How to Stencil and Age a Wooden Porch Sign

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How to Stencil and Age a Wooden Porch Sign

Home Laurel Leaves Vertical Porch Sign

In this DIY stenciling tutorial we will explain how to stencil a wooden porch sign and stain it for a rustic, vintage look. We wil; show 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 with Antique White American Acrylic Paint, you can browse our entire collection of porch sign stencils here.

A rustic, porch sign is an easy and budget friendly DIY home decor 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. You can scroll to the bottom of the page to watch a video tutorial. 

Everything you will need to make your vertical porch sign

Stencil Supplies

How to Age a Wooden Porch Sign

    First create a stain using white vinegar and steel wool

    Step 1: Create a Vinegar Stain

    To age wood overnight you will first need to create a stain using white vinegar and steel wool. Put the steel wool into a plastic container or jar, then coat it in white vinegar until it is submerged. 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.

    Step 2: Apply the Stain to the Wood

    Apply the vinegar stain and let your board dry overnight

    All you need to do now is apply the rust colored vinegar to your wood with a brush or rag and let it dry overnight! By the next day any new piece of wood looks like some reclaimed wood you found at the barn.

    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 very next day. Even though it was coated in vinegar, the board did not smell like it the next day. 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 Stencil a Wooden Porch Sign

    Step 1: Clean the Wood

    Use a slightly damp cloth to wipe any dust and debris off the wood. Dust will keep the stencil from sticking fully to the wood.

    Step 2: Spray and Position the Stencil

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

    Spray one side of your stencil with our Repositionable Adhesive Spray. Do this away from the sign you will be stenciling, you do not want the wood to become sticky too. (Tip from our stencilers: Keep you mouth and closed while spraying). After spraying the stencil, wait 30-60 seconds before placing the stencil on the sign. This is very important, our adhesive spray is strong stuff, and if you do not wait 30 seconds you might have trouble removing the stencil later.

    Once the stencil is in place, press the edges of the stencil design firmly into the wood so that no edges are sticking up. 

    Use Frog Tape Painters' Tape around the outer edges of the stencil to protect the wood from any stray brush strokes.

    Step 3: Stencil with a Dry Brush

    To stencil properly you will use the dry brush technique

    Stenciling is not painting. The "Dry Brush" technique is key to stenciling; your stencil brush should be almost dry when you stencil.  Stenciling with too much paint will cause paint to bleed under the stencil.

    To stencil with a dry brush, first dip your stencil brush in the paint, then dab or swirl excess paint off onto a roll of paper towels or paper plate. Before you stencil brush should feel about dry to the touch. To check that you have a dry brush, dot the brush on a piece of paper. Brush the dot with your finger, if the paint smudges you have too much paint on your brush to stencil. If the paint does not smudge, you have a dry brush and are ready to stencil!

    Swirl paint into the design edges

    Swirl or stipple the stencil brush over the entire stencil design (do not stencil in brush strokes). 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 than you have on a dry brush. Continue stenciling in very thin layers of paint and watch as the color gradually accumulates. Many coats of paint is expected when stenciling properly. 

    First coat of paint should look like this

    Feel free to gently peel off a corner of the stencil to take a look as you go! Below is a picture of what the first coat of paint should look like (almost invisible). By stenciling in 2-3 like coats 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. You won't need to reload the stencil brush often as you really want to see how far it can take you each time. When you find that very little to no paint is coming out of the brush, that is when to reload. Repeat the steps of swirling the stencil brush into the paint and swirling off the excess each time to prevent paint bleed. After the first time you load the brush the paint will go further.

    Step 4: Gently Remove the Stencil

    The last step is to peel the stencil off the surface

    Once you are satisfied with the stenciled color, you can remove the stencil! It should feel just about dry at this point if you are using the dry brush technique. Gently peel the stencil off the wooden sign, go slowly and try not to remove any paint with the stencil.

    Step 4: Seal with a 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 wooden 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 Gloss or Matte spray. The spray will protect the paint and the wood from weathering, rain or fading in the sun.

    Step 5: Clean the Stencil

    Last step! At Oak Lane Studio, our high-quality stencils are washable and reusable! After stenciling, be sure to clean all the paint off of your stencil before storing it away. (Dried paint can be difficult to remove and may make reusing the stencil difficult). 

    If you stenciled with acrylic paint, just let the stencil soak in warm water for about five minutes. The water will loosen the paint and make it easy for you to wipe off the paint with a cloth. Clean all the paint residue off the stencil before storing it for its next use. 

    Good Luck Stenciling!

    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!

    Share photos of your stenciling projects with us on social media!