Saturday, April 4, 2015

Weathered Geek Chic Sign

I got this hair-brained idea that I wanted an old, weathered hand painted sign for our nerd cave in our basement.  I found lots of great looking signs online and at Hobby Lobby, but the subject matter was a problem.  I was looking for something very specific...a sign that could have hung outside the cantina in Star know, the scene where Han shoots first?  That's the one.  After thinking about hiring a professional sign painter, I decided to try to make it on my own.  I read up on weathering wood on Pintrest and decided to try the tea/vinegar/steel wool solution.  I started by brewing the tea and the vinegar and steel wool solution, sanding the wood, then painting the tea on.  If you're doing this on your own, it doesn't change the color of the wood, you're not doing it wrong.  

I painted a test board with multiple coats on different parts of the wood.

 I let the jar of vinegar and steel wool soak over night.  Then I painted it on the wood.  I didn't see much of a difference between the 1 and 2 coats of tea, but the 2 coats of vinegar solution is definitely more brown.  I was looking for more of a grey look, so I opted for one coat of vinegar.
 After the vinegar solution, I did more testing.  I used whitewash, painted some white and sanded it off, put stain over top of the paint, all just to find the look I liked. 
 I ended up going for painting the boards white, then sanding it off with an orbital sander.
Afterwards, we used some brackets from the hardware store to mount them together and hang them on the wall.
Then it was time for the hard part.  I spent hours creating the text of the sign in Gimp (finding the right fonts, the shadowing, and the curved text took me a while).  I then had my dad help me cut it in vinyl.
 Then came the paint.
After, I sanded the words a little by hand.
 I'm thrilled with how it turned out.  It's just what I was looking for.
 To see more of the nerd cave, see our renovation blog.

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