Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How to Make a New “Old” Sign

Tune Up Square WM

If you’ve been a reader for a while you know how much I enjoy making something new look old. 

My favourite victim? Painted signs.

Stencilled and Distressed WM

Bloom Sign Before and After

Vintage Sign DIY

I have an entire Pinterest board of sign inspiration which includes this lovely pair from a site called 1stdibs:

Pinterest Tune Up Sign

Living with a mechanic, these would fit right in at our house.

Here’s my version of the second sign (which I promise I have no intention of selling since it is very, very similar).

Tune Up Sign WM

How to make a new “old” sign:

Paint board with blue acrylic paint.

Apply Contact paper stencil cut with Silhouette (Font = Bebas Neue) *everything blue was covered with Contact paper.

Paint over board and stencil with another coat of blue paint so that any colour that bleeds under the stencil is the base colour (totally worked!).

Spray paint top coat in Heirloom White. Heirloom White, you never fail me!

Peel off Contact paper stencil while still wet to reveal this:

Tune Up Sign No Distressing

Look at those crisp letters! This was my best stencilling job EVER!

But, I wanted the sign to look old not new so I did the same thing as what I did with my vintage-inspired grocery sign – sand, sand and then sand some more!

To make it look a little dirtier I inked some spots with Tim Holtz’ distress ink and then smudged it in/wiped it off.

Tune Up Sign on Porch WM

Old-ish Canadian Tire tool box courtesy of Mr. Mechanic.

(I wanted to turn it into a fall planter filled with mums but that was vetoed)


Tune Up Sign Oil Can WM

Oil funnel courtesy of the shed at the cottage.

It belonged to Mr. Mechanic’s Grandpa.


Tune Up Sign 1 WM


Tune Up Sign in Toolbox WM

Before I made this I had already chosen the perfect spot to hang it: the wall across the bottom of the basement stairs. By hanging it low on the wall, you can see it through the window in the back door and while standing on the landing inside. 

The basement beyond the sign may be a work in progress, but the stairs have never looked better!

What do you think of my latest new “old” sign?

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P.S. Is anyone getting a higher than normal number of spam Blogger comments recently?  I don’t want to have to add Captcha to commenting but they’re driving me crazy!
P.P.S. Oh my goodness, 99 posts! Whew!

I link up at: Serenity Now, I {Heart} Naptime, Under The Table And Dreaming, Nifty Thrifty Things, Simply Klassic Home, Home Stories A to Z, Craftomaniac, Skip To My Lou, Not JUST A Housewife, A Bowl Full Of Lemons, Alderberry Hill, I Should Be Mopping The Floor, A Diamond In The Stuff, Creatively Living, The Winthrop Chronicles, Clean & Scentsible, Oopsey Daisy, Lil’ Luna, Someday Crafts, Live.Laugh.Rowe, The 36th Avenue, aka design, House of Hepworths, 52 Mantels, Thrifty Decorating, Crafty Scrappy Happy, How To Nest For Less, Tatertots & Jello, The Grant Life, It’s Overflowing, Lolly Jane, Too Much Time, Six Sisters’ Stuff, Positively Splendid, My {Re}purposed Life, Unrefined By Design, Just Us Four, Liz Marie Blog and The Crafted Sparrow


  1. You are a stenciling diva! I ALWAYS have drips and leaks all over my painted signs. I will have to try that second coat over the stencil trick. Maybe that will take my signs from Yikes! to Yippee!!
    I love how you paid hommage to hubby's job. I bet he loved the sign!

  2. What a great sign! You have done a perfectly professional job! I can't wait to try your way of stenciling! Oh ya, I just remembered that I don't have a Silhouette. Hmm...I guess I'll have to try it with my own cut out letters instead. I'm thinking of watching for a Silhouette sale during the American Thanksgiving. Sometimes, my frugality is crazy! :)
    I'm sure Mr. Mechanic loves this sign! Another great job, Claire! I'm definitely posting this!
    ps. Luckily, I've only had 1 spam comment so far. Hopefully no more!

  3. Love the way you aged the sign. I would beg to be able to put yellow mums in that toolbox - they would be perfect. Only had one spammer lately, but it was a doozie - invited me to a nude party in London! I always report them.

    Distressed Donna Down Home

  4. Love this sign Anne - pretty distressing and the font is fantastic! Great tute!!

  5. Love it! Great sign! Congratulations on 99 posts!
    Regarding the spam - when I had a higher than normal response to a post (like the aqua pumpkin post), I get a couple, but when it is just a few real comments, I don't seem to get them. My mom has a Wordpress blog and it gets hit badly. She has all kinds of anti-spamware, too. Who knows why?
    Other than reporting as spam, I haven't looked into it yet. Once it becomes a real annoyance I might check into it. Forever lazy :)

  6. What a great post. I enjoyed it so much. I think that we must be on the same wave link. I just published a post on making a new antique sign. Come on over . . . I am your newest follower, Connie :)

  7. I love old signs, too! And I also have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to them. I'm in the process of making one right now. Darn, I wish I had a stencil cutting machine! That would make life so much easier! I'm a new follower on here and Pinterest. Can't wait to see more!

  8. Your sign looks great. I love the look of old signs and it is so fun to be able to create them "new".

  9. Love this!! Waiting for my silhouette to arrive in the mail...where to start?! Contact paper stencil: brilliant.

  10. Love this!! Waiting for my silhouette to arrive in the mail...where to start?! Contact paper stencil: brilliant.


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