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How to make DIY stenciled signs

I am no artist.  Crafty, yes.  Artistic, no.  So you can believe me when I promise that anyone can learn how to make DIY stenciled signs.

This project is another thrift store find that I turned into something unique.  You can use this simple technique to make any sort of design you want.  Copy my idea, or let it inspire you.

Either way, I’ll show you how to paint a sign using a stencil you can make yourself.


1.  Get a sign board

To start, you’ll need a backing board for your art project.  You can buy these everywhere these days.

As always, my favorite spot to pick one up is my local thrift store.  Find something you can paint over and turn into something new.

Sign board for stenciling

I got this wall hanging for just a couple bucks at Goodwill.  The price tag from Hobby Lobby was still on the back for $17.99!

2.  Paint the background color

Apply a coat of acrylic craft paint as the background color for your stenciled sign.

I initially chose black.  As the design evolved, I ended up just kept the black border, and filled the center with an off-white color.  (I mixed a few drops of brown paint into the white.)

3.  Create a border

If you want to create a border around you sign, like I did, it’s as easy as laying a few strips of masking tape.

I placed two strips of tape around the edge of my sign board, leaving about 1/4″ gap between them.  A quick coat of metallic spray paint created the border line.

Make sure to allow the spray paint to dry completely before pealing off the masking tape.

4.  Make your own stencil

Now the fun part!

I wanted to make a sign with a tea pot.  So, I searched through free clip art until I found an image I liked.  You can use absolutely any image you like for your artwork.

Download the image, and print it out on card stock or other sturdy paper.

How to make a stencil

Use a craft knife to cut around the edges of the design, and remove the extra bits.  You just made your own stencil!

5.  Place the DIY stencil on the sign

Apply small pieces of double sided tape to the back of your stencil.  Then stick it in place on your board.

Attach a stencil

6.  Paint the stencil design

With a small paint brush, fill in the stencil area with a light coat of craft paint.

How to paint a stencil

I had a little bit of trouble with the paint wanting to bleed under the stencil.  You may need to hold the stencil down with your fingers in some spots, to help keep the paint where you want it.

Again, let the paint dry completely before removing the stencil.  Be gentle, so the double sided tape doesn’t cause any damage to the paint underneath.

7.  Apply a coat of varnish

I always like to finish my projects with a coat of varnish.  It protects the paint, and also adds a touch of shine.

Varnish a hand painted sign

Apply a thin coat or two of acrylic craft varnish with a wide paint brush.

8.  Enjoy your DIY stenciled signs

You just made your own artwork!

I promised it was easy to make your own stencil.  This is a cute and fun project, and also makes a great gift.  Here’s how mine turned out.

Painted teapot sign

It’s now hanging in my kitchen.  Nothing is quite as cozy as a hot cup of tea, but a cute painted stencil sign might be the next best thing!

Other Easy DIY Artwork

Custom painted artwork is a fun and easy way to add personality to your home.  Be sure to check out these other fun and easy DIY projects I know you’ll love.

Make this adorable diy dog sign for your kitchen
How to make hand lettered signs
DIY address number sign

Make your own painting stencilHow to make DIY stenciled signs

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