DIY Wooden Sign Using Freezer Paper – and This Amazing Image Hack
DIY a wooden sign like the pros and get that handmade vintage feel in your home WITHOUT having to learn calligraphy or something else time-consuming! This post is on behalf of a suggestion I received the other day and I deemed it quite share-worthy.
Handmade wooden signs are a really hot item. Especially when you combine it with distressing techniques to give it that vintage, well-worn look of a bygone era that evokes images of ice cream parlors and apothecaries.
Wow, now I’m waxing nostalgic again! I do that a lot more than I realize…Anyway, I wanted to share this tutorial with you that discusses at length a unique way to get that look!
Here is the link to the full article that explains in depth how it all comes together!
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The tutorial goes into great depth, and you’ll want to refer to it to get all of the steps down pat; but I have paraphrased in my own words the “nitty gritty” of it to master this strategy that doesn’t need hand lettering!
To get started making amazing art wood signs, It involves a few straightforward items you may already have access to, like a printer (must be inkjet – NOT laser type – something about the freezer paper potentially being a fire hazard).
Also: freezer paper, coarse grit sandpaper, printer paper, scissors (or a paper cutter), painter’s tape, a ruler, and clear varnish or sealant.
And last but not least, a piece of unfinished wood. You may have some laying around that is just the right size or you can check your local craft/hobby venue fora good piece.
According to the author, Laura Newcomer, you can also use transparency paper(and some people who have tried this approach say it has worked better for them.)
💻 Creating the Graphic
For this, if you have access to Photoshop, MS Paint, Illustrator, Corel Draw, or a similar graphic program, you’re in good hands.
Don’t have any of the above? Check out my list of graphic tools that are web-based, work just like those in the above list, and won’t break the bank 😁.
1) Your message of choice can be inspirational, funny, cute, sentimental, you name it. You can use a good quote you heard somewhere, anything that puts you in good spirits.
Whatever you come up with, when you have your quote in the colors and fonts of your choosing, use the “Mirror” function to flip the message in reverse, so it appears backwards.
Prepare the Wood and Paper
Make sure to sand the piece of wood so the ink will be able to stick to it well. Use one of those computer dusters to blow off the dust left behind.
Measure and cut a piece of freezer or transparency paper to a standard letter (A4) size…which is pretty much what most standard printer paper measures too.
Apparently, freezer paper has a shiny side…place your trimmed sheet shiny side up over the piece of printer paper and secure it with some painter’s tape.
Printing the Image
Now we come to the printing part! If you’re using freezer paper, feed your sheet./ printer paper piece into the slot correctly to that it will print out shiny side up. (This usually means feeding the sheet upside down)
If you’re unsure, it may be a good idea to do a test print on another sheet of printer paper first (and be sure to do something like draw a mark on one side so you know which way it should be fed through. (Kind of like how some of my Avery paper is labeled – really helps.) If you are using transparency paper just feed it on through.
Check your finished job to see how well it turned out! If it looks good, now you’re going to take it and apply it to the piece of wood.
Transfer the Image to the Wood
Place it ink side down…To make sure it doesn’t get out of place or smudge, you may want to get some painter’s tape and secure the perimeter of the printed message down so no accidental “oopsies” happen.
Get a smooth firm object…I have one of those clay rollers I use for rolling out a slab of clay flat….that would work very well for this. Press down firmly all over the taped message.
You may want to roll/run over it a few times to be sure it will make its mark well. Now slowly peel back the printed message to reveal its imprint on the wood. How’s it looking??
Don’t Forget to Seal Your Finished Design
When you are pleased with your design, let it dry….apply a coat of sealant, clear polyurethane, etc., over it to preserve your work. A lot of people like to showcase their signs outdoors …this will give an extra layer of protection against the elements!
Tips For Transferring
The author includes some tips for altering the appearance of the message, or what to do if it didn’t turn out well at first:
👉 You may want to practice first on another piece of wood to be sure you’ve got the hang of it (Good idea)
👉 You can use a little water to make the letters appear lighter; just not too much water as it might make the ink run.
👉 If you’d like to give the message a more vintage, rustic or distressed look, sand the letters with a piece of fine grit sandpaper.
If the letters don’t come out as bright as you’d hoped, you can fill in the gaps using some of your own paint.
These were my thoughts earlier….If your sign is a little on the big side (like, 15″ by 20″ or something), I suppose you could break the message down and print it in two or three parts …or you could create embellishments, like hearts, stars, or other object designs, and follow the same technique, saving it and printing it using steps 1 through 6 above, yes?
Have fun! I know I want to try this out sometime…I’ve collected my share of wood scraps over the years, but it may be high time I went through them to see if I have any that would work for this!