Watercolor on Wood- 3 Little Birds

12 Materials
2 Days

I've been using acrylic paints on wood pallets for awhile now and while I love farmhouse pallet signs I wanted to try something different. Something with more color. Plus I hear framing them is a thing now. So...

Watercolor on Wood. Framed. For Spring!

Since I've never water colored on wood (or anything else) I borrowed some from my granddaughter. I tried a bit on sanded scrap wood and it both absorbed and spread more then I wanted so I decided to stain my sign so it wouldn't do that quite as much. These liquid watercolors can be diluted but my suggestion is don't dilute it much- if at all- and use just a little bit at a time to help the color stay where you want.

If you don't want to stain your sign boards I'd suggest paint or gesso. I stained my wood using MinWax gel stains. After applying and wiping it off I let it dry 24 hours.

Using my Cricut machine I made some stencils. You could also buy a reusable stencil or freehand your design. I am not that talented which is why I have a Cricut machine.

Using my stencil I colored in the basic design using a permanent black Sharpie marker (regular, fine and ultra fine tips are good). The key to this is apply with a light hand so it doesn't bleed under the stencil. Also it dries the ink out as you use it so have several on hand to alternate. Cap it when not being used.

So far so good. That's the same bird on a branch with one flipped and I made 3 stencils and put them together. I feel clever now.Now for the watercoloring..

Using a paint brush I swirled the water colors on and as you can see sometimes it bled outside the lines. I discovered I could wipe it to clean up the lines if I didn't let it sit long. It also beaded up and I had to keep swirling the brush around till the color filled in and stayed. If you make mistakes you can't wipe off use the sharpie to draw around them when it's dried and no one will be the wiser.

So far, so good!

I decided to add words to the sign. Since I had Three little birds on my sign I decided on using some Bob Marley lyrics. Yep the song is stuck in my head now...go ahead and find it on YouTube...I'll wait.

So now apply the wording stencils and carefully sharpie in the lettering pressing lightly.

It really doesn't look like a sharpie black marker!

Once I had finished I sprayed it with polyurethane but spray sooooo very lightly or you may see your work seep outward and that would be sad. After it dries you might want another thin coat of spray.

My husband cut some scrap 1x2's to frame the watercolor board sign.My watercolor sign is 10-3/8" x 20"My two side frame pieces are 1x2's that are 20" longMy two top/bottom frame pieces are 1x2's that are 11-7/8" long

I painted the 4 framing pieces black and once dry he clamped the two side frame pieces to the watercolor sign and used the brad nailer to attach them to the watercolor sign. Then clamped the top and bottom frame pieces to nail them also.

I'm really liking this look- it's a cute addition to my Bathroom Refresh!

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Bonnie
    on Mar 1, 2020

    I love this. Do you think a person could do this on a glass picture frame so it would look like stained glass?

    • Wishy washy maybe
      on Mar 12, 2020

      RE: to prevent any water base paint from beading-up, stir a teeny tiny drop of dish soap in the paint...( an old signpainters trick)

      PS: your project looks great !

Join the conversation

3 of 18 comments
  • Janna Haddix
    on Mar 10, 2020

    Very nice!

  • Sheryl
    on Mar 19, 2020

    Really pretty! A tip you might not know, if you lightly but fully polyurethane the wood BEFORE you stencil and paint, you can avoid bleed through. If it does happen for some reason it’s easier to wipe off. Plus, it gives a two dimensional look to the artwork. You can still poly afterwards too.

    • Kelly-n-Tony
      on Mar 19, 2020

      Yep it was definitely a learning experience but happily it all worked out. Thanks for the tip, much appreciated!

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