DIY Welcome Sign

Looking for fun holiday crafts? Make a wooden sign using letter stencils and outdoor acrylic paint.

fall sign

Handcrafted do-it-yourself "Welcome Fall" decorative sign for the yard or garden.

Photo by Carole West

Content Tools

Every season is a fresh start, offering something new and inviting to wake us up. Fall brings with it a sense of warmth, with colors symbolizing comfort and fun activities.

If you're thinking about fall decorations for your yard, this simple stencil sign is the perfect project. Stencils are extremely popular right now, and they can make almost any project come alive. You probably already have most of the supplies on hand, and what you don't have can be found at craft stores and home improvement stores.

I used scrap wood to make my sign, because I had some left from another project. However, if you have to purchase wood, ask if your home improvement store has a scrap bin. Oftentimes you can find just what you need in the scrap bin, at a discounted price.

If you purchase your wood, you can also ask the home improvement store to cut the wood to the dimensions needed, which will save you time. If you have to cut your own wood, I recommend using a table saw, as it provides nice, clean cuts. If you don't have a table saw, a jig saw will work, but the cut edges won't be as neat and clean.

Once you see how easy this project is, you'll want to make one for each season and/or holiday. You could even make them to give as Christmas gifts for friends and relatives.

Tools & Materials List:

Wooden board, cut to 11 inches wide by 22 inches long
4-by-1 boards, 3 cut to 14 inches long, 1 cut to 12 inches long, and 1 cut to 6 inches long
Table saw
Sandpaper
Paintbrushes
Outdoor acrylic paint in orange, green, and black (such as the FolkArt brand in Grass Green, Pure Orange, and Licorice)
Wood glue
Drill and drill bits
Screws
Painter's tape
Letter stencils (such as the FolkArt brand)
Craft paintbrushes
Natural twine
Mason jar
Washers or other hardware of your choice
Materials for filling the Mason jar

Instructions:

Step 1: Prepare the Boards

If your boards aren't already cut to the dimensions needed, cut them now using a table saw. Next, lightly sand each piece with sandpaper to prepare them for paint.

Step 2: Paint the Boards

Using a clean paintbrush, paint the front and sides of the 11-by-22-inch board with orange paint. Set it aside and let it dry. Repeat with the remaining boards, using green paint.

When the fronts and sides of the boards are dry, turn them over and paint the backs, using orange for the big board and green for the smaller boards. Let them dry.

When the backs of the boards are completely dry, lightly sand all the boards, on all sides, with sandpaper to give them a worn, rustic look.

Step 3: Assemble the Project

Using wood glue, attach two of the 14-inch green pieces to the orange piece, gluing them at a slight slant, toward the top of the orange piece, and keeping the green pieces touching. Make sure the green pieces are centered, with equal amounts of overhang on each side.

Using a drill and bit, drill a few pilot holes in the bottom of the back side of the orange board, where you'll attach the remaining 14-inch green piece to function as a shelf. Once the pilot holes are drilled, place the orange board flat on a table, horizontally, so it stands up tall. Position the shelf, vertically, on the front side, flush with the bottom of the orange board and centered so there are equal amounts of overhang on each side, and stick a pencil through each of the pilot holes to mark where the shelf will be screwed into the orange board. Now, using screws, attach the shelf to the front of the orange board.

Using wood glue, attach the 6-inch green board to the shelf horizontally, positioned more toward the right side, but not so far to the right that it's on the overhang.

Attach the 12-inch green piece of wood to the front of the orange board vertically, positioned slightly to the right of the center, using wood glue.

Set the project aside to allow the glue to dry completely.

Step 4: Apply Stenciling

Using painter's tape, attach the stencils to the boards, making sure they're secure so they won't move on you while you're painting. Then, with a craft paintbrush, apply black paint to the stencil. Set aside to dry completely.

Step 5: Add Details

Wrap twine around the top and bottom of the "Welcome" boards, leaving a good deal of excess twine.

Wrap another layer of twine around the orange board between the two "L"s in "FALL."

Place your Mason jar on the shelf of the project, with it sitting on the 6-inch green board in front of the vertical green board. Using a pencil, mark a spot, lined up with the bottom of the jar's lid, in the center of the vertical green board. Drill holes where you marked, drilling through the vertical green board and the orange board. Attach the mason jar to the shelf by pulling twine through the drilled holes and wrapping it around the jar, just below the lid. Secure the twine tightly, leaving some excess twine.

Add washers or other metal hardware to the excess twine.

Fill the jar with materials of your choice – wheat, fresh or dried flowers, cattails, herbs, colorful leaves, etc.  


Stenciling Tips for Beginners

• Be patient and take your time. Apply the paint slowly and thoroughly, and never rush the process.

• Use a very small amount of paint on your brush. If you get too much paint, it will bleed through the stencil, which will create a mess.

• Practice stenciling on pieces of scrap wood until you get the hang of it and become comfortable with the technique.

• If your paint smudges while you're stenciling, allow it to dry completely – at least an hour or two – and then use sandpaper to gently rub off the smudged paint.