And Tips for Reclaimed Wood Signs
I love how this “Jesus loves me” pallet sign turned out. Hubby and I have been using reclaimed lumber in a number of recent projects and it’s an amazing resource. Who can argue with free wood?
That’s not to say that we haven’t invested a bit in the reclaimed venture. The Jesus loves me pallet sign and a number of other projects came from a single small pallet that we disassembled a few weeks ago.
Our pallet adventure all began when we were browsing little shops on a weekend vacation for our anniversary. That was just about a year ago. We saw a small table that we liked and almost simultaneously we got the idea to build a T.V. stand.
So Mister started collecting pallet lumber and the shed was getting pretty full. One day while getting garden tools out, I saw that we had quite a pile and I asked if I could make a sign out of some of it. He said “Go for it!” and so this is the sign that I came up with.
We have no planer and no jointer. This was just four rough pallet boards sanded down and joined with two cleats glued and screwed across the back. I did a quick dry brush with some chalk paint and then used my Silhouette Cameo to create a stencil with some 631 vinyl and stenciled with black chalk paint.
I took the Amazing Grace sign to a local market night and while it didn’t sell that night, it sold because of a social media post that I had shared pertaining to the market.
We ended up selling two more pallet signs within a week and we are both totally hooked on making pallet projects.
There are problems with creating pallet projects though and these are mine:
With pallet projects, you work with what you have. For the “Jesus loves me” pallet sign I scrapped some of the surrounding material to get to these few boards that I wanted to use for a three board sign.
Now that doesn’t mean that I wasted that material. I just means that I had to work strategically and creatively to get the most out of the pallet that I could. But here is the list of projects that I made:
- Jesus loves me pallet sign
- Small decorative tool box-centerpiece
- Set of 4 coasters
- About 30 plus Christmas ornaments and still working on more
- Two longer boards and a couple of small pieces left that could be signs.
It’s not a bad problem to have, but it does take a little bit of thinking and planning if you want to have less waste.
I had the boards for the three board sign cut for at least a week and hadn’t gotten around to putting them together. I was getting things ready for a local market and my husband asked what he could do to help. What a guy!
So he put them together for me and it took me several days to figure out what I wanted to paint on them.
I think (at least for me) that the wood almost has to speak to me. Not in some really weird way, but I have to mull it over before I pull out the painting supplies.
These three pieces for this sign were all the same width, but the varied in thickness just a little. The middle board was just a bit thicker and I knew that by itself was going to make an “all over design” just a little more difficult.
Pinterest isn’t always the biggest help, but I did see a sign with the boards painted different colors. So after a little more mulling it over, the plan finally hit me.
I’d be interested to know how other people’s minds work when it comes to this sort of thing.
Each project is so unique that when I get them finished it’s hard to part with them. It really is different than buying a board or piece of plywood, picking a design and then stenciling it.
It’s more like creating a piece of art from scratch. You work with all the flaws of the wood. There is a piece of your heart in it and there will never be the exact same creation again.
Again, it’s not a bad problem to have.
Working With Pallets
One of the biggest complaints that I see about working with pallets is that it’s difficult to take them apart.
I’m going to post a link here to our favorite (almost new) tool. This was a total game-changer for us when it comes to taking apart a pallet.
*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
I find that we have fewer splits with the tool, although even split wood can be cleaned up and used.
And just an FYI, you can glue and clamp pallet boards. I did that with this “Pumpkin Patch” sign. The board had a really back crack in it. After glue and clamping you can’t even tell it’s there.
If you like working with wood, pallets are a great resource. Many pallets can be obtained that are clean, free and safe to use.
If you want to find out if your pallet is safe to use, check out THIS POST by 1001 Pallets.
Be sure to ask before you go dumpster diving or picking up pallets from in back of industrial sites. They aren’t always free for the taking. Even when they are free, it pays to let people know what you’re doing. It can even lead to more and better pallets. Just sayin’.
Jesus Loves Me Pallet Sign
As was mentioned earlier, the board were not all exactly the same thickness. I knew I wanted to paint each line separately.
You want to sand off splinters and smooth out the wood. I use a small electric sander for this job. If I can’t pick it up without getting a sliver, I don’t want to take it to a show that way.
I used Waverly Chalk Paint in White and Black to paint my boards for this sign. I actually mixed my own gray, and that sort of added to some of the distressed look.
The little heart was painted with Waverly Chalk Paint in the color “Merlot”.
With the rough texture of the wood, I didn’t worry about getting into every nook and cranny with paint. It was a little more than dry brushed, but some of the wood still shows through.
Creating the Stencil in Silhouette Studio
In Silhouette Studio I made a rectangle the size of each board as you can see on the screenshot below. Since this was a small sign I was able to cut my vinyl stencil on the mat.
Just as with the Amazing Grace sign, I used the 631 vinyl for my stencil.
Just a side note: Mod Podge is not necessary for painting pallet signs or any sign for that matter.
If you want nice lines without bleed, patience and really LIGHT coats of paint are the key to nice pallet sign stenciling. See the following post for more on stenciling crisp lines:
I like to use the Rust-Oleum Chalked Sealer as my topcoat for my signs. It leaves a clear matte finish. It dries quickly and leaves a nice even finish.
*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
I’m totally hooked on creating with pallets and can’t wait to make more projects with them. Create them for gift giving or your own home decor.
What sort of signs or projects have you made with pallets? I’d love to hear your comments or questions about working with pallet wood.