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.
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.
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…
…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.
One leads to the garage…
…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.
I made the inside over to better accommodate it for my needs. You can read about it in this post: Small Closet Makeover
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.
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
- 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
- Graphite transfer paper
- 3M Hanging Strips – Flat style, not the kind with the hook and loops
- Drill and drillbit
- Silver Nailheads – 2 for each sign
- Tacky glue
- 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.
- 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.
2. Using your printer, create the words you would like on your sign(s). Cut out.
3. Using white chalk paint, paint two coats on board. Let dry.
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.
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.
6. Using craft paint or Fusion Mineral Paint and a fine-tipped paint brush, fill in the lettering with paint.
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.
To hang: I used Command Brand hanging strips. The silver nail heads are decorative and not actually holding the signs on the doors.
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.
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