How to Stencil and Age a Wooden Porch Sign

Outdoor Decor, Project Ideas, Tutorials -

How to Stencil and Age a Wooden Porch Sign

Welcome to another how to stencil home décor project tutorial from Oak Lane Studio. In this DIY stenciling tutorial we will show you how to stencil a wooden porch sign and stain it for a rustic, vintage look. We will show you how to create a distressed or vintage look on wood with vinegar and steel wool, so that you can give your brand-new porch sign a rustic, weathered aesthetic. For this tutorial we used our Home Laurel Leaves porch sign stencil template with Antique White American Acrylic Paint. You can shop our entire collection of beautiful DIY porch sign stencil templates here.

Scroll to the bottom of the page to watch our how to make a wooden porch sign video tutorial. 

Home Laurel Leaves Vertical Porch Sign Everything you will need to make your vertical porch sign

Supplies to Stencil a Wooden Porch Sign

How to Age a Wooden Porch Sign

    First create a stain using white vinegar and steel wool

    How to Create a Vinegar Wood Ageing Stain

    We aged our wooden porch sign before we stenciled it. You only need white vinegar and some steel wool for our really easy wood ageing technique. First, shove the steel wool into a plastic container or jar. Then, pour white vinegar over the steel wool until the wool is completely submerged. Wait 2 to 3 days for the stain to develop.

    After 2-3 days you will find that any steel wool that is floating above the surface of the vinegar has become a rusty brown color. Carefully re-submerge the steel wool and give the container a shake. When the vinegar (not the steel wool) has turned a rusty brown color, the stain is ready. Carefully remove the steel wool from the vinegar, you will only use the brown vinegar to stain the wood.

    How to Apply the Vinegar Stain to the Wooden Sign

    When the stain is ready, brush the vinegar over your wooden porch sign with a brush or rag. Let the stain dry overnight. The vinegar stain will transform even brand new wood into a weathered, aged wood that looks like reclaimed wood. You can darken the wood by adding more coats of vinegar stain. 

    Apply the vinegar stain and let your board dry overnight This is what your board looks like after one coat

    This is what our board looked like after one coat of the homemade stain the. Even though it was coated in vinegar, the wood will not smell like vinegar after the stain has dried.

    Put a lid on the container and you can save the rust vinegar stain for any wood aging projects in the future! You may want to test out the stain on a small section of your project before starting and multiple coats will give the board a darker finish.

    How to Clean the Wood

    Before stenciling your DIY wooden porch sign, use a slightly damp cloth to clean dust and dirt off of your wooden sign. Dust and dirt will prevent the stencil and painter's tape from adhering to the wooden sign. 

    How to Spray and Position the Stencil on the Porch Sign

    Spray the back of your stencil template with Repositionable Spray Adhesive. Do this in a well ventilated area away from the wooden porch sign you will stencil, you only want the back of the stencil template to be sticky. Hold the spray can 6 to 8 inches away from the stencil template as you spray and keep your mouth closed while spraying.

    Wait 30 to 60 seconds for the back of the stencil template to become tacking before positioning the stencil template on the wooden porch sign. This is very important, our repositionable adhesive spray can be strong and if you position the stencil template too early you may have trouble removing it later.

    Use repositionable spray adhesive and frog tape to hold the stencil in place

    Firmly press the stencil template onto the wood and make sure that all the small cutout design details lie flat along the porch sign. Once the stencil template is in place, secure the outer edges with Frog Tape (our favorite painter’s tape). This will help keep the stencil template in place on the wooden sign and protect the wood from any stray brush strokes outside the stencil design.

    Now it is time to stencil your DIY porch sign!

    How to Stencil a Wooden Porch Sign

    Stenciling is not the same as painting and a key difference is the amount of paint you use to stencil. Stenciling is done with a dry brush (or roller) using the "Dry Brush Technique". This means that you should only have a minimum amount of paint on your brush when you stencil, so that the brush is almost dry to the touch. If you stencil with too much paint, the excess paint will seep underneath the stencil template and blur the stenciled design, this is called "Paint Bleed".

    To stencil properly you will use the dry brush technique

    We recommend using the "Dot Test" to check that you have the right amount of paint on your brush before stenciling. 

     The Dot Test for Stenciling:

    How to check that you have the right amount of paint to stencil with a paint brush.

    1. Pour paint onto a paper plate. Shake the bottle well before pouring. 
    2. Swirl your stencil brush in your paint.
    3. Dab and swirl excess paint onto a paper towel. (We recommend holding a roll of paper towels in one hand and dabbing the stencil brush onto the roll).
    4. Make a dot of paint on a scrap piece of paper. Brush the dot with your finger. If the paint smudges you have too much paint. Repeat step 2. If the paint does not smudge, you have a dry brush and are ready to stencil!

    Once you have a dry brush you can begin to stencil your wooden porch sign. Stencil the porch sign by swirling or stippling paint into the stencil design cutouts, brush strokes are not used for stenciling.

    how to stencil a wooden porch sign

    The first coat of paint will be very faint, that is okay! The paint color in the first coat of paint should not be the final color you want. If it is you probably are stenciling with too much paint. Resist the urge to stencil with more paint to your stencil brush. You won't need to reload the stencil brush with paint too often. If you find that very little to no paint is coming out of the brush, that is when to add more paint to your stencil brush.

    Continue stenciling in several thin layers of paint and watch as the color gradually accumulates. 2 to 3 coats of paint is normal when stenciling, but you may need more if you are stenciling with a light paint color.

    First coat of paint should look like this 

    (This is what the first coat of paint will look like). 

    Feel free to gently peel off a corner of the stencil to see how the paint color looks! Below is a picture of what the first coat of paint should look like (almost invisible) compared to the second layer of paint. By stenciling in 2 to 3 light coats of acrylic paint you get the precise details of the stencil design.

    The difference between one and two coats of paint

    Here is the difference between the first and second coat of paint as you stencil the design.

    DIY Stenciling Tip: You can also stencil your DIY porch sign in multiple colors. See our how to stencil a reclaimed wood décor sign tutorial to learn how to easily stencil wood in multiple colors. 

    How to Remove the Stencil Template

    The last step is to peel the stencil off the surface

    Once you are satisfied with the stenciled color, you can remove the stencil. Wait until the paint is completely dry before gently peeling the porch sign stencil template off the wooden sign. Go slowly and try not to remove any paint with the stencil template.

    How to Seal Porch Sign with Protective Spray

    Protect the surface with Americana Acrylic Spray

    If you plan to decorate your outdoor porch or patio with this farmhouse sign, you should seal the wood to protect it from the elements. (Of course, these wooden farmhouse signs would also look stunning in a kitchen or entry way). To seal the wooden porch sign, apply two coats of an acrylic finishing sealer. We used Americana Matte Finish Acrylic Sealer, but you can also use a Gloss Finish Sealer for a more polished, shiny look. The spray will protect the paint and the wood from weathering, rain or fading in the sun.

    How to Clean the Stencil Template

    Last step! Our stencils are washable and reusable! But they do require a little care to keep their fresh appearance. After you finish stenciling, always wash and dry your stencil, paint brushes and paint rollers to keep them fresh and reusable. 

    For this DIY stenciling project, we stenciled with water-based acrylic paint which is exceptionally easy to clean off of stencil templates. To clean the stencil template, first soak it in hot water for five minutes, this will loosen any paint that has dried on the stencil. Then wipe away all the remaining paint with a cloth and store the stencil template for future DIY stenciling projects. Read our How to Clean Stencils FAQ for more details on how to clean stencils.

    We hope you enjoyed this DIY stenciling tutorial! Please watch our video tutorial below for more visual details on how to create this DIY budget friendly porch sign!

    A rustic, porch sign is an easy and budget friendly DIY home décor project and the perfect way to add a welcoming, Home sign to the front of your house, or a sign to hang in an entry way. First, we stained our wood, and then stenciled our the home sign.

    Learn more about how to stencil your home and create beautiful home décor in whatever style you like. Visit our Stenciling Blog, or Video Gallery for how to stencil tutorials and projects tips. Browse our home décor stenciling projects Photo Gallery for ideas and inspiration on how to use stencil templates to decorate your home.

    Send us a picture of your DIY home décor stenciling projects or share your DIY stenciling projects with us on social media! We love to see stencils in action.