My husband and I are divers. I saw a couple examples of these types of signs on pinterest and I thought this would be perfect for our beach cottage. We already had scraps of barn wood leftover from our other projects, so finding a piece of wood for this project was easy. You could use new wood, but the texture of the barn wood provides for a wonderful distressed look and I love the weathered gray patina. In my eyes - every piece of old barn wood is it's own piece of art. This particular piece was quarter sawn oak. The saw marks, the aged texture of the wood, and the big crack on the side took this project to another level.
I started by adding screw eyes to the top of the board. I thought this was a neat way to hang it so I copied the idea from one that I saw online.
I white-washed the board with some white acrylic craft paint. I say white-washed because I added some water to the paint and applied a thin coat to the front of the board. I made a point of not going all the way to the edges and leaving some of the board exposed. I proceeded to continue to add thinned-down light layers of paint until I achieved the look I wanted.
Once this dried, I applied a template of the dive sign I had created on graph paper. The paper was applied with temporary adhesive. (I used Krylon's brand purchased at Hobby Lobby). Make sure you use TEMPORARY adhesive - you need to pull this stuff off later. The purpose is for this to be a sort of stencil.
Now I was ready to apply the red paint to the board. I used a red acrylic craft paint I had on hand. I grabbed a paper plate to help me dry brush the paint onto the board. A small amount of paint was applied to the brush and then most of the paint was removed by brushing it on the back of the paper plate. This enabled me to have a "light and airy" look to the red of the dive flag and the texture of the board allowed the white paint of the base to show through. (If you try this with new wood it will be harder to get this affect).
An important note - I did not apply the red paint all the way to the edge of the paper as I did not want a clear and distinctive line. I used the paper as a guide only and opted for a more weathered line on the stripe.
The paper was removed after I finished with the red paint. Once the paint dried it looked OK, but I was much happier with the piece after weathering it with sandpaper and exposing the some of the barn wood underneath the paint. To do this I ran sandpaper over the edges as well as over the face of the wood.
The final step was covering it with a coat of mat spray polyurethane. I wanted to seal it, but I didn't want it to be shiny.
Here it is on the wall of our beach cottage. I think it turned out well :o)
If you are interested in a general overview of some DISTRESSING TECHNIQUES, see my post here which covers the use of SANDPAPER, CANDLEWAX and VASELINE.