Here’s your sign – with crisp, clean lines

Hey hey hey!

I hope everybody is having a great winter and staying warm.

Here in middle Georgia our winter lasted about 5 days and we are into Spring already.

Suits me just fine.

I’m still kicking here and staying pretty busy.

Thanks to all my customers who love getting personalized items! I love what I do and I love creating pretty stuff for you.

I keep getting a lot of questions about how I make my signs and how I get clean and crisp lines with little to no bleed.

Well…your in luck because I’m going to show you how.


I created this sign a few weeks ago for our lakehouse.  We have a huge problem with boats and jet skis flying through our cove extremely close to our dock.

Now I don’t know if just the sign will work to slow them down so I got a bullhorn too.

Let’s hope between the sign, the bullhorn and some great vocal cords, these people will slow down.

So first I had to break apart some pallets.  If you’ve ever done this you know just how hard it is. That’s why I invested in a pallet buster. This thing has been an absolute life saver!

Next remove all the nails and then cut your boards down to size. This sign is about 50 inches long so it didn’t need a whole lot of cutting.

I have some scraps that I use on the backside to hold the sign together. I use wood glue and a few brad nails to hold the scraps in place.


After the braces have dried thoroughly (usually 24 hours) flip your sign over and fill any unwanted holes with wood filler.



After that has dried you are ready to sand your wood. I use my orbital sander with a rough 80 grit sandpaper to start off with then I switch to a fine 220 grit sandpaper.

Gosh…isn’t that so pretty after it’s sanded?


Now you’re ready to start the fun part.


I taped off the ends because as you will see they are going to be a different color. I got big plans for those ends.


I added my base color (the color I want the the letters to be).


While that dries get to work on your stencil.

Set up whatever it is you want on your computer and in your silhouette software.

Design it exactly the size you want it.


Once you’re satisfied with your design you are now ready to cut.

Fortunately I have a silhouette machine and vinyl which I use to cut my stencil.

I use a roll feeder for large signs. You don’t have too it just seems to be easier to me and keeps the vinyl from slipping and moving around.


Once you’ve got it all cut, go ahead and weed out the negative.


By now your paint should be dry.

As I explained in some of my previous posts I make my own chalk paint.  You can find the easy recipe that I use here.

Once you’ve got your stencil ready you can place your transfer tape over it and line it up on your boards. With stencils this large I find it easier to use the hinge method. I totally forgot to snap a pic (oops my bad) but you can find videos all over youtube about this.



Burnish your stencil and transfer tape very well. You can use a credit card, a tennis ball or really anything that has a flat edge. Slowly pull back your transfer tape at an angle and your vinyl stays behind.


I usually rub over each letter with my finger or a tennis ball to make sure the edges are sealed. Sometimes no matter how much you burnish you still can’t get a good seal and that’s how you get those dreaded letters with bleed through.

Now here’s the trick to no bleeding and super crisp lines. No it’s not mod podge.

It’s your base color. You know…the colors you want your letters.

Go back over the stencil with your base color. In this sign that’s the black.


Now if there is any bleeding it will be your base color!

Let this dry completely. With chalk paint that’s usually 2-3 hours. Not too long so just be patient. I have no patience so I use a fan. 🙂

Now you are ready to paint your sign color.

I used white so the black letters would be very vivid when seen from a distance.


I did 2 coats of white and then removed my painters tape.


I let that dry and then taped off again. I’m a super messy painter.


I wanted something to pop on the sign so I painted the ends red.


I did 2 coats then removed my painters tape.


Now remember your stencil is still on there. I like to make sure everything is fully dry before I start pulling my stencil off.

Once dry you are ready to pull.

Using your silhouette tool or tweezers or a dental pick (this what I use because of the point) slide it under one letter of your stencil then pull slowly at an angle.

Just look at those lines!


So straight. So crisp. So clean.

I just love it!


Pull all your letters off the same way.

Look how pretty!


If you get a little vinyl residue just use a q-tip and a dab of Goo-Gone and dab it off.

If you want a distressed look go ahead and use a sanding block in the areas you want to distress.

I used an 80 grit and then a 220 grit.



You are now ready to seal it.

I used a spray polycrylic and sprayed 3 coats. The reason I used this is since the sign will be in the sun it won’t yellow. It will stay nice and bright white.img_3499

I wanted a little more added to the sign to give it that lake feel so I added some jute to the ends.

I just wrapped the ends and glued with a glue gun.





And there you have it.

It’s now ready to hang on the end of the dock.

But know this…

 If you are at the lake and speed by my dock I will sound the bullhorn and point to the sign. If that doesn’t work I will use my vocal cords and you will get a severe tongue lashing.

Have a great day!


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