For a number of years I have been earmarking nautical maps as home decor. The day has finally come where I finally have one hanging on my wall – and I want to share how I did it for a fraction of the cost. (Are you surprised?)
How much wood could a woodchuck chuck…kidding!
I’ve always wanted one of those signs that said “As for me & my house, we will serve the Lord” to put in our home. We’ve seen them in stores, but most of them are not our style. So I decided to make one. How hard could it be?
I actually had all the supplies already on hand, so I hunkered down one evening and got to work.
Find yourself a piece of wood. I’m sure Home Depot and Loews have little pieces to buy, but this one was just sitting in our basement begging for love. I just cleaned it off and sanded some rough patches.
Paint it! I used a blue acrylic paint that you can buy for about $2 at any art store. Just slap it on. I didn’t prime the piece or anything. It won’t be handled often, so you won’t need to worry about wear and tear. I also wanted a bit of a watery, weathered look so I didn’t go on too thick. Let it dry.
Pick your words. Type it up on your computer and choose a font that will be fairly easy for you to replicate (blocky = easy). Make sure you measure your piece of wood and determine how your wording will best fit within that size. I created mine in Adobe Illustrator – but Word or PowerPoint would be fine also. Print it out and test the size. (My words measure 6×10′”)
Tracing time. Use a soft-tipped pencil. (Did you know pencils come in hardness levels from A1-B9? A1 is a very hard lead, B9 is a thick soft lead. You can get them at any local art store.) I choose a B9 because I wanted a very soft lead for the transferring process. Turn your paper over and trace the outlines of each letter.
If you can’t see right through the paper, you can use a light table (lucky person!), or tape the paper up to a window so the light will shine through (an old art class trick). Make sure you press hard.
Transfer time. Place your paper printer side up on the wood block. Hold it down firmly with one hand. With the other aggressively scribble over the words. Go to town! The pressure of the pencil should cause the lead on the other side to leave a trace on the paint.
Peek under to make sure it’s transferring, but don’t move your hand that is holding the paper! Otherwise you will end up with crooked lines.
The transfer should look like this when you’re done.
Paint the letters. I choose a very tiny, thin, stubby brush for my lettering. If you don’t have steady hands I would buy a paint pen from any local art store. It may be easier. I might try that next time!
You will want to go over it a few times and refine your edges. It doesn’t need to be perfect because you can distress it. (And it’s part of the charm!)
After it’s dried, get out your sandpaper! It can be a high grit (I think I used 220) since you’ll only be sanding off paint. I sanded all the edges and a few spots on the surfaces and some of the wording.
I also used a very low grit (60) just a tiny bit to get the scratches.
Bada boom. You’re done.
I’m not sure how we’ll display it yet: prop it up, put a frame hook on the back, or attach some string with hooks in the top. The possibilities are endless!!
Wood: free, or under $10