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Build a Barn Wood Sign for Fall

  • 2h
  • 7 Materials
  • $10
  • Easy
By now y'all probably know that my favorite season is fall. To say that I'm in love with fall decor is a complete understatement and once I start seeing harvest merchandise in stores, especially Michael's, I get weak in the knees.
A few years ago Rob bought a truck load (literally) of barn wood from a local guy--the man filled the back of our truck up to the brim with old barn doors, shutters, beams, and the like, and Rob has made several different pieces over the years with the wood he purchased. This year, however, I decided to switch up my usual medium of pallet wood for barn wood, so I raided Rob's stash. Thus, the birth of this amazingly simple, yet charming sign.
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Are y'all as in love with this as I am?? I know this will fit right into our "new" farmhouse next fall. I can already picture it sitting on our dining room fireplace mantel with wheat shoots and various colors and sizes of pumpkins!
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PRE-STEP 1: Before I go in to the supplies and steps, I just wanted to show the original barn door that I got the wood off of. This sucker was HEAVY (Rob had to help me get it up on a table so I could pull the pieces apart. If you are doing this project and you're going to use the wood off of an old barn door like I did, I suggest using a flat bar. Start at one corner and carefully pry the edges up first, work your way down one side, then the other. You can easily split the wood if you're too rough with it so take your time getting the wood separated. It's a pain and it's tough but it's so worth it when you see the beautiful barn wood slats in tact once you're finished.
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SUPPLIES:
-barn wood
-fine grit sandpaper
-wire brush
-Minwax finishing wax paste
-6.75" metal letters (or you can use wood)
Not pictured:
-hammer
-picture nails
-sharpie
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STEP 1: Hammer old nails
Remember the pre-step of prying the barn boards apart? Well, now it's time to hammer in those pesky existing nails. If you want, you can knock them out completely, but I liked seeing the nail heads so I decided to hammer them flush with the board on the front, then hammered them over and essentially squished them on the back so there were no pointy/sharp edges sticking out.
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STEP 2: Clean up the wood
Next, I wanted to knock off any dirt and/or flaky old paint so I took a wire brush and brushed the barn board. Unless there was something that wasn't coming off easily, I brushed in one direction with long strokes.
Then, using a piece of fine grit sandpaper, I lightly sanded the entire board, paying extra attention to the edges to ensure there weren't any splinters that could snag.
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STEP 3: Apply wax
I guess this could possibly be an optional step but I highly recommend it, whether you are putting your sign inside or out.
Once my wood was all cleaned up, I took a rag and applied finishing wax paste to my board. Because the wood grains were deep in places, I paid careful attention to making sure I rubbed the wax in the creases. Even though no one will see the back of my sign, I still waxed the entire board. You just never know with wood so I like to play it safe and protect it regardless of where it will be sitting/hanging.
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STEP 4: Add letters
Finally, I was able to spell out my word with metal letters. Michael's was having a huge end of season sale so I found these letters 80% off!! The only problem was that I had to go to two different stores to find all of the letters I needed. I personally wanted metal letters (I was hoping for galvanized silver but I didn't want to jump through hoops driving to the different locations to find the letters I needed so I stuck with black.) but you can use wooden letters instead if you can't find metal.
To start, I laid my letters out to spell the word THANKS (other good, short words for fall would be: gather, harvest, autumn, and of course, fall). I wanted to get an idea for spacing and where exactly to make my marks for hanging my letters. Then, with a Sharpie, I marked where each part of the letter would hang so I knew where to nail. After that, I nailed a picture nail on each mark that I had made.
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So what do y'all think?? I was so happy with how this sign came out. The only thing that I would like to figure out though, is if there's a better way to hang the letters. Rob said you can't really effectively glue metal so unfortunately, every time I take the sign down to store it, I'll have to take the letters down as well. If anyone has tips or suggestions on how to successfully adhere the letters to the wood where they stay on permanently, I'm all ears!

Materials I used for this project:

  • Barn wood   (my backyard)
  • Fine grit sandpaper   (on hand)
  • Wire brush   (on hand)
See all materials

Got a question about this project?

  • Red Wood
    Red Wood Russian Federation

    Я предлагаю соединить/закрепить буквы саморезами с задней стороны доски. Надёжное крепление!

  • Teresa Lowry
    Teresa Lowry Lebanon, TN

    Could you have painted the letters silver to look like metal?

    • Rob & Courtney M, Hometalk Team
      Rob & Courtney M,... Mastic Beach, NY

      Yes, I could have using the Rust-oleum spray paint. I didn't even really think of doing that though--Michaels had galvanized silver letters so I considered those but they didn't have all of the letters I needed which is why I just went with black.

  • Ccamp57

    Actually, I think it is a plus to not permanently a fix the letters. You could use the same board to hang other letters for other words for other seasons, holidays events.Don't worry about placement of nails. Add nails as needed and the unused

  • Sue
    Sue New Smyrna Beach, FL

    This looks great. Super job.

  • Bonnie Gates
    Bonnie Gates Goose Creek, SC

    Use gorilla wood glue to fasten letters

Inspired? Will you try this project? Let the author know!
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