DIY Rustic Painted Sign Plans

This is an easy, beginner-level project that anyone can do to bring a little character to their kitchen:  a hand painted kitchen sign, with ‘GROCERY’ painted on it.  We had a lot of fun doing this one, and now have it in our kitchen!

It looks great above the sink, and although our kitchen is new(er), it brings in some of that old school charm, which we are huge fans of.

Here are the basics of the Rustic Painted Sign Plan and How To:

  • Skill level:  Beginner
  • Cost:  under $30
  • Time:  About 6 hours total

We will walk you through what you need to get this sign painted in mere hours or days:
– Supplies
– Instructions
– The finished product

Supplies Needed:

  • Any board you can find – we used a cheap board from Home Depot that we cut into 8″x24″
  • Light blue paint
  • Red paint
  • White paint
  • 2 brushes
  • A computer with Photoshop or something similar (we actually use – it’s free)
  • Some computer paper
  • A pencil
  • A sander, preferably – sandpaper will do, but it’s a bit more work

After you have the supplies, it’s time to get to work.  Here are the steps.

Step 1 – Cut the board (if you need to)

If you grabbed an old piece of wood and it’s the size you want, then you don’t need to do anything here!  If not, and you bought a piece from Home Depot, just cut the board across the grain to a size of 8″x24″.  We just used a circular saw to do this.

Step 2 – Sand the board

Quickly run some sandpaper over the board – it doesn’t need to be a 10 minute project, just a couple minutes to remove

any large chunks.  The more rustic here, the better.  After you’re done sanding, make sure to wipe it off with a towel.  If you choose not to sand, you should be just fine.

Step 3 – Paint the undercoat

Use a drastic color.  For weathering, we like to use a light baby blue – it looks like weathered primer and just turns out to be a great undercoating.  Put a reasonable amount of paint on, but don’t put it on in gobs.  When weathering something, it’s best to use light amounts of paint.

Wipe off some excess paint, leave brush strokes in others.  Just make it look natural – it almost makes you feel like an artist :).

After you’re done, let it dry for an hour or so.

Step 4 – Paint the overcoat

Grab the red paint and new paintbrush, and paint the sign with the red overcoat, using the same technique as above, but using even lighter strokes.  Cover 90% of the sign with the red paint, but go ahead and leave touches of the light blue shine through.

Step 5 – Create your stencil

If you would like to use the graphic we already created as a free kitchen sign plan or pattern, go right ahead!  All that we ask is that if you post about it (and we hope you do), that you give us a little link love (and let us know that you created a wonderful sign!).  You can then skip the next paragraph.

Kitchen grocery sign stencil template plan

If you want to come up with your own sign:  We use to come up with our text on our laptop, then print it off onto an 8×11 piece of paper.  Yes, this isn’t as ‘professional’ as some, but we want to use every day household items to come up with our designs rather than purchasing an expensive piece of equipment.  You can also browse some cool fonts at, but we used Media Gothic (I think we actually got this from  They also have instructions on their site for installing fonts.  If you think you can freehand this part, feel free – but we don’t have that steady of a hand quite yet :).

Once you’ve created your design or used ours, print it off (my recommendation is to switch the printer view to “landscape” and put 3 letters on each page, so the first page will have “GRO”, the second page will have “CER”, and the final page will have a “Y”.  This will allow you to piece them together on your sign, and should fit fairly well.  Before you go cutting out the stencil (which I admit, is very tedious), make sure you lay out your prints on the sign to make sure they fit.  Once they do, cut out the pieces.

Step 6 – Paint the stencil

This can be tricky, but just be patient.  Use masking tape or painters tape to tape down the stencil in a straight line with the letters evenly spaced.  For the “O”, roll a piece of tape, put it on the other side, and tape the inner “O” down.  You will want to be pretty careful by the edges – they can be a bit flimsy and bend over.  Just TAKE YOUR TIME, go slow, and be gentle.  Once the paper stencil is wet it should hold up better.  Use your white paint here to paint on the GROCERY part of the sign.  To create a cool, old look, trace the letters just as you would write them. After you are done, slowly remove the stencil while the paint is still a bit wet – it’ll make removing it easier. Then let it dry for an hour or two.

Step 7 – Sand and create character

We have an edge sander that we got from Lowe’s for around $30.  We used a 120 grit sandpaper piece on that sander, and just ran it over the sign.  Sand it more to get the blue paint to show through, and sand it even more to get bare wood to show through to your liking.  We were pretty conservative here.  Once you’re done sanding, wet a towel and go over the white GROCERY lettering to remove the red paint that the sander put on your nice lettering (this scared us at first, but we ended up getting it off, so don’t be too afraid!)

Step 8 – Hang it up!

We just drilled a pilot hole directly in the middle and put a 2.5″ wood screw through it to hang it up.  You could probably get some picture hanging kit or use pop tabs to create a hook on the back as well.

The finished product:

Hope you enjoyed this hand painted kitchen sign plan!  Feel free to share any of your own tips or tricks!

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