A Joint Mother’s Day/Father’s Day Gift for the Ages

I usually buy my mother some plants and garden with Mom for Mother’s Day and go fishing or golfing with Dad for Father’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, those are awesome ways to spend quality time with your parents. But, this year, I decided to give them a simple joint present that absolutely knocked their socks off.

My parent’s are currently in the midst of a back yard revamp and are partially done replacing our 30 year old fence. They offered me the old fence pickets to make some signs with. And then they took off to Nashville to see Bonnie Raitt play. BAM… Idea. I would make them mile marker signs of their favorite places, including their newest love, Nashville.


Want your own customized signs? Head over to etsy and let me know what you’re looking for: Custom Set of Directional Signs

I had to make a few for myself too:



Paint your own custom album art sign


My awesome co-worker Beth asked me if I could make her a sign for her father’s birthday. “Call Me the Breeze” is his ultimate jam (in fact, “BREEZE” is apparently his license plate) and she loves the album art on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Second Helping. “I’m totally open to whatever you draw up. I trust you completely.”

Those two pieces of inspiration, a song title and album art, helped me quickly generate a relatively simple design that wasn’t too hard to make. I took a few pictures along the way to show you how I got from inception to finished sign.

Read on if you want to learn how I made this particular sign. Or, if you prefer, visit my shop and I’ll do the dirty work for you!

Materials you should use:

  • Any sanded wood will work (I used scrap finished pine from a renovation project)
  • Any acrylic craft paint will do (though, use the pricier $2.99 black paint for lettering)
  • Invest in new acrylic/craft brushes for fine detail work. I threw down a whopping $5.98 at Michael’s for a new 0 round and 1/8″ angular, made all the difference
  • Finish with some sort of sealer. I use one thin coat of Minwax Clear Satin Polyurethane (I would use an exterior varnish if sign was going outside)


In case you’re unfamiliar, here’s the Second Helping album cover:


Using a ruler, an old drafting stencil, and a pencil, I sketched out a simple design to mimic the basic look of the artwork on the album cover:


At this point, I didn’t have any real plan in place apart from the rainbow border…  I didn’t figure out what to do with the honey comb center until the very. I think projects like this are way more fun and rewarding if you just roll with it.

Next I applied some paint, here’s how that progressed:




After getting the basic colors and outline in, I made an acrylic wash to get the watercolor effect. To do this I just used a big round fine hair brush, soaked in water, and barley touched the paint. Then applied:


Now, the lettering. This can be intimidating. Here’s a good way to keep your cool and create some really unique hand lettering. Search google for a font that you want. I noticed that this album cover used some groovy letters of the album title that looked somewhat Victorian. I searched “Victorian Font” and found one that resembled the album font and just rolled with that. I kept the font guide on my tablet and practiced drawing a few of the letters I would need. Here’s the font guide:


Sketch out a basic outline when you’re trying to fit words or phrases into a space. I just make a very basic pencil sketch to do this. Then, start filling in the letters from the bones outward:




If you create a different color outline for your letters, it gives you some wiggle room to perfect the font details. After touching up the black, I realized I wanted the letters to pop a bit more so outlined the honeycomb pencil marks with black paint, let dry, then dabbed the exposed wood with some Minwax stain. Boom: