Farmhouse Plank Sign for 'Home'

I had this piece of old wood propped up outside our front door for quite a while before I got around to giving it a spruce up, and this sort of style is fun to do as it's messy, shabby, and imperfect! Now this piece of wood was already lovely and old, with splinters and marks all over which adds nicely to the worn style I was looking for, but I gave it a sand with my palm sander to create a more even surface for painting.

I mixed up some white DIY chalk paint and added a very tiny touch of grey as I didn't want the white to be too bright. I then used a large chalk paint brush (essentially a round brush with bristles cut into a slightly oval shape to get a rougher application) to apply the paint - I only poured out a little of the paint into a bowl and added a drop of water, then brushed it quickly and sparingly over the plant, painting in one direction with the grain. I didn't take too much time and I wasn't fussed that some areas weren't well covered as this adds to the natural weathered look.

I only did one coat of the white, and once this was fully dry I gave the whole plank another sand with my palm sander. I wanted a heavily distressed look and I could have achieved this sanding by hand but it would have taken longer. I made sure to sand well over parts of the wood that had knots or interesting wood grain to contrast with the plain wood and the white paint.

SO now I had a nicely distressed plank of wood I used two techniques to add detail to this wood, stenciling and image transfer. I cut out the HOME letters on my Brother Scan n Cut, but there are ways to print out letters and transfer the outlines to the wood (for example, print the letters then trace the outline of the reverse with a soft lead pencil or chalk, place on the wood face down and rub the back of the paper to press the pencil marks onto the wood) to paint by hand if you can't get access to stencils.

When I stencil I use a spray adhesive to stick my stencil to my surface, and then use a thin layer of a clear drying glue over the stencil going over the edges to seal them - this way I get nice crisp lines without the bleed under the stencil which I always get if I don't do it this way. I use a sponge to apply the paint in a few thin layers letting each one dry (which only takes a minute or two) to build up the colour - make up sponges can be good for this though I often just use a kitchen washing up sponge. The only problems with all the adhesive is cleaning off the stencil afterwards, but I can wash them well enough to use again using warm water and gentle soap.

I also used some image transfer medium to add an image of the little house I use for my Casa Creative logo which sits nicely in the middle of the twiggy heart that I have hung on the top of the plank. I had to print out the image on a laser printer as this is the kind of ink that can be transferred, an inkjet printer won't work. I cut out the image as tightly as possible and spread a thin but thorough layer of transfer medium over the image ink facing up (you want the transfer medium to be covering the ink), then applied this to my wood plank surface rubbing it down carefully and thoroughly so the paper is fully attached to the wood. Then we wait! For 24 hours - it has to be super dry, seriously wait!! It's a pain I know but you don't want to mess this up. So once it is FINALLY dry, I used a soft cloth to soak the paper with water and gently rub it off leaving the lovely image behind. Don't rub too hard and you'll end up with lots of tiny bits of wet paper everywhere, but image transfer does allow you to add images to your work that stenciling simply can't do!

I didn't seal this piece with anything because it is outside but undercover and I'm ok with it weathering more over time anyway! So old, weathered and unloved wood turns into old, weathered and loved wood.... it just needed a bit of sprucing up!

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