Build a Unique Wall Art Sign with Stuff you Can Find Around the House
A balance of distressing techniques and industrial assemblage. This piece of DIY Wall Art has unique rustic charm.
A combination of Christmas colors, pieces of shiny brass, nickel and copper hardware, and touches of seasonal symbols work together to create a unique, rustic wall art piece!
I wanted to create something unique to hang on the walls of our farmhouse during the holidays. This Rusty Letters DIY Holiday Wall Art was a lot of fun and was the first time I used my brand new Ryobi power tools! As always, wonderful DIY memories were made and lessons for future projects learned. I share them with y’all in this post!
I opened some Christmas gifts early and used some of my new RYOBI tools to create this DIY piece!
The Planning Stages : Laying out the letters for the “beLieVe” sign in the garage workshop.
Creating letters out of items you can find around your house would be a fun activity for everyone in the family. Think of it as a creative letter scavenger hunt while families are together for the holidays. The whole family can enjoy their part in creating the final product and delight in it as it is hung on the wall for all to see!
For this DIY wall sign, I wanted to create something industrial and rustic — my two favorite home décor styles at the moment – and I wanted to do it using – LETTERS!
I love the way the natural daylight highlights the rustic, aged details of this piece– the knots & grain in the pine board, places where the winter grey paint shows through the barn red, and the well-worn edges of the board and letters.
I got lucky while browsing Pinterest and discovered BeyondthePicketFence blog — where DIYer Becky shares her amazing talent for re-purposing, building, and painting wood! I really loved her “Paint Tutorial” post, which is where I learned the distressing technique I used in this project.
I love distressing/antiquing wax and paste because you don’t have to be careful or precise. I use the same brush. I don’t clean my brush in water. I mix colors, mediums, supplies, and techniques … and at the project’s end… it just seems to work! Plus, it is super FUN!
As a hand-letterer, fan of typography, lover of words, and admirer of all the ABCs– I couldn’t wait to create a piece of holiday letter art to hang on the walls of our farmhouse! I chose to assemble the letters out of various objects and parts I found while organizing my garage and barn. Here’s how I did it!
After a recent garage purge and reorganization (blog post coming soon), it was the perfect time to break in my new set of Ryobi tools and workshop layout. My goals were to build my own Rusty Letters Wall Art Sign …. AND, do the impossible– get the rest of the “fam” in the holiday spirit!
The final “beLievE” sign all laid out and arranged in order on my new, awesome Folding Workbench by Keter.
- Wooden board or plank (12’’ by 30’’)
- E600 glue
- Power Sander
- Antiquing Gel/Wax
- Chipboard & Paper Mache letters (I mixed sizes, materials, and fonts for a more primitive look)
- Copper Tubing
- Wood Glue (Liquid Nails)
- Decorative Embellishments
Use game pieces, ornaments, chipboard shapes, wire, plumbing parts, electrical tools and letterpress ABC’s to make each letter special and unique.
Pull out a variety of supplies and embellishments so you can try different combinations while you’re assembling the different letters. Put thought into and use parts and pieces that have sentimental value to you or members of your family!
How to Create it:
1. Create Each Letter with a Background Piece to Mount It
To add dimension, depth, and interest, attach some letters directly to the wood board, while mounting others to backgrounds made from a variety of objects and materials.
[ Letter b ] scrap wood painted a glossy hunter green
[ Letter e ] an oval piece of thin chipboard
[ Letter L ] mounts directly to the board with a screw
[ Letter i ] E600 attaches the ruler and heavy brass faucet handle to the board\
[ Letter e ] metal lid of a cookie tin, spray painted silver
[ Letter v ] a cotton art canvas measuring 6″ w x 6″ h x 2” d
[ Letter E ] a piece of scrap wood distressed with Gilder’s Antiquing Paste
Explore your craft room and gather materials to create the letters. Go through your garage for scrap wood to build the background pieces you plan to mount each letter to. I created backgrounds out of scrap wood, cookie tin lids, and canvas panels.
You can choose to place some letters on backgrounds, while attaching others straight onto the board (like I did with the letter “L”). I found adding backgrounds, in a variety of different colors, helped add contrast between the letters and the board. This technique allowed for more variety in color and materials and adding depth to the piece.
I wanted to create a “believe” sign, because my mom LOVES the saying and it is for her Christmas Eve birthday present. One problem… I didn’t have a few of the letters I needed, (B, E, I), but I chose to improvise. Having to work with what I had turned out to produce really interesting results!
A wooden ruler, copper tubing, and an antique, brass faucet handle make up the letter “i” — the type COLD adds to the winter theme of the wall art sign @ textileandtype.com
Don’t limit yourself to the store-bought ABC’s, but to try create 2-3 letters out of ordinary objects you find around the house. You will love the primitive, rustic look of the letters you make with re-purposed items — like old bathroom hardware, cabinet pulls, and plumbing pipes.
One of the the three E’s. This one is made from a letter “c”, a children’s wooden block, rub-on stars, and is placed on the circle lid from a cookie tin that I spray-painted silver.
For Letter “L” I painted a red base coat, and topped it with a coat of blue/gray. I used the same painting technique I use on the board to distress the wood . I embellished the letter with pieces of broken snowflake ornaments.
My favorite example of an assembled letter is the letter “B” , which I made using an “I” that I found in my collection, a piece of curved, threaded, plumbing pipe I found in the barn, and left-over copper tubing I use to make hummingbird feeders & jewelry. Use what you can find — when you’re forced to get a little creative, amazing things can happen!
The letter “b” is made from objects found in our barn. Copper tubing is wrapped around a threaded plumbing pipe, attached to a bright, red letter, and mounted to a glossy, green piece of scrap wood @ TextileandType.com
I loved the way the “b” turned out when placed on a piece of block wood painted glossy green! It’s a good letter to start “beLieVE” Choose different shapes and colors to create the background for each letter. This is a good way to make the letters POP off the wood sign.
2. Paint + Sand + Distress the Board for the Sign.
Find a piece of board, lumber, or an old shelf to anchor the letters on. I used a piece of leftover wood, measuring 12’’ by 30’’.
I sanded the board first, then spray painted a base coat of winter gray/blue and let it dry. I re-sanded it and lightly painted a top layer of barn red.
I sanded again (focusing on the edges of the wood board), and then finished it using a dry bristle- brush, Gilder’s Paste Antiquing Wax, Rub-N-Buff and Minwax. This painting technique creates a distressed, worn-in look and gave the board a rustic, cottage-chic design I wanted.
Using a distressing technique inspired by Becky at BeyondthePicketFence. I apply shades of paint with a dry bristle-brush, add Gilder’s Paste Antiquing Wax, Rub N’ Buff & Minwax, which gives the sign a rustic, aged, look.
3. Attach Each Letter to the Board with Screws, Nails, or Wood Glue.
Lay out the letters on the board in the arrangement that looks best. I turned some letters to the side, instead of forming a straight line, to add a whimsical touch to the piece.
Attach the letters to the board using wood glue (Liquid Nails), screws, or nails – depending on the weight of the letter, the background piece, and the material it is made of.
Drilling a screw to the back of the scrap wood and into the letter “E” on the front. in orde to attach the two. Be sure to use short screws that won’t poke through the front.
Screws will keep the pieces the most secure. Just make sure if you decide to attach the letters to the board with a drill and screws, to choose screws that are just a bit longer than the width of the board + the width of the letter. This will keep the screw from going through the board. You don’t want to see the end of the screw from the front of your sign.
Using copper wire, I attached two glittery stars to the distressed letter “E” ending the work “BeLieve”
4. Add a Hanger to the Back of the Sign.
Using screws and heavy-duty wire, attach a hanger to the back of the board. Make sure it is strong enough to hold the whole weight of your sign and is balanced so it hangs straight.
I drilled a screw on both ends of the board, wrapped a heavy-duty wire around the screws and stretched the wire across the board. This helps balance the heavy sign so it hangs straight and doesn’t tilt to one side.
Using heavy-duty screws in the place of nails, or picture-hanging hardware, will prevent the sign from hanging askew or falling!
The hardware you use to hang your sign depends on the weight of the board. You might use whatever you’re used to when hanging wall art. You can use picture hanging hardware or other types of supplies.
5. Choose a Place in your Home to Hang your Rustic, “beLievE” Sign … and ENJOY!!
We hung our BELIEVE sign above the cased opening between our living room and kitchen. It is the first thing visitors see when they walk in the front door and it has gotten a lot of compliments over the holidays!
Henry (my loyal, DIY helper) believes in the magic of Christmas!