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Upcycled Wooden Garden Signage

Step by step instructions showing you how to make your own upcycled garden signage using recycled wooden planks, presented by Crafty Corner

For any questions contact us via email

Old wooden planks, broken cupboards? There is so much wood lying around that can easily be recycled into something. With this upcycling craft we created a range of beautiful, handmade inspirational signs to put in the garden using wooden off-cuts a cabinet maker threw away. Follow our easy step by step instructions and make your own recycled garden signs!

upcycled garden signs

What you will need:

  • 3x pieces of masonite or chipboard, sizing optional
  • 3x Paintbrushes, small, medium & large
  • Carbon paper, enough to cover your boards
  • Print out of your wording
  • Acrylic paint (we used white & green)
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Exterior varnish (resin based as opposed to urethane based)
  • Craft knife
  • Scissors
  • Sellotape
  • Working surface

This is fantastic way for you to create something unique and upcycled for your garden! You will be trying your hand at painting, or even practicing or refining your paint techniques during this great recycled craft project.

Step 1

We have used left over pieces of masonite and chipboard to create this project. If you have any spare flat pieces of wood, masonite or chipboard lying around in the garage please use these!
Our boards ranged in size between 470mm and 330mm by 170mm in size.

wooden masonite boards

Step 2

Now we need to paint each board. We have painted two of our boards off-white, and one green, but you can obviously use any colours you like.

Use the largest brush of the three, to spread an even thin coat over the top and sides of the board. Allow this to dry before painting the underside.

paint masonite board paint masonite board

Step 3

You may find that, depending on your selected colours, you will need a second and sometimes even third coat of paint for a nice even finish, so if you need to, add another coat until you have a good, solid finish.

We suggest at least two coats anyway. After the first coat, you should use a small, very fine, piece of sand paper to smooth out any lumps and bumps after painting. Then paint again with the second coat.

sanding paint paint masonite boards

Step 4

With the boards evenly painted to a superb finish, you are now ready to mark out your chosen text!
We have chosen the words 'Thank you', Beautiful' and 'Hope' for our three boards.

What you should do is create a word document with your chosen words in the desired font, and then print these out large enough for your boards. If the prints out are larger than one A4, use sellotape to attach them to each other, creating a larger sheet, where the words appear whole. This will simplify your transfer/copying process.

print words stick pages together using sellotape

Step 5

Now we need to transfer or copy the lettering (words) onto our boards.

Place your first board face up on your working surface. Place a sheet of carbon paper down onto the board. Again, as in Step 4, if you require more than one sheet of carbon paper, use sellotape to create a large enough sheet. Over the carbon paper, place your printed words. You will need to feel your way through the paper and carbon paper, to the centre of the board, for final positioning of the lettering.

carbon paper on masonite board space lettering on masonite board

Step 6

Once the carbon paper and your print out are both in place, use a pen or pencil to trace the outline of the lettering. While tracing your letting, use an even pressure to maintain a clear transfer.

trace using pencil onto masonite board

Step 7

When complete, remove the paper and carbon paper to reveal your letting transfer on the board.

lettering on wooden masonite board

Step 8

Continue as above for your other boards. First by placing the carbon paper onto the masonite board, placing the print out on top, and then tracing the lettering onto the board.

wood lettering on masonite thank you lettering on masonite board

Step 9

Now we can start painting!

We have used off-white on the green board, and green on the white boards. You can use any colours you like, but we strongly suggest you use complimentary colours for the biggest impact. You want to use the smallest brush for this work as it will put your steady hand to practice and you want to get very fine detail.

wooden board hope lettering

Step 10

It is a good idea to use the end of the largest brush to lift your hand off from the board while you paint.

It is also a good idea to work away from the area you are painting to prevent smudging, so if you are left handed, work from right to left (as in the picture below), and if you are right handed, work from left to right.

wooden painting painting wooden board

Step 11

With your lettering painted on, allow to dry and then come back to add decorations to the background of your board. We have used a simple leaf / flower free hand design to decorate our masonite boards.

wooden decor painting wooden board with painted decor

Step 12

With all of your boards now painted with lettering and decoration, you will need to clear coat each one to protect it from the elements.

You should use an exterior varnish, preferably a resin based varnish as opposed to a urethane based varnish as it is far less likely to discolour over time. Use a large brush to evenly coat all sides of the board. You will not need to sand after each layer and re-apply. One or two coats will do, but be sure to allow the first coat to dry properly before applying the second coat.

varnish painted wooden boards

Step 13

Well done! You have completed your project!

wooden painted decor board handpainted wooden garden decor sign wooden painted board

Step 14

You can nail these boards into a wall in the garden or hang them up somewhere special.

upcycled garden signs