If you’re looking for a fun way to mark out your latest road trip, or you simply want to show your patriotism, then this rustic wooden sign featuring the outline of the United States is the perfect decoration for your wall. You can keep it simple, as shown above, or you can personalize it with decorative tacks marking all the states your family has visited, or those that are special to you. You can also paint messages to give it a more patriotic feel, such as “From Sea to Shining Sea” or “Land That I Love.” However you choose to display it, this piece will add warmth and charm to any space.
The final dimensions of this sign are 19 inches by 30 inches. However, you can adjust the measurements to make your sign larger or smaller, as desired.
Tools & Materials
• Tape measure
• Circular saw or table saw
• Projector or poster and outlined pattern of the United States
• Pallet wood or 2 furring strips, 1 inch by 4 inches by 8 feet
• 1/4-inch plywood, 2 feet by 4 feet
• Wood glue
• 100-grit sandpaper
• Paint and paintbrush or stain and clean rag
• Sawtooth picture hanger
Step 1: Cut the pallet wood into nine planks that are 22 inches long. If you’re using furring strips, cut eight planks that are 22 inches long, and use one of the scrap pieces as a shorter ninth plank. When you arrange the planks, place the shorter plank even with the top right side, to cover the small northeast section of the U.S. outline.
Step 2: Cut the plywood to approximately 22 inches by 30 inches.
Step 3: Use wood glue to attach the wood planks to the top of the plywood. Allow the glue to completely dry.
Step 4: Trace an outline of the United States onto the wood planks using a marker. To do so, you can either use a projector to project the outline onto the wood, or you can print a map on a poster at a copy store, at the appropriate size, and then cut out the outline and trace it onto the wood.
Step 5: Use a jigsaw to cut out the outline. Remember to work in small sections and cut carefully. It’s easiest to cut out the general shape first, and then cut the finer details.
Step 6: Sand any rough edges. If there are traces of marker still visible on the wood after cutting, sand them off.
Step 7: Finish your sign with any paint or stain color you choose. This version is finished using Minwax Provincial stain applied with a clean rag. Remember that stain results may vary on different types of wood.
Step 8: Attach a sawtooth picture hanger to the back of the sign, and hang it on the wall.
Carrie Spalding discovered the power of DIY when she moved into a 1970s brick ranch in need of updating. She shares her DIY adventures on her blog, Lovely Etc. This article is excerpted with permission from her book Wood Plank Projects (Skyhorse Publishing).