Made by Mitch
Made by Mitch
  • Hometalker
  • Bridgeport, WV

DIY Hand Painted Sign

3 Materials
2 Hours

I have seen these hand painted signs on various places online and wanted to give one a shot. This was a great opportunity to have my wife join me on this project since she loves painting and is really good at it. This project is a very simple project and you don’t have to have extreme painting skill to pull this off. I hope you enjoy it.

The first thing I had to do for this sign was prepare the board. I used a piece of walnut I had in the shop that was from my great grandfathers old wood pile. This sign was for my mom, so my goal was to find something from his old wood pile to use.

diy hand painted sign

I first cut the board to rough length. I wasn’t quite sure how big the text would be on it yet, so I left it a little long and would cut it off later. After that I used a hand plane to flatten one side of the board, then use my table saw to flatten the other side. All of these steps are things I did because of the wood I was using.

You can use whatever kind of wood you want. You may or may not have to flatten the sides like this.

diy hand painted sign
diy hand painted sign

After this I sanded the board to 220 grit before the painting process.

diy hand painted sign

Next I could design the template for the sign. I used Adobe photoshop to do this, but you can use any text editor to do the same thing. What I did was first find the font I liked and then I could enlarge the font across a few pages. This took several tries before I finally got the size to fit my board.

diy hand painted sign

Once I got the correct fit, I used an exacto knife to cut out the letters. You could use scissors if you prefer but my font was very curvy so the exacto knife was a much better option for me.

diy hand painted sign

Once I got everything cut out, I lined them up properly on the board and then used a few pieces of scotch tape to hold them in place. Next I traced the letters on to the board using a pencil. 

diy hand painted sign
diy hand painted sign

Once all of the letters were traced out on the board. It was time to paint the sign. I had some help from my wife for this part. She is really good at painting and she enjoys it. The first thing she did was use a chalk marker to trace on top of the pencil marks of the letters. This made it much easier when painting inside the lines and gave a much cleaner line. After tracing the entire thing out, then she used a small paint brush to fill in the letters. You can put on as many coats of paint as you want, but we only painted on one coat because we liked how the wood grain slightly came through the paint.

diy hand painted sign
diy hand painted sign

After the sign was painted, I had to cut off a little of once side of the board to even it up, and then I sanded the corners and edges a little bit using 220 grit sandpaper.

diy hand painted sign

After this I put on several coats of spray shellac. I used this because It dries really quickly and it goes on pretty easy. It really made the walnut pop when I put this on the board.

After this you can add hanging hardware to the back if you would like. I didn’t do this but attaching the hardware is similar to a picture frame.

diy hand painted sign

After this, the project was complete! Make sure to check out the video for the full how to experience and if you have any questions on the steps leave me a comment or send me a message. You can also find me around the web.

Web -

Twitter - @made_by_mitch

Instagram - @ made_by_mitch

YouTube -

diy hand painted sign

Suggested materials:

  • Piece of wood 1x10 or similar
  • White paint  (Home Depot)
  • Spray Shellac  (Home Depot)
Made by Mitch

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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1 question

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2 of 22 comments
  • Sunny
    15 hours ago

    Yes, I was wondering what font you used,too! Thanks! I do woodworking and paint and this project is perfect, but I can never seem to be able to find the font.

  • Cynthia Mickle
    30 minutes ago

    Another way to 'trace' a design onto your project, is to place your template on a piece of carbon paper, then onto your project, and trace with a pencil. This also works to create a masking tape stencil. Lay tape on your workbench ( mine is an old smooth top drafting table) trace your design onto the tape. Use an exacto knife to cut out your stencil. Simply peel your tape stencil off the table and place onto your project and get to work! Good luck!

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