Published On January 30, 2018 | Last Updated November 07, 2018

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DIY dog sign tutorial

First, I have to admit that I was not the clever person who came up with this saying.  I saw it somewhere, and decided to make it into this ridiculously cute sign.

That’s the great thing about DIY signs.  You can transform words into art, for just a few dollars.

DIY painted wood sign



DIY dog sign supplies

  1. Sign board (The one I used was about 11″ x 16″.  I found it at a thrift store, but there is a huge selection at any craft store.)
  2. Acrylic craft paints
  3. Paint brushes
  4. Varnish
  5. Paint pens
  6. Graphite pencil
  7. [popup_trigger id=”1112″ tag=”span”]Dog sign template[/popup_trigger]
  8. Cellophane tape

Optional collar:

  1. Scrap piece of necklace chain
  2. Charm or bead
  3. Drill
  4. Wire

To start this project, I first went to a craft store to look for a sign board to use for the backing.  The selection was overwhelming!  (And to be honest, a little pricey.)  I decided not to buy anything, while I was still developing a vision for the project.

After the craft store, I stopped by Goodwill (because I love thrift stores).  There in the back, I found this odd little sign, with a price sticker color that happened to be on half-off sale that day.  Perfect.

DIY home sign
Check your thrift store for a sign you can repurpose.

Here’s how I transformed this generic thrift store sign into this adorable piece of art.

1. Prepare the sign board

If you buy a new sign board from the craft store, you won’t have to do this step.  You might just want to lightly sand the surface before you start painting.

My sign board had funky little house-shaped cutouts glued to the bottom.  I gently pried these off and then sanded gently to remove any glue, and to prep the rest of the surface.

The original sign also had a raised block with a heart in the word “HOME.”  I decided to make this part of my design.  This sort of creativity is what will make your artwork unique.

2. Paint the background color

Our family has a black dog, and I knew I wanted the dog silhouette to be black.  So, I chose a black base coat, covered in a thin layer of white.

Using acrylic paints, brush on a thick coat of the base layer, covering the whole sign board.

Once the base is dry, apply the top coat.  To make a streaked effect, don’t put very much paint on the brush when applying the top color.

I chose to leave the raised block solid black, as part of the design.  The background is part of the artwork, too.

You can choose any colors your want for your sign.  You can also use a solid color, instead of applying the streaked top color if you want a more uniform look.

3. Transfer the template

If you haven’t already, click here to

[popup_trigger id=”1112″ tag=”span”]download and print your free copy of this sign template[/popup_trigger]

.  It will take two sheets of 8.5″ x 11″ paper.  You can cut out sections and play with the placement of the words on your sign board.

To transfer the template to the sign, color the back of the paper with a graphite pencil.  (Just like we did to make these silhouettes.)

Place the template where you want it, and then use a small piece of tape to hold it in place.

TIP:  Stick the tape to your pants first.  (What?)  It will pick up a little bit of lint, making it less sticky.  That way you won’t accidentally peel off any of the base paint when you remove the template.

Trace over the template with a ball point pen, pressing pretty hard.  This will transfer the pencil marks to the wood.

4. Write with paint pens

Once you’ve transferred the words to the sign board, you can just trace over the pencil marks with your paint pen.  Color in the thicker letters after you trace the outline.

Make a painted word sign
Trace over the pencil marks with a paint pen.

5.  Make the silhouette

To save a little effort, I traced the outline of the dog silhouette with the paint pen.  Then I filled in the body with my paint brush and black paint.

DIY dog sign
Fill in the silhouette with paint.

As you can see, I left just a little white space to outline the edge of the ear.

6. Apply a coat of varnish

To protect the painted surface, and add a little shine, I chose to brush on two coats of varnish.

Be patient, and wait until the paint is completely dry before you varnish!  Otherwise, you’ll create streaks.

Varnish a diy wood sign
Apply varnish to protect the paint and add shine.

You can stop there and enjoy a super cute sign.  I decided mine needed one more special touch.

7. Add a collar

As a regular crafter, I had a scrap piece of chain from a necklace lying around.  I also found a little charm that could look like an ID tag.  The idea for a collar was born.

You can also use a bead, or any other charm you might have.  Or just use plain chain.  Or even glue on a piece of ribbon instead of using chain at all.

To attach a chain collar, drill a hole on each side of the dog’s neck using the smallest bit you have.

Wooden dog sign
Use your smallest bit to drill two holes.

Loop a thin piece of wire through one link of chain on both sides of the collar.  Twist the ends together, and push them through the holes.

Flip the board over, and press the ends of the wire down flat.  This will be enough to hold the chain in place.

Enjoy a smile

Hang your finished sign in the kitchen, and enjoy a smile every time you see it.  And every time you drop something on the floor, and don’t have a chance to pick it up before it disappears.

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