My Projects

The Easy Way to Hand Paint a Sign

I had a few minutes while both the washer and dryer were going and my little one was quietly watching the most annoying videos on YouTube to get a little crafty. This project had been sitting on top of my piano for over a year.

I stashed two slats of MDF that came out of the box that held my dryer. I intended to make them into a railroad crossing sign for my son’s room; but when I got chickens, I wanted a Fresh Eggs sign instead.


I purchased the little MDF letters at Wal-Mart. At the time, they didn’t have the letters to spell FRESH. I got the idea to just hand-paint the word instead. Hand-painting a word petrified me. My handwriting is not terrible, but I am the worst judge of space and perspective. While I love displaying my children’s art work around my house, I didn’t want my project to look like it was made in Elementary school. My goal was Hobby Lobby or World Market sign on a Dollar Tree budget.

I came across a tutorial on using an inkjet printer to create the words for a hand-painted sign and had the impulse to try it.

Step One: create the word and then “Flip Horizontal” making the image backwards. Print a fast draft just so you can be sure that it is the proper size for your project.


Step two: Paint your board and letters. For this sign, I did multiple layers of chalk paint; yellow, blue and white, so that when I sanded the board down to distress it, it showed the color variations and appeared less manufactured wood product. The letters I painted gray. I often use the Plaid brand chalk paint purchased at Wal-Mart and have never been disappointed with the results.

Step three: Print your word using a best quality setting and place it on your board while the ink is still wet. Rub the ink onto the wood using something blunt like the end of a marker.

IMG_20160808_143823The result is light but it makes it easy to get perfect lettering by going over it using a fine art brush.

Step four: lightly sand over the word and seal it with clear wax. Use a wood glue to attach the MDF letters. Then attach picture hangers to the back of the board.

I would post more pictures of it hanging above my kitchen sink, but my kitchen needs a lot of work before it becomes the kitchen of my Joanna Gaines inspired dreams. I hope to share that process with you in the future!

It was a simple project that I finished in just a little over an hour due to the paint drying time. This could be made an outdoor sign by using polyurethane instead of wax to seal the paint. The possibilities are limitless. Any font. Any size. I hope you give it a try.



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