag & brushes to apply stain
- White acrylic paint (if you want to do a dry brush effect)
- Old paintbrush (to do the dry brush effect)
- Lettering printed out on 2 8.5″ x 11″ papers (you can download the exact document I used for the lettering on this sign from my Resource Library)
- Scotch Tape to tape the papers with the lettering on them together
- Piece of white chalk
- White acrylic paint & thin paintbrush, paint pen, or chalk pen to paint on the lettering (this is what I used to paint on the lettering and I LOVED it – it worked so smoothly and easily)
- 2 AA batteries to light up the sign
The sign takes 2 AA batteries. I love that it glows a more yellow light than a bluish light – I wouldn’t have gotten it if the light shined with a bluish tint.
Begin by taping off the sides behind the slats. You don’t have to do this, but it’ll make your paint job look a little neater.
Grab your stain and begin painting. I used this water-based gel stain, but you can use whatever wood stain you want. The gel stain requires me to use a sock or a rag to apply it, but traditional wood stain is much more runny and can be applied with a brush. I’d recommend the gel stain for a couple of reasons: 1) It’s much easier to clean up than oil-based wood stains (it’s a lot easier to clean off of your hands), and 2) It’s much easier to wipe off of the little lights on the sign. After I applied the stain to the wood (see pics below), I could easily go back and wipe off the lights and the stain came right off. So, all in all, any wood stain is fine, but the water-based gel stain was just so easy!
I began applying the stain evenly to all of the slats. I didn’t worry about protecting the lights. The stain goes on thin enough that it won’t affect the lights to get a little bit of brown on them. I wiped them off a little with the sock after applying the stain in those areas.
I needed to use a paintbrush to get between the slats. This took a little while, but it was easier than I thought it’d be to get good coverage.
Let the front dry and then turn it over and work on the back. Make sure you’re constantly checking the entire piece so that stain doesn’t run – I was wiping mine down pretty regularly so that stain didn’t collect in areas and look uneven.
I took an older paintbrush and did a white dry brush to make it look a little more rustic. You can choose to do this or not, but I like the way it turned out!
Get your papers with the lettering and tape them together. I designed my lettering on Adobe Illustrator in an 8.5″ x 22″ document and then I printed out the design on two separate sheets of printer paper. If you want to download the exact document I used, you can snag it from my Resource Library!
After you tape them together, turn the lettering over and chalk up the back with some regular white chalk.
Line up the papers onto the sign where you want the lettering to appear, and then secure each end with some painter’s tape.
Use a pencil and begin to press down and color in the letters. You want to press down hard enough that you’ll get an impression of chalk on the wood.
You definitely want to use a pencil for this – because of the slats and because of the lights poking up, you’re probably going to poke through the paper multiple times when you do this part. That’s ok! The pencil marks won’t show up much when you do accidentally poke holes in the paper.
Once you’ve colored in all of the lettering, remove the paper and see the chalk on the wood! Easy to trace! Don’t throw the paper with the lettering away just yet – you’ll probably need it as a guide when you’re painting in the chalked letters. Some of the letters didn’t transfer perfectly because of the slats, so I just looked at the paper for guidance on how to complete those letters in uniform with the others.
While you can use regular white acrylic paint and a thin paint brush, I dug through my paint makers and found this one and it worked BEAUTIFULLY. It was so easy to use, didn’t cause a mess, and it took me hardly any time to paint in the letters because it went on so smoothly. I got this Bistro Chalk Marker at Hobby Lobby for another project I was working on, and I’m so thankful I had it on hand for this!
Color in all of the lettering and then let it dry before you clean up the excess chalk.
Take a slightly damp cloth and gently pat down on the sign to pick up the excess chalk. This took me all of about 15 seconds to do.
Put in your 2 batteries, turn the sign on, and admire your work! I love the way this turned out!
Beautiful addition to any Christmas decor, and I love that you can easily dress up the sign by setting it next to some lovely Christmas embellishments!
Merry Christmas & happy crafting! Hope this piece blesses your home and reminds you of the beauty and simplicity of this Christ-filled season!
And if you do want to download the free printable to make this sign with the exact same lettering, you can grab it here from my Resource Library!
Now that you’re all in the Christmas spirit, are you also getting ready for Advent?! If you’re looking for a simple but meaningful way to honor Advent with your family this year, check out my 2017 family Advent devotional! It won’t disappoint!