diy: antique dining room sign

Friday, January 3, 2014

I've seen variations of the "eat" sign around pinterest and interior design websites alike, and I fell in love with it right away. And I knew it would be simple enough to make one for myself.

(Especially after the countless hobby lobby trips that were made while Jason and I were engaged since almost everything in our wedding was diy. 
I basically knew the entire store's inventory and product lines.)

I had seen some wooden letters one of the last times we were there, and I knew that those would work great for a project like this. When we were in the store this past weekend, I saw these paper mache letters and loved the font, so these ones came home with us instead. They're light-weight, and can be hung from the wall with sticky tack which makes them easy to move around like it's nobody's business. (Except your own, maybe.)

While we were at hobby lobby, we also scoured the aisles and spent a lot of time in our alma mater making sure we didn't miss seeing one thing. (Alma mater, store you frequented enough to know every employee's idiosyncrasies, big difference.)
While visiting our long lost favorite store ever, we found the "grace" sign which we thought would be perfect for the dining room also. And it was 50% off!
The chalkboard sign is actually a prop from our engagement photoshoot. The sign was from Michael's and we just wrote our wedding date on it with chalk for the shoot. It was definitely too cute to just leave laying around somewhere, so on the wall it went!

But back to business, here.

for the dining room sign you will need:
paper mache letters (the ones I used are from hobby lobby)
paint in a variety of colors
paint brush
sticky tack
some pent up ambition to make a mess

This whole project started out by mistake, actually.
For the past few days, I had been wondering what color to paint those letters when I would think about them. My mind would scroll through the paint colors we had, and nothing really did it for me.
So, in my regular indecisive fashion, I had to try


Let me explain:
Between the colors left over from the previous owners of our house, the paint colors we had before moving, and the paint colors we have acquired since,
it wasn't long before the back of my letter "E" was covered in finger smudges from eight different colors.

None of them seemed to be cutting it, except one. At this point I was still convinced the cardboard color looked best, and was mildly sure of myself about hanging them on the wall in their bare glory.

But one color looked alright. So with a paintbrush I began to cover the entire backside of the letter just in case I changed my mind and wanted the cardboard look still. I ran downstairs to hold it up against the wall, noting that the black and blues that were showing through the paint made it look pretty neat in an antique way.

So I decided to do just that for the other two letters.

So here's how I did it:

Literally just put your fingertip in the paint, and smudge to your inner 4 year old self's content.

Add different colors

This is one of the letters when I was done smudging paint on it.
I think the yellow paint shade should be called "Nacho Cheese". 

Then I used an angled brush to cover the smudges with my top coat of paint. This is the color paint that will be showing, but don't lay it on too thick! You want to have some of the color from all your valiant attempts at smudging to show through still, it's what gives it an antiqued look. The brush strokes combined with some of the paint smudges showing through make it look like wood grain under the paint.

I only painted the top surface of my letters, and left the sides bare. The contrast in color from the painted to the non-painted surface (which is a light cardboard color) adds interesting shadowing detail to the letters when they hang on the wall that you wouldn't have if they were completely painted.

This is where the letters hang in our dining room. I realize you can't tell it's the dining room from the picture, but that's also because we don't exactly have a dining table.
Or chairs.

Right now it's kind of just:
"The open space with a chandelier hanging in the middle of it. Watch your head" room.

And this way you also don't get to see the remaining "downstairs moving mess".
It's a win-win for us all.

Except for us for not having a dining table.
We're going to be building one.
That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

Here's the finished project again! I just made several small dots of sticky tack on the back of the letters, and hung them up. From here you can see how the sides of the letters are a slightly different color since I left those the raw-cardboard color. I think it adds an extra contemporary pop to the antique finish. (:

I love typography and this may not be my last word-hanging for our house!
What other words do you think would be cute to hang around the house?
I think "love" and "family" and "happy" would be cute additions for other rooms too!

Happy painting!

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