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Upcycled Fall Farmhouse Sign

September 21, 2018

Right now Clay and I are on our most budgeted time of the year. Which means all of my DIY projects are made from materials around the house! I’m all for recycled and up-cycled decor. It’s fun to see what creative ways old things can be used, plus it leaves a little more money in our pockets for boring things like groceries. This week I was pilling around our place when I discovered an awesome piece of plywood behind the couch. I also happen to have a very blank spot on the shelf above our couch and knew this plywood could be used for an awesome up-cycled fall farmhouse sign.

Plywood isn’t great on it’s own as wall decor and I knew I wanted a finished look. I scrounged up an old canvas that had been torn, and decided to use the wood frame from the canvas as the frame for my sign. After a few steps of sanding, staining, painting and letter transferring, I had the perfect fall decoration! I hung it right above the shelf on my couch and couldn’t be happier with the results. It only took me an hour tops (including paint dry time) and just a few simple materials.

At the end of last week’s post 3 Secret Methods to Transferring Letters to Wood I promised to give you a tutorial about how to create your own Farmhouse sign. In today’s post you’ll be learning how to do just that, and create a sign for fall. I’ve included the list of materials, steps and free printables for letter transferring! We will be using some of the same methods for letter transferring that I shared last week.

Upcycled Fall Farmhouse Sign


  • Plywood
  • Frame
  • White Paint Pen
  • Black Paint
  • Orange Paint
  • Paintbrush (large and small)
  • White Chalk
  • Pen
  • Wood Stain (optional depending on if your frame is already finished or not)
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood Glue
  • Small Nails
  • Hammer

Measuring and Cutting

You can purchase a sheet of plywood at Home Depot, and they’ll even cut it to size for you if you already know the dimensions of your frame. Frames can be expensive, so if you don’t have one on hand from an old piece of artwork, I would suggest visiting your local second hand shops for an inexpensive frame to use for this project.

First, assemble all of your materials to a clear and well ventilated work space. Wherever you’re working, make sure it’s not humid (the higher the humidity, the longer the paint will take to dry). Step one, measuring out the plywood! Take your recycled frame and measure the length and width. Using these dimensions, cut your plywood to size! Set your frame to the side while we work on the plywood. (My frame measured 24″x 14″, so I measured an cut my plywood using those same dimensions).

Staining and Painting

Take your cut plywood, paintbrush and black paint. I suggest using black acrylic paint, which you can buy for only $1.37 at Hobby Lobby. Apply a coat of black paint to the entire surface of the plywood, painting in the direction of the wood grain. This will be the base for our sign. Allow the black paint to completely dry before adding another coat. 2 coats should do the trick to completely cover the wood. Set aside while drying.

Time to whitewash the frame! Whether your frame is already finished or not, whitewashing is a simple process and gives wall decor a weathered and rustic look. When working with an unfinished frame, start by staining your frame according to the directions on the stain can. If your frame is already finished with a stain, then skip the staining process and go straight to whitewashing↓

To stain, take your unfinished frame (raw wood, no stain or paint), and start by lightly sanding each surface of the frame. Then stir your stain and apply it in a thick coat on your frame using a paint brush or rag. Allow to soak into the wood for 5 minutes and wipe away excess with a rag. Let the stain dry completely before whitewashing.

How to whitewash

I prefer whitewashing on a stained wood rather than raw wood as it gives more dimension and character to the wood itself. Take your paintbrush and dip it into the white paint. Brush off excess white paint and coarsely brush the frame in the direction of the wood grain. Use a junk rag to wipe the paint into the wood. It should leave an uneven shade of white. Then add another layer of swiftly applied strokes of white paint, this time, leaving them without wiping with a rag. This achieves a weathered look.

Use a bit of sandpaper to sand some corners or edges of the frame, but don’t go overboard. Just a subtle effect will give the frame enough character. Set the frame aside to finish drying while we work on lettering the plywood sign.

Transferring Letters

Take your painted plywood, chalk, pen and Fall sign printable for transferring the letters to your wood sign. We will use the chalk method mentioned in last weeks Methods for Transferring Letters post to create our sign! The first step to chalk transfer is taking the printable and flipping it face down. Using your chalk, rub the back of your paper to create a thick layer of chalk dust.

Place your printable, chalk side down on the lower left corner of your plywood, with the letters facing up. With your pen, trace the outline of each letter on the paper, pressing firmly as your trace. Lift the paper and you have a perfect chalk outline of each letter!

With your white paint pen, fill in each letter. Allow the letters to dry completely before the next step.

Putting it All Together

Now we need to add our frame to the plywood! On the back of your frame, place a line of glue on each side, and lay your finished plywood on top, facedown. Press the edges of the plywood to adhere to the wood glue. Let the glue dry for the indicated time in the directions on the wood glue bottle. Once dry, hammer in a nail to each corner. You’re done!

Hang in your home for the perfect touch of fall farmhouse decor.

Thank you so much for reading this tutorial! I would love to see your results, snap a picture and upload to social media with #beingmrsmcintoshdiy. If you can’t get enough fall, check out my post for 40 Fun Fall Family Activities for Warm Climates. You don’t have to live in hot weather to enjoy pumpkin ice cream.

Until next week (with more fall decor of course!)


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  • Crystal

    September 22, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    That sign is so cute! I’m going to make it! Thank you for sharing!

    1. beingmrsmcintosh

      September 23, 2018 at 5:22 pm

      Thanks so much Crystal! I’m so excited for you to try this DIY project 🙂

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