How to Make Antique Wood Signs

    by Cyndee Kromminga

    About the Author

    Based in the Midwest, Cyndee Kromminga has been writing craft and interior design articles for 15 years. Her articles and craft designs have appeared in Crafting Traditions Magazine, Easy Holiday Crafting Series-House of White Birches Newsletter and Country Woman Christmas Books. Kromminga's education is in interior design and she has experience operating a craft and design business for more than 20 years.


    An antique wood sign can add the finishing touch to your room's country decor, but purchasing one can be expensive. Make your own and challenge your friends and family to guess whether it is really an antique or it is new. You can use any size of new or recycled wood to make an antique wood sign. Avoiding perfection on the finish and the lettering will add to the authenticity.

    Things You'll Need

    • Basic blocks stencils
    • Newspaper
    • Tape measure
    • Pencil
    • Board
    • Jigsaw
    • Hammer, chain, ice pick
    • Drill and bit
    • Brown acrylic paint
    • Sponge brush
    • Paper towels
    • White paint
    • Paintbrush
    • Sandpaper
    • Rag
    • Black acrylic paint
    • Stencil brush
    • Rusty baling wire
    • Wire cutters
    • Needle-nose pliers

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    Lay out and trace the words for your antique wood sign on newspaper. Measure the length of the lettering with a tape measure. Your sign will need to be 1 1/3 times this length.

    Cut the board for the sign and distress the wood by tapping it with a hammer, beating it with a chain and poking it with an ice pick. Don't overdo it -- the result should resemble the wear and tear of age. Sand the edges and drill two holes through the top edge of the board, 3 inches to 4 inches from each end.

    Dilute one part brown acrylic paint with one part water. Cover the front, back and edges of the board with the paint mixture using a sponge brush. Immediately wipe off the mixture with a paper towel and allow the wood to dry.

    Paint the front, back and edges of the wood sign with white house paint and allow to dry thoroughly. Sand the painted wood sign lightly in some spots and more heavily in others. Wipe the dust particles off with a rag.

    Trace the lettering lightly on the board with a pencil to get the placement of each letter, then replace the stencil over each traced letter and stencil it with black acrylic paint. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly.

    Sand over the painted letters to distress them, then lightly paint the brown acrylic paint and water mixture over the entire antique sign. Immediately wipe off the mixture with a paper towel and allow to the wood to dry.

    Measure and cut a piece of rusty baling wire 1 1/2 times the length of your antique wood sign. Thread an end of the wire, from front to back, through each of the drilled holes for your sign hanger. Wrap the ends of each wire using the needle nose pliers.

    • If you start with recycled wood, it may not need much distressing.
    • The sign will look more like an antique if it also has an antique message, such as: "Eggs: 5 Cents a Dozen."