Quick and Inexpensive Signs

Quick and Inexpensive Signs

How I made these signs for less than $30.00

In order to stay on my limited budget while updating an older manufactured home, I am trying to keep some of my decorating costs to a minimum. Now a days you can get signs pretty inexpensive at stores like Michael’s and Hobby Lobby. They almost always have them on sale. However, you can make them for even cheaper and not have to chase all over the place to get the sayings you really want.

I have made a variety of signs ranging from $5.00 a piece to $15.00. MDF boards are very inexpensive to purchase. Home Depot has a 2×2′ board for around $5.00. I found some that were actually marked down to $3.98 so I bought three of them. Two I kept full size and the third one, the Home Depot lumber representative cut down into 4 equal portions. This gave me four 1′ square boards to make smaller signs. I also purchased the cheapest pine strips that my Home Depot had. They are very basic but I love the rustic element they create on the edge of a white sign.

Besides the boards, here is a list of what other items I purchased or had on hand and the approximate cost.

Items needed:

Two 2′ x 2′ MDF boards ($8.62)

4 oz. of white chalk paint (I always use a 40% off coupon at Michael’s and I can get this for around $5.00)

1/2 oz. black chalk paint (I’ve been lucky enough to find the small black chalk paint in various dollar bins) $1.00

Vinyl shelf paper from the Dollar Tree ($1.00)

Magic Cover (clear transparent shelf paper) – used to transfer your vinyl stencil to your board – $1.00 from the Dollar Tree (it will let you do about 8 signs)

3 – 8′ 1×2″ pine boards that were $1.18 a board. (for a total of $3.83)

1 larger foam brush for the white chalk paint (less than $1.00)

One cosmetic sponge or 1 small foam brush for the black chalk paint lettering (less than $1.00)

Finishing nails and wood glue

You will need a small amount of stain for these strips. (If you aren’t brand shopping, a small container of stain is about $4.00 at Walmart). But you really need such a small amount hopefully you just have some hanging out in your garage.

If you don’t have a vinyl cutter (Silhouette or Cricut style) or don’t know anyone who does… there are a few other ways to transfer your design which I will tell you about at the end of this blog.

Now if you add all that up, I spent less than $30.00 to create two beautiful 2′ x 2′ signs that saved me hours of shopping trying to find the exact saying I wanted and change up the decor of my room pretty effortlessly.

To start, just apply two coats of the white chalk paint to the boards. I try to allow at least 4 hours time for the paint to fully dry and adhere before I start to stencil. I am a multi-tasker so this break is always a great time to thoroughly sand and stain your trim boards. However, I am a very impatient person and 4 hours is a long time to wait in my book when I want to have an instant gratification project. And really this project can be just that. You can have these signs made in one day.

Here is the design once I cut it out with my Silhouette. Normally I buy and utilize Oracal vinyl but I wanted to try out the shelf paper to see just how cheaply I could make signs and how well the product worked. I was very pleasantly surprised. Since this adhesive paper is thinner than Oracal vinyl, I just decreased the pressure setting on the blade.

I am all about easy clean up and saving money. I have to say paper plates and cosmetic sponges are my go to.

You definitely don’t have to apply a poly to your trim boards but, I do happen to love this product. It dries very quickly.

Since your signs measure 24″ x 24″, You will need to cut your trim boards as follows.

4 – 24″ boards (2 for each sign)

4 – 25 1/2″ boards (2 for each sign)

The frames are super easy to add if you have a nail gun but, you actually don’t need one. Just use some small finishing nails and a hammer. Don’t worry if they aren’t perfect. Remember you are going for the rustic look and that was the good thing about the pine strips that I chose.

Now this isn’t the best picture of the signs but they really do look great close up. The vinyl shelf paper worked great to transfer the design over. If you don’t have a machine that cuts vinyl or don’t know someone who does, you can always just print out the design you want on paper. Then just take a pencil and fully chalk up the back with the lead of the pencil. Put your design on your board and then just trace the words. This will leave the lead pencil to transfer on top of the white background. You have to have a pretty steady hand and a small paint brush to hand paint your design but it can be done. There are also ETSY sellers that will print out your vinyl design and mail it to you for a relatively low fee. This fee can be a lot less than the money you will spend on gas trying to shop to find the exact saying you want, so definitely it is worth considering.

and you might want to know what I did with two of those other 12″ boards I made from the third board… Here is a very simple design. These two signs utilized the same paint from the other list. So the only thing I had to buy was more trim boards. I used a Poplar trim board for these. The boards were $1.82 for a 4′ board but a higher grade of wood than the previous trim boards I used. I was able to make these signs for less than $10. Actually, they were probably less than $8. All in all, I considered my day of making these signs a win-win for me. I now have 4 great pieces of art work that coordinate well together and cost me less than $40 for all the supplies.

Hopefully you will feel inspired to make a few inexpensive items to update a space and utilize your budget to do the important improvements to your home.

Soon I’ll be sharing with you all the other places to considering when picking out wood for your sign projects. I made this one for less than $15.00. You can too.

I have a few different locations that I pick up wood at besides the usual hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s. Stay tuned… I’ll soon be sharing all the options that I have found to pick up wood super cheap or FREE!