How To Make And Woodburn A Garden Sign and Decorate It With Acrylic Paints
List of Supplies and Tools You Will Need
Below is a suggested list of tools and materials you can use to make a garden sign. Keep in mind that in most creative ventures the subject development is not set in concrete. In other words, you can ad-lib if you find a better way, a different way or just want to experiment. That is what makes creating things so much fun.
- A flat board that will handle the amount of lettering you want to put on it. My only suggestion here is that you use a solid piece of wood and DO NOT use plywood or particle board.
- Some sandpaper if you would like to smooth the wood
- Acrylic paints in colors you want to use
- A stake to post the sign to so that you can put it in the garden. This could be substituted with wire or rope to hang the sign if the garden is fenced or you have some place to hang it rather than using a stake.
- Nails or screws to attach the sign to the stake
- a woodburning pen
- clear acrylic to top coat finished sign (optional)
- artist's paint brushes
- carbon paper
- ballpoint pen
- drill and bits
- masking tape
Get Everything you Need Together In Your Work Area
The first thing I like to do is gather up all of the tools and materials I am going to need for my project. When I have everything I set it up in the area that I will be working in. This work space can be the most functional if it includes good lighting and a trash can and broom. I also like to have a few rags and a wet rag just in case I need it. You never know if you are going to get paint or dust or something unwanted on your clothes or furniture. I also like to keep a fire extinguisher handy when I am woodburning. Fire is a big hazard and you always want to practice safe working conditions. Try to be very careful and thoughtful as you proceed with your project, no matter what the project is.
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Get The Design Ready To Transfer To The Board
The next step is to get a design ready to transfer to the wood. I usually make a rough sketch and then straighten it out. Then I make the finished design on a fresh sheet of paper. The finished one is the drawing you will be transferring to your piece of board. I also like to run over the wood with a sanding block loaded with fine sandpaper. I do this as a safety measure because I hate getting splinters.
The sign is going to be used outside so I do not want to sand too much. I want my sign to have a rustic touch to it. This is my choice for what my design subject will portray. It may be that your design would be nicer if you finished the board you choose more to suit your subject matter. This is all a matter of personal preference. Have fun with your project and experiment. Try to visualize what your finished project will look like as you are working.
For this project I had to tape two pieces of paper together to make it long enough for the final pencil design. I wrapped the paper around the board and trimmed it to fir with a pair of scissors.
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Use Carbon Paper To Make The Transfer
Take your finished design and lay it on top of the board with a piece of carbon paper under it. You can also use graphite paper to do the transfer but the outline will not be as dark as it is when you use carbon. Sometimes I prefer to use the graphite when I do not want a bold outline. I do want that bold line for this project because I will be using dark colors on a medium color of raw wood. It just makes it easier to see the design outline.
You should secure the carbon paper and the design on top so that it does not slip as you are outlining your work. It is also good to use a ballpoint pen to do the outlining. This helps you to get every line traced (you can see where you have been) and to make a darker transfer. I also mark the exact spot to line up my design on the board. Look at the photo to see how I mark my paper and board to match it up the way I want it to turn out on the board.
Now that you have everything put together you are ready to transfer the design onto the wood. When you have everything outlined make sure that you have all of your lines dark enough to see them so that you can work from the outline on the wood. Do this by carefully lifting up the paper and carbon without completely removing any of it. Check your transfer and make any tracing adjustments that are necessary before you completely remove the papers from the wood. Now you are ready to start woodburning.
Burn The Design Into The Wood
Start your woodburning and proceed until you are satisfied with the finished pyrographics. This is a matter of personal taste and you should have fun with this part of the project. You can burn it however you like. Sometimes it is good to do test burning on a piece of wood just like the one you use for your project. This testing is good because it will give you better understanding of how the techniques you want touse on your finished product will look before you make a mistake. Use some variety of techniques to make the design more interesting. Whatever you decide make sure to HAVE FUN!
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Paint The Design
I love acrylic paint because it is so versatile and easy to use. This project will be finished when you decorate your design with the paint. I stress that you use your imagination and have a good time with what you are doing. You can mix colors that match or blend into the scenery or you can make the sign stand out by using bright colors. It is your choice. I am going to go with earth tones and a little bright color for accent.
Put The Sign On A StakeClick thumbnail to view full-size
Attach the Finished Sign To The Stake
I finished painting the sign and let it dry good. Then I got a drill and a bit and two screws so that I could attach the sign to a stake. This sign will go in a flower bed near a table and sun umbrella in a back yard. I drilled holes in the center of the sign where I measured to make it balanced on the stake. Then I put the screws in far enough so that they were poking out the back of the sign just a bit. Next I placed the sign so it was centered on the stake and the screws tips were in the center of the stake. Holding firmly in place I pushed the screws tips into the stake to mark where I wanted to drill so that I could attach the sign.
The marks looked good so I drilled these two holes into the stake exactly where I had made the marks.I was careful not to go real deep so the last couple of turns with the screwdriver would pull the sign up tight to the board. Now it was ready to attach. Using a screwdriver I carefully aligned the screws tips into the holes on the stake. Then I tightened them down...And There You Have IT!