Monday, February 10, 2014


Barn Wood Beach Sign - Beach Cottage Decor
My DIY beach sign - Ballard Design Knock-Off
While looking for accessories and decor' for our beach house, I was inspired by a sign I saw online at Ballard Designs (see below).  The price was more than I wanted to pay, it was too big, and the arrow was going the wrong way.  I decided to attempt to create this same look on my own on a piece of barnwood.

Beach Sign - Ballard Designs
Ballard Design Outdoor Beach Sign

An extra piece of warped barn wood leftover from other projects was going to work just fine here.  The wood had already been cleaned up (nails removed, wire brushed to get the dirt off and then cleaned with a 10% bleach and water solution).  The piece I used for the beach sign was quarter-sawn oak.  This is what created the unique texture across the sign.

Barn Wood
Barn Wood
I used white acrylic paint for the base color of the sign - the plan being to create a sort of "reverse-stencil" for the graphics with paper...

I found a font online that was similar to the lettering on the Ballard Design Sign.  I used PowerPoint to create the wording, the arrow and the outline to mimic the original sign design.  I printed out the design to fit my piece of barn wood. 

After the white paint had dried, I adhered the printed paper design to the barn wood with temporary adhesive (temporary because this has to come off later - don't use regular adhesive). 

Temporary Adhesive
Temporary Adhesive
The next step was to use an x-acto knife to cut around all the graphics, and remove all the background pieces (so that all the parts that were to remain white were covered with paper).  The photo below shows the basic concept I used on another project - the difference on the beach sign project is I pealed off the background instead of the letters themselves.

Example of paper stencil from another project

Bracing Blue by Sherwin Williams #6249 was the paint color I chose for the dark blue background color.  I purchased a Valspar satin paint sample from Lowe's in this custom color.  I dry brushed the blue onto the board  (keep in mind, at this point - the white color was already painted onto the board and the letters from the "reverse stencil" are stuck to the board.  Sorry - no photo taken at this point).  The dry brushing was important for two reasons (1) it prevented the paint from bleeding under the paper (2) it allowed some of the white background to show through the textured crevices of the barn wood.

After examining the photo of the Ballard Design's sign - I could see the edges of the sign looked darker.  I added some black paint to the Bracing Blue color and dry brushed this color around the edges of the sign, and randomly in spots in the middle.  I really liked how this seemed to age the sign.

I pealed off the paper and allowed everything to dry.  Then I sanded areas of the sign to distress it, allowing the natural barn wood to show through.

The sign hangs above the door in our beach cottage, just above the other sign I made with the name of our vacation home.

Barn Wood Beach Sign - Beach Cottage Decor

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.
For more beach cottage posts see my Beach Cottage page.

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