August 6, 2014

DIY Cafe Sign

Do you love the look of rustic or vintage signs? I've been on the hunt for something to hang above the sliding doors that lead from our kitchen out onto our back deck now for some time. I've seen lots of cute signs, but didn't really know what I wanted, except that it couldn't be kitsch and it had to reflect who we are as a family. When I was researching pictures for my kitchen mood board I came across this sign:

I loved the weathered look and that it was a simple, clean font. The colours were appealing and really reflect our kitchen and entertaining ethos: My husband and I love coffee ; I love to bake; and when we entertain it's always no fuss barbecue or café-fare-style food. Perfect!

So I set about designing my own CAFE sign.

 After scrounging around our leftover wood pile, I found some tongue-and-groove panelling from our old doghouse in the perfect length. Plus, it was already weathered (score!)

After slotting the two pieces together, I nailed three pieces of thin wood trim to the back to hold everything together.

A quick rub down with a cloth and it was ready for its new life as my sign.

I wanted to keep a simple font like the one in the picture above, so I printed the word CAFE in 500 point Verdana, and found an arrow image that I also liked. Then I played around with spacing until I was happy.

Although I loved the look of the sign above, I didn't want my sign to be too dark, so I went about creating the reverse effect by having a light background and letting the natural wood show through in the lettering. How did I do this?

I totally covered the area that would contain my word and arrow with blue painter's tape, overlapping the strips slightly and then I secured my letters and arrow on top.

Then very carefully I cut out each letter with my craft knife, and peeled away the excess tape leaving a mask of my letters behind.

Then came the fun part! I grabbed some leftover white fence paint, a big wide brush and a cloth. I started by brushing on a fine coat of paint in a criss-cross manner and then lightly rubbed it with the cloth to give it a more muted and covered effect.

By the end of the first application it was still a bit too brownish-looking, so I did another coat of criss-crossing and rubbing until I'd built up enough layers to leave a nice contrast with the natural wood, yet not be too white.

After it was fully dry, I grabbed the mask of my letters and lifted.

I couldn't help myself grinning like a complete fool. It was the exact look I had in mind!

And best of all - it cost me nothing. That's right, $0. And it was so easy to do.
I can't wait to hang it up in my new kitchen!

Sharing with: My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Keeping it Simple, Chic on a Shoestring, Natasha in Oz, Remodelaholic, Thrifty Décor Chick, The DIY Dreamer, Not Just a Housewife, DIY Showoff, Nifty thrifty things, Oh My Creative, Coastal Charm, A Bowl Full of Lemons, Savvy Southern style,
Love grows Wild


  1. Thanks so much for sharing your project at the Say G'Day Saturday linky party. I just pinned your post.

    Hope your week has been fabulous and that you connected with some other fun bloggers at our weekly link up.

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

    1. Thanks Natasha. I only just found your blog and linky party, so rest assured I'll be returning! It's nice to see a fellow Aussie around :)

  2. I love old wooden signs, especially ones that you can make yourself! Love it!

    1. Thanks Brooke. It was so easy too!

  3. Love your cafe sign! I'm featuring tomorrow in my Friday Features... thanks for linking up!

    1. Thanks so much for featuring me Maryann - you are awesome! So many inspiring ideas, so little time!


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