There is something about vintage signs that capture the essence of the good ol’ life of days gone by. They also seem to go with almost any decor.
Whether it’s a big General Store, Grocery or Welcome sign – the originals however, can be hard to find. If you are lucky enough to stumble across one – watching an episode of American Pickers can quickly let you know how expensive they are to buy!
But with a little ingenuity, a couple of tools, a little paint and some pallet wood or old barn wood – you can create your own for just a few dollars. The only real limitation is your imagination.
We have built several to hang in our barn and home – and all of them have been created for just a few dollars. Even better, by using old barn or pallet wood – it will look like they have been around forever.
A Signature Raised Wood Signs
We created our “Farm Fresh Eggs” sign from a piece of old barn wood flooring and small scraps from a barn we tore down a few years back. For the back of the sign – we used a single 9′ long, 3/4″ wide piece of red oak flooring that was pulled from the floor.
We left in the old nail holes from the board, and used only a pressure washer to etch it clean.
Pressure washers make quick work of taking layers of grime and paint off of old barn lumber or pallet wood. It’s an inexpensive and easy way to clean – and better than spending hours and a fortune in sandpaper trying to clean them by hand.
To make the wooden letters, we printed out large font types (using just Microsoft Word) on scrap paper. We then traced them on pieces of the old barn wood and cut them out with a jigsaw. You could just as easily use pallet lumber as well. We left the main board unfinished, and painted the letters with a flat black primer to look aged.
To attach the letters – we pre-drilled and screwed in from the back. The sign now hangs in our “new” old barn that we built from the reclaimed lumber of two old barns we tore down. (See: The Barn Project In Photos) The best part – it looks like it’s been there for 50 years.
Painted Letter Signs.
Painted signs are even easier – you can use an existing piece of old lumber (old barn doors or windows work great), or assemble a few pieces of pallet strips together to make a flat sign.
At that point – we again use the computer and printer to create a font we like – print it out, trace and paint. (See:Making Our Farmers Market Sign)
Flat paints work best when trying to age the look – especially primers. If you want to age it a little more, simply sand off some of the paint once it dries.
It’s really that simple – and you can save yourself hundreds trying to buy the real thing – and have any message you like!