How To Paint A Simple Rustic Wood Sign

How to Paint a sign using a simple rustic technique


  • wood scrap
  • transfer paper, graphite paper or just a pencil will work too
  • a design idea, or you can use the JOY design.
  • paint - I used a bit of Valspar interior from Lowes, but acrylic craft paint works too
  • stain - I used minx dark walnut
  • small brush
  • foam brush or cloth for applying and wiping off stain
  • sawtooth hanger
  • polyurethane (optional)

Start by printing out your design.  I printed the letters JOY in bold Georgia font. You can print a copy for yourself here.

Use transfer paper or graphite paper (or just run the side of your pencil lead over the back of your design) to trace your design lightly onto the wood.

Using your small brush, fill in your design with paint.  You may need to do this two or three times to get a nice even coat.

Using a kneaded eraser (or your pencil) erase any stray marks from your transfer paper or pencil.

Stain your wood.  I like to brush it on with a foam brush and wipe off with a cloth or paper towel.

Stop here for a crisp, polished look or sand with a hand sander (I love my Black and Decker Mouse) and re-apply a layer of stain.

Attach a sawtooth hanger to the back and apply a coat of Poly if the sign is going to be outside.