I don’t think there are enough words to describe just how much I love this sign! I’m overdue for posting a DIY project, but I didn’t want it to just be any ‘ole thing, so I brainstormed and brainstormed for something that I could post for this time of year that wouldn’t necessarily be exclusively for Fall.
We have a small blank wall in our kitchen that I’ve been wanting to fill with something, but I wanted it to be something meaningful since I love decorating with things of sentiment, and I also wanted to capture the essence of how we want to use our home – as a place of gathering. I think eating meals together – with our families, neighbors, friends, and community – is one of society’s best problem-solvers (not to mention: it’s fun!), so I thought I’d figure out how to come up with a sign that might reflect that hope of our home!
And here is what came of that! Come and Gather at our Table with that fun “EAT” thrown in there! This Rustic Country Farmhouse Kitchen Gather Sign is already bringing tons of joy to my house, and I know it will bring so much to yours, too!
I’ll show you how to make it – it’s very easy and comes together beautifully!
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Here’s what you need:
- Framed Wooden Panel Sign
- Wood stain (this is what I used)
- Old rag to apply stain
- White/ivory acrylic paint (for the frame and the letters) – I used an antique white because I didn’t want it to be a stark white
- Foam paint brush to apply white paint
- Paper with wording to transfer wording onto sign (you can get the template I made for this sign here in my Resource Library)
- Scotch tape to tape the papers together for the sign
- Pair of scissors
- Piece of chalk
- Small E, A, T wooden letters (I used these)
- Red acrylic paint (or other accent color you want to use)
- Foam paintbrush to paint letters
- Two stiff/firm paintbrushes to paint lettering onto wood
- Wood glue
- Sawtooth hangers (these are optional – as you’ll see in the tutorial, the wooden pallet sign already comes with one sawtooth hanger on the back which I moved so the sign would hang horizontally rather than vertically, but to keep it from wobbling on the wall, you will probably want to put a sawtooth hanger on either end of the sign on the back)
The first step is to stain the entire sign on the front and sides. I wouldn’t worry about staining the back unless you’re going to be displaying this sign on a stand where you’ll see the back. You can do all of the painting inside, but I would do the staining outside – it’s got a bit of a smell.
You can use any kind of wood stain for this. I didn’t want wood that was too dark, but I also didn’t want it too light because I wanted the white letters to show up really well, so I used this color and did two coats. I absolutely love the look of it now that it’s up and on our wall!
Here it is after a couple of coats! It looks more reddish in this picture than it is in person. It could be because I took this photo when I had just finished – the stain hadn’t had a chance to set and dry yet.
After the stain dries (I didn’t wait until it fully dried because, well, let’s be honest – I’m super impatient; I waited about 30-45 minutes), you’ll squeeze out some of the white/ivory paint onto a paper plate/cardboard (whatever you want to use, but don’t squeeze it directly onto the sign), and then get A LITTLE BIT (like, way less than you even think), on a foam brush and begin to brush it on the frame.
You can ALWAYS go back and add more paint, but if you want the distressed look without having to sand (um, sign me up), you will want to just have a little bit of white paint on the brush at a time. You’ll just take the brush and go back and forth in all directions so you can get a really nice brushed look.
You can use a paintbrush instead of a foam brush for this, but I thought the foam brush worked REALLY well, and as you’ll see in the pictures below, I was able to avoid getting any white paint on the inside of the frame because of using the foam brush rather than a paintbrush with bristles. I did not want to have to use painters tape to tape off the wood part of this sign!
See how nicely the paint applied without getting any on the inside of the frame?
Ok, while the stain and frame are continuing to fully dry, you can go ahead and paint your white letters. I wanted to use red, but you could use pretty much any color you want as long as it’s not too light. You want it to contrast with the white lettering.
As I was painting these wooden letters, because they’re white and not raw wood, they didn’t take the paint very well. I began painting them with a paintbrush, but I quickly realized painting them with a piece of foam (and dabbing the paint) or a foam paintbrush was going to be much better. I gave them a few coats of the red paint.
Then using the same technique I used with painting the frame of the sign, I gave the edges a distressed look with the white paint. I waited until the red was dry, and then got a VERY small amount of white paint on the foam brush and gently brushed the edges of each letter. Again, start with less paint than you think. You can always add more!
I wanted them to have the distressed look for a few reasons: 1) I just love that look anyway, 2) I wanted them to visually pop off the sign and I figured having some white edges would help them do that, and 3) I wanted them to tie into the white painted lettering on the rest of the sign. I LOVE the way it turned out. I think it all ended up tying together really well.
Y’all, when I do DIY projects, it’s all just an experiment! This sign started out as a brainchild. I hadn’t made one like this before, so you’re learning along with me in this tutorial! 🙂
Ok! We’re getting there! Now we’re getting to the meat and potatoes of this.
I wasn’t kidding when I said I loved puns.
Ok, so get your sign (that you downloaded from the email I sent you if you signed up to receive it) and lay it out on the frame with the wooden letters (the wooden letters I used from Hobby Lobby came in packs of 2, so while I was letting the red ones fully dry, I used the white ones as place holders for this part). You’ll want to know exactly where you want to tape it down the seam, so it helps to set it up with the letters. To help you with alignment, I have a gray line at the top and bottom of each page (can you see below?), so that way you can line up those gray lines together and don’t have to worry about the alignment from top to bottom. You’re welcome! 🙂
Tape down the middle (just on the front) of the sign to secure the two pieces of paper together.
Then round off the corners with some scissors so the sign fits inside of the wooden frame.
Then chalk up the back of the sign with a piece of chalk. Yep, just a piece of chalk you’d use to draw on the sidewalk or on a blackboard. This is how I make all of my wooden signs with lettering – works like a charm every single time! You just want to make sure that all of the lettering has chalk behind it – that make sense?
Next, get your pen out and start tracing the letters onto the wood. Tip: Don’t even bother trying to do this part until the stain is fully dry. I tried doing this when the stain was pretty dry to the touch, but it wasn’t completely dry. The chalk didn’t transfer onto the wood very well so I had a hard time seeing the traced letters. However, it transfers VERY well once the stain is dry, so just be patient. (I know, it’s so hard!)
You’ll want to make sure the paper doesn’t slip and slide as you’re tracing, but I don’t think that’ll be too hard. It was very easy for me to keep the paper stable as I traced the lettering onto the wood. For the larger block letters, I didn’t worry about “coloring them in,” I just traced around them. The outline showed up just fine on the wood.
You want to make sure to press down pretty hard with the pen so that way the chalk really gets traced onto the wood.
Take a quick peek (without moving the paper too much) to make sure the chalk is transferring! Looks good here!
Ok, here’s the really, really fun part! It’s letter paintin’ time! Here’s a tip for this part: you will want to use really stiff/firm and thin paintbrushes. They will be MUCH easier to use and will help you get a much more perfected look with the details of the lettering.
Here are the brushes I used. They’re about 10,000 years old (not really, but I have had them forever). You don’t need anything nice, you just need them to be firm.
Look how pretty! I wanted the distressed look with the painted lettering, too, so I didn’t go over the letters with thick globs of paint. You’ll get the hang of how to do it as you go along.
Then place your wooden E-A-T letters where you want them…
…and get out your wood glue.
Just line the back of the letters with glue and place them directly on the sign.
I would wait a few hours (I waited overnight) before you hang up your sign just to make sure everything fully dries.
Also, the sign has a sawtooth hanger on the back, but it’s for the sign to hang vertically, rather than horizontally. So, I just unscrewed the screws from one part of the sign and attached the hanger to the other.
See – you can see the holes where the screws used to be on the right hand side of the frame.
Because I put my sign in somewhat of a high traffic area, I will probably end up putting two sawtooth hangers on it – one on each top corner – so it doesn’t wobble at all on the wall. You do whatever you feel most comfortable doing!
Look how pretty it turned out!
How much cheer would this bring to your kitchen?!
Ok, now go get the materials and make yourself an adorable rustic country farmhouse kitchen gather sign! It’ll make you smile every time you see it!
And it’ll help you remember that, when you’re cooking, you’re doing much more than feeding bellies. You’re feeding minds and souls, too. 🙂
Have fun! Happy gathering with folks!
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