Paint a Fall Harvest sign and how to paint lettering is an easy, step by step tutorial on painting DIY signs No cutting machines needed. Create dozens of custom signs on a budget.
How to paint a Fall Harvest sign without having to own a cutting machine. You can learn to paint letters by hand making it easier and more cost effective to create custom signs for yourself or others.
This sign is for Fall but this technique works for any wording.
For one off signs I prefer just hand painting. Large lettering is easy to do by hand rather than expensive stencils or cutting machines.
I love the look of old barn wood but those are as rare as hens teeth around here and when you do find some, they are soooo expensive. So I have to fake it, here is a post on one way I do it How to get a Rustic Finish on New Wood in 4 Steps. The distressing method is what I use for many of my hand painted signs.
Harvest Sign Paint Supplies
These are the paints and colors I use but you can use what you have. Craft acrylics will work great for this sign.
5 foot long 1″ x 12″ pine board
DecoArt Chalky Finish paint in Heritage
Donna Dewberry 3/4″ brush and script liner
DecoArt Americana bottled acrylic in Buttermilk (white is fine too)
White Graphite Paper
Loew Cornell White Nylon Brush Set
I printed the lettering out on regular printer paper after creating them in Word.
- These are the paints and colors I use but you can use what you have. Craft acrylics will work great for this sign.
- 5 foot long 1″ x 12″ pine board
- DecoArt Chalky Finish paint in Heritage
- DecoArt Americana bottled acrylic in Buttermilk (white is fine too)
- White Graphite Paper
- Loew Cornell White Nylon Brush Set
- Donna Dewberry 3/4″ brush and script liner
- Printer and paper
- Loew Cornell White Nylon brush 2 inch
- Basecoat the wood
- Add a crackle medium and paint next layer
- Distress with different methods to create old barnwood look
- Transfer design
- Outline lettering with liner brush and paint
- Fill in lettering with flat paint brush
- Fly speck or spatter with toothbrush and watered down paint
- Distress more with sandpaper
- Seal with exterior varathane for years of enjoyment
- Decorate your porch or home for Fall using your new DIY sign
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Basecoat the Wood
I stain, crackle and paint the 5 foot long new pine 1″ x 12″ and let it dry, then lay out my lettering. CLICK HERE to learn how to use crackle medium.
Transfer the pattern
Once I have it laid out I slide the white graphite paper under it and start transferring the lines. Note the white graphite paper peeking out at the bottom of the photo. As you can see it has been used before, graphite paper can be reused numerous times making it very economical.
Another option is to scrub a piece of chalk all along the backside of the paper to transfer but that is just way too messy for me and it takes up a lot more time. I am all about quick and easy.
This is what it looks like once you have transferred the lettering.
Outline lettering with Liner Brush
To get a nice edge on the letters outlining with a liner brush is helpful. You can skip this and just paint with a flat brush but using a liner is easier for me to get the corners crisper.
You may need to water the paint down a touch to get it to flow well from the brush.
Paint Fall Harvest Sign Lettering
Fill in with a flat brush. Use the size flat brush you are most comfortable with for the size of lettering.
Once the lettering was painted I came back in and added some fly specking. It just gives your sign a bit of distressing and texture for a more rustic appearance.
To do that I basically water down some burnt umber paint and rub an old wet tooth brush in it, then I rub my thumbnail along the bristles while attempting to direct the speckles.
Once the speckling is all dry lightly sand on the lettering to distress it even more.
Before you know it you have a gorgeous sign. For outdoor use put an exterior sealer on it, this is the one I like the best. Many polycrylics say they don’t yellow but over the years most have on my signs but this one does not.
Best sealing coat for outdoor signs. You can usually find this at big box stores or Ace Hardware.