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Here’s Your Sign

I gave a sneak peek in my last post of a painted sign I was creating….a project I’d never tried before but was eager to explore.  I’ve often heard of using what, to many now, are old fashioned projectors to ‘project’ a selected image on a wall or board and then trace around it prior to painting, but I’d yet to try it myself.  A couple weeks ago, during our church’s annual Mother/Daughter Tea, I happened to be visiting with one of our associate pastors and asked if the church happened to have a projector they’d be willing to sell or give away.  She said they did have a few in the building, but they really didn’t use them much any more, so she’d be happy to loan one out to me for as long as I needed it.


I knew exactly where I wanted to hang my first painted sign…..right in this spot above my dark armoire (the board you see above it now is the unfinished sign with my first coat of paint):

This armoire is quite dark and heavy, but I’ve always loved the lines.  We bought it through JCPenney several years ago and I’ve seldom seen one on their site I admire as much.  Recently, I was contemplating painting it a fun aged turquoise after seeing so many beautifully painted pieces on several blogs, but Mr. Wonderful was not happy with this suggestion.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to paint it either.  It’s such a pretty piece already.
My alternative idea was to hang an aged turquoise sign above the armoire, which is not quite the same commitment, and is much more easily changed.
I started with a board left at our house by the previous owner.  After measuring the space above the armoire, I used my husband’s table saw and cut the board down.  Because it was still shiny and new, I hammered at it a few times, banged a large chain against it, etc. trying to give it some character prior to painting.

I did not bother to prime.  My first coat of paint was an old quart of Behr’s Cathedral I had from two years ago when I painted a thrift store desk.

Because Cathedral is a bit darker toned than the other blues in my living/dining/kitchen, I layered another coat of paint over the top in Farrow & Balls Green Blue, the color of my built-ins and foyer wall:

I then used my sander to rough up the top coat, wear down to bare wood in parts, and add the much-needed aged look:

Next, I played around on Microsoft Word until I came up with the wording and clipart I had in mind.  I designed and printed the image in Landscape format, using a transparency in the printer instead of white paper.  I was curious how the ink would stick…it worked great.
Once my transparency was placed on the projector, I propped up my painted sign on a stool, adjusted the image with the projector lens until the image was the size I wanted, and went to work tracing the letters on the board with a pencil. 
This really did not take very long, even though it seemed like it would…
Next step:  Painting the letters.  It was during this phase I was thankful for the myriad of artist’s paintbrushes I bought during an art class last spring.  The angled and pointy-tip brushes made this job much easier.

After the painting dried, I rubbed some dark glaze over the whole sign to bring out the indentations and darken the edges, and also to give the cream lettering a little age.
Last but not least, I got crazy and added some hardware.  With the help of my daughter and a friend: 

Now, I realize a sign like this may not authentically boast rustic-looking handles along the upper edge.

But you know what?  I love hardware, and the sign seemed to be calling for something.  I didn’t have old hinges, so rustic-looking handles is what I chose.  After all, it was my sign.

And I kinda like ’em 🙂

So here’s my first painted sign:

And I think I’m really happy with how it turned out. 

Matter of fact, I think this may be the beginning of a new thing:-)


Reader Interactions


  1. Hello Jaimee, I like your sign very much and would love to try projection painting. I have a book called Projection Stencilling that has some great ideas but not having a projector handy I haven't tried anything yet. Living in rural France I may have to go a long way to find one. Never mind necessity is the mother of invention they say. Love your blog and your house by the way.

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