Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Be Awesome Today DIY Sign

I have a mantra for my kids:  Be Awesome Today.  I mean, I think it says it all.  It's a great reminder, not just for them, but for anyone in the house (that includes the cockapoo).  So I put it into a sign.

The idea I had for this sign was inspired by The Handmade Home and their DIY sign.  (NOTE:  their method is different than mine, so check both out to see what works for you). 

It's a pretty fabulous blog I follow and I recommend it to you as well.  This sign is made in reverse:  meaning, the background is painted and the words are stained.  And I knew I could make it on the "cheaps". (Sorry for the lack of photos for this tutorial.  I was super-excited to get it done that I forgot the damned camera).

Here's how I did it:  First I decided how long and tall I wanted the sign to be. Then I opened a Word document and typed in "Be Awesome Today" and tested many different fonts before settling down with Travel Diary, free from the Dafont website.

I enlarged it until it fit the area on which I want the sign (about 6').  **Before printing your finished font onto paper, change your font to "outline".  This will save you LOADS of ink/toner.**  Of course, if you have a Silhouette or Cricut machine, your method will be different and easier.  This is for the lot of us who are too cheap to buy them like to use the old-fashioned way.  My font size was 450, so obviously I couldn't get the whole saying on one sheet of paper.  I got "Be" on one, and "aw" on another, etc . . . I actually used 7 pieces of printed paper to make my sign.

After you have your paper printed, you need a sign to put it on.  I love to use strapping or furring strips when I can and this is the perfect project.  Each piece is about $1.50, so I made my sign for about $8.  This kind of wood is very rough and perfect for a sign when trying to achieve that "beat up" or "aged" look.

I cut the wood to the proper length then simply placed the strips side-by-side until I achieved the correct width.  Then I took smaller pieces of furring strips and glued and nails them into the boards to brace the sign.  I sanded down the rough parts and now it's ready for stain.

(Here's where I forget the rest of the photos, ack!!)
I grabbed some stain and covered the whole front and even around the edges including my braces (just in case you see them when it is mounted on the wall.  After the stain is dry, I took my Be Awesome Today sheets, and centered them on my sign.  After liking the placement, I held each one in place while I took a pen and traced over each letter with a heavy hand.  This method should produce an indentation in the wood.  It will work on these furring strips because they are made of pine and pine is generally a soft wood.  I kept peeking under the paper to make sure there was indeed indentations (oh, I made an alliteration).

I decided on a bright color for the sign as I wanted a little *pop* in our living room.  I had one of Martha Stewart's sample bottles called Sultana (purchased at Home Depot), and it fit the bill.  I poured a little in a 3oz Dixie cup and grabbed my flat shader artist paint brush.  I then traced around the letter indentations with the paint.  Of course this took a lot of time, but it's the kind of work I find soothing (I know, weird).  I had the sign on my lap, watched listened to the TV and went to work on the sign.  By the time I finished the "y" in "today", it was ready for a second outlining coat.  When I was finished, I just coated the rest of the negative space in paint (regular paint brush), using a second coat where needed.  When it was dry, I sanded the edges to give it a worn look and let some of the stain peek through, then screwed in the hangers on the back and we were ready to go!

Loving the look of the wood grain
Holy clutter in the kitchen Batman!
So, that's our Be Awesome Today reminder.  Although my husband finds it kind of silly, I just think he needs to think out of the box and be a little bit more awesome today.


  1. I am in love with this! Love the font too! =)

  2. I love love love this idea. so...shirring strips...I have no idea what that means. Do I just go to the local lumber store and ask to see a stack of 'em? what are they usually used for?

  3. Love it! I like the idea of staining 1st... I'm going to have to try it.... now I just have to think of something to say on my piece of wood.....

  4. Thanks everyone! Super easy to build . . . just coming up with the right quote.

  5. This us such a unique idea! I love typography....and this just added a really cool twist to it!

  6. Featuring YOU today! Thanks for linking up to GSC. :)

    Ginger @ gingersnapcrafts.com


  7. I love this! Need to add it to my must make list!

  8. way cute! What color of stain did you use... it looks almost black? i love that the words have a combo of two colors after you sanded them.

    1. Thanks so much! I think I used Early American by Minwax. I didn't want a black, but I wanted some depth to the stain.

  9. This sign is made in reverse: meaning, the background is painted and the words are stained. I really love it. Keep it up. I will share with my friends. Now it's time to avail luxury airport transfer for more information.