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Faux French Enameled Signs For Doors

If you love blue and white or any color for that matter of French Enameled signs you see online and in boutiques but want to personalize the sign for your home, then here is an easy sign making tutorial so you can make your own.


You know me… I like to do things in my own style and when I can’t find what I envision when I am out and about, then I find a way to make it myself. This was the case when I went looking for something to add a little personality to the “hallway-of-darkness” without adding anything that would get in the way since it is a narrow space.

There are four 6-paneled doors in the hallway and two louvered doors where the laundry area is. With so many doors, I thought it would be fun to label them.

French enameled sign

Source: Houzz

This was the type of French enameled sign I was searching for.

I knew there was a chance to find a sign that said: TOILETTE, but was pretty certain there would be ZERO chance to find signs with the words… CHINA, GARAGE, and PARTY.

Hallway with French Enameled signs

So I made them the signs myself. I bought everything I needed to make them months ago, but while enjoying some down time over the past few weeks, I found they were an easy project to do while I was sitting outside and enjoying the weather.

It’s very hard to get a good shot of the hallway since it is narrow and the light gets blocked from…

kitchen makeover on a DIY budget

…this row of cabinets in the kitchen. Maybe someday we will remove them, but I have gotten used to them and they are wonderful for kitchen storage.

I gave each of the four, 6-paneled doors in the hallway a name for what is behind the door.

DIY French Enameled Signs

One leads to the garage…

How to make faux French enameled signs

…another is the China Closet. I no longer have a formal dining room, and this closet serves to hold more formal serving pieces and more.

China closet organizing idea

I made the inside over to better accommodate it for my needs. You can read about it in this post: Small Closet Makeover

How to make French Enameled Door Signs

Across from the China closet is an identical closet I call the Party closet. I haven’t made the inside over yet, but plan to do that in the fall. If you read my post last week about setting up a Party tote then you may recall I mentioned that I now have a Party closet.

Beadboard hallway

The last door opens to the powder room which we made over last year. It is now labeled as “Toilette”.  

What I love most about these faux French enameled signs is that they are mine, flaws and all. I don’t decorate to add perfection to my surroundings. I only like to add items that will make me smile and make me feel at home.  Also, making things instead of buying mass-merchandised items makes my surrounding unique and just right for my style.

How to Make Faux French Enameled Signs

supplies needed:

  • 12″ x 3-1/4″ x 1″ piece of craft wood
  • Base color paint and paint for lettering – I used white chalk paint and Mineral Fusion Paint in Liberty Blue for the lettering
  • Paintbrushes – one wide to paint plaque, fine-tipped for lettering
  • Sandpaper
  • Graphite transfer paper
  • Ruler
  • 3M Hanging Strips – Flat style, not the kind with the hook and loops
  • Drill and drillbit
  • Silver Nailheads – 2 for each sign
  • Tacky glue
  • pencil
  • Jigsaw
  • Optional: Permanent markers in the color of your lettering and a clear ruler

I used the free font, Pottery Barn for the lettering on each sign.  You can find the link to the font here:  Pottery Barn font

If you would like to use the words and shape I did for my door signs, here are the pdfs. of each for you to save to your computer.

CHINA | PARTY | TOILETTE GARAGE

How to make French Enameled Door Signs
  1. You can leave the boards in a rectangular shape or use one of the .pdf’s above to use as a template. Use a pencil to draw the shape on the wood and then use a jigsaw to cut the shape out.  Use a drill and small drill bit to make a small hole on each end where a nail head will go.
Free printables to make faux French enameled signs

2. Using your printer, create the words you would like on your sign(s). Cut out.

How to transfer lettering to a sign

3. Using white chalk paint, paint two coats on board. Let dry.

How to transfer lettering to wood

4. When paint is dry,  transfer lettering. To do this, lay a piece of graphite paper face down on board, then your printout. Make sure they are straight and centered, use painter’s tape to secure both to wood.

DIY Make French Door Signs and How to transfer lettering to wood

5. Use a pencil to trace over the lettering on your printout. When you remove it, it should look like my sign for my Garage in the above photo.

TIP: Use rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball to remove any unwanted graphite that may have been transferred.

How to transfer lettering to wood and them paint it

6. Using craft paint or Fusion Mineral Paint and a fine-tipped paint brush, fill in the lettering with paint.

How to make French Enameled Door Signs using a marker

7. Another way to color in the lettering is to use a permanent marker. When coloring in the border use a clear ruler. If you use this method and plan to seal with clear wax, wait for it to dry before sealing so the marker does not smear.

8. Since my lettering was not perfect, I went over each sign with 100 grit sandpaper to age the signs a teeny bit so it looks like they are not old, but handmade.

9. Once paint is dry and I lightly sanded over the surface, use Johnson’s Paste Wax or any soft wax or water-based Minwax Polycrylic to seal the signs. I use the wax and rubbed on a thin coat using a piece of an old t-shirt and then buffed the wax to bring up a soft sheen.

How to hang small door signs

To hang: I used Command Brand hanging strips. The silver nail heads are decorative and not actually holding the signs on the doors.

DIY-French-Enameld-signs-for-doors-and-more

I placed a nailhead into the holes I pre-drilled. A few of them were loose so I used a dab of Tacky Glue to secure.

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If you like the look of French Enameled signs, you may like the numbered metal tags I made. They really look like enamel. You can check them out here: French Enameled Number Tags

For more projects showing how to use graphite paper to transfer typography to make something decorative, check out this post: How to Transfer Typography To Wood Furniture

Wood-sign-ideas-DIY-French-Enameled-signs-for-doors-and-more

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27 Comments

  1. These signs are gorgeous… Doing this project without the ever popular criciut is wonderful as I do not own one. I totally appreciate the art behind doing the signs completely by hand . I just love them and look forward to following all you do. Thank you for sharing. Deb Johnson

  2. Love the door signs and your creative way to hang them. Never thought of using the command hook refills by themselves. I have a number of flat back frames and other light decor I want to hang in my new house and will use this method. Want to make some of your door signs and also the number tags for baskets on my laundry/pantry shelves. Will probably use black/dark grey for the lettering and gloss poly so they look like enamel. Thanks so much for sharing a great DIY. I look forward to future posts

  3. Hi, DIANE. It’s a great job. I love DIY works and loves unique DIY works. Why i never thinking about french enameled signs for door. I wanna make door sign within 2 weeks. After I finished making this project. I’ll share that little detail with you towards the end of the post

  4. Amazing DIY idea, It is so cute! I’m also going to remodel my kitchen and I love the tips!

  5. You make it look so easy. I’m also going to remodel my kitchen and I love the tips!

  6. These faux signs look so adorable!! I really like their style, so I’m definitely making some for my home. Thank you for the details!

    1. Hi Valerie – Thanks – I have had the wood cut since March. They have been sitting on my worktable since then. It feels nice to see the signs completed and my vision come to life.

      1. I have been searching for this online and I found you! Thanks. Question …..can you explain how to make the printing I like, say the word “supplies”, and be able print it out in the size lettering I would want on an 8×11 sheet of paper. Help…..Jane

        1. Hi Jane – Do you have a word processing program on your computer? – Microsoft Word or photo editing software like Photoshop Elements installed? I use either one of these and fonts that are on your computer or you can get free fonts that you download to your computer. Use the font you want to create the names.

          If you have font your like -open it up and create a blank 8 x 11 document. Type the word you want in the font you want on the page. Resize the size of the word on the page to the size you want. In Microsoft Word, you highlight the word, choose the font point size you want. When it is big enough, simply print it to use however you want.

  7. As usual, you never cease to amaze- not only with your clever home dec ideas but the energy to actually DO all that you THINK of! These are so nice and add such a touch of personality to your home! Sigh… I feel like such a slouch!…

    1. Thanks Joanne – Creating and doing projects is what I do for a living. It is my full-time job, so I do get more done for that reason. You should not ever, ever feel like a slouch. We all do things in our own time and way and best of all… in our own style.

  8. I love the faux enamel signs and I especially love the number tags on your kitchen baskets. I pinned and saved that idea years ago, but the link to the directions now no longer valid. Dang. I wish I could remember all the steps.
    You’re ideas are so inspiring. Thanks for sharing the progress you are making in your wonderful lakeside home!

  9. this is a fabulous idea! 35 years ago I worked at a ceramic studio where the owner was doing faux French enamel room number and toilette signs in ceramic for a local hotel. she let me use the mold to make tiles for my French country Kitchen which I eventually made into a tray. We recently moved to a new house with a hallway of doors so I can’t wait to copy this idea. Thank you.

    1. Hi Mary – Thanks I went back and forth to what colors to use, border, and even considered using a blue background with white lettering, but that didn’t look right. The white background with blue lettering ended up looking the best.

  10. Looks great, thanks for sharing. I am so behind the times – I didn’t know Command made a product that is just the strip without any hook to it! Sounds great for hanging smaller/flat items.

    1. The thin Command Brand strips come with hooks, there are a few different sizes. I buy the refill packs so I can use the strips to hang other stuff like the signs with no need to have to purchase the Command Brand hooks.

  11. i love this idea! once we move and get settled into a new place, i will definitely be doing this! thank you for sharing.

  12. Brilliant! I love your hallway. It’s totally come to life with your custom treatments!