Yet Another Sign-Painting Tutorial

Yet Another Sign-Painting Tutorial


Yet another sign painting tutorial from, remember the time, back a long, long while ago, before the chickens took over the yard and I had my sweet little secret garden?  Yeah, me neither.  But this sign hung over the entrance:

Rough translation: Little Garden of Weeds. Another sign-painting tutorial from
Rough translation: Little Garden of Weeds.

Yeah, well….now the chickens have laid claim to my pretty little garden….and….it isn’t so pretty anymore.  But, I digress.

A new sign is in order!

I decided to go ahead and use the same pre-made little slab of wood (purchased in the wood craft department of Michaels), and just knocked down the lettering and finish on it with a power sander.  You know, rough it up a bit.

Now–time for the sign-painting magic.  As I’ve demonstrated before, all you need for this transfer method is some sort of basic computer design program, a regular old printer, and a china marker.

Design up your lettering and print it out–depending on the layout, I print it out in sections, or one word at a time.  This one was printed in sections:

Yet another sign painting tutorial from
I spliced this into three parts, but as it turned out, I only needed the two end print-outs.

Cut your words out and and make sure they fit properly on your ‘canvas’:

Easy sign-painting method from
Fits like un gant.

Now, flip your print-outs over and color the backside of the letters liberally with your china marker:

Easy letter-transfer method for sign painting from
Scribble like you mean it.

Now, replace your print-outs properly onto your sign, and tape them down in one or two spots just to keep them in place.  Use a pencil to trace your letters.

Easy letter-transfer method for sign-painting from
Clearly, I can’t seem to keep it within the lines.

Now remove your print-outs, and you should have yourself a nice little transfer!

Easy letter-transfer method for sign painting from
Oh, yesssss. C’est si bon.

Now, carefully paint (or frankly, paint-pen) your letters in:

Easy letter-transfer method for sign painting from
For this sign, I started with dark brown for the letters….

Next, I stained the exposed wood with a weathered grey stain, and at this point, I decided I hated the dark brown letters and went and painted over them in white.  It’s what I do.  Then I did a faint white-washing over the top of the entire sign.

Easy letter-transfer method for sign-painting from Chicken garden sign on a garden gate made from an upcycled old door.
All nice and finished, hung on the garden door/gate. I originally thought that this phrase roughly translated to ‘Little Chicken Garden’ (a ‘potager’ being a little garden off of a main garden, usually of the kitchen variety). I was wrong. It should probably read ‘Potager des Poulets’. It was pointed out to me that the term ‘de poulet’ is more of a reference to chicken as an ingredient in a recipe, not an actual, living chicken. Gah! Woops. But I think I’m going to leave it because I kind of think it’s a funny mistake.

Why the French?  Je ne sais pas.  I’m just kinda fancy like that (despite the fact that I have gone and bastardized this beautiful language almost beyond recognition.  **Sigh**).

Easy letter-transfer method for sign-painting from Chicken garden sign on an old door turned garden gate in the Farmhouse38 garden.


  1. Carla S.

    I love your method of doing signs. My problem is -I don’t have a ” basic computer design program”. I’m new to all this and am wondering if you can tell me where I get or how to find a design program? Thank you so much.

    • Adobe Photoshop Elements is a pretty easy and affordable one–but also, this is something you could do just in MS Word!

  2. Love it! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. My photoshop doesn’t have these fancy fun fonts. Is “elements” a special package with additional font styles? Or do I need to speak French to be fancy like you?

    • I use normal Photoshop–mine didn’t come with super fancy fonts, either, but I grab them off the internet whenever I come across one I like. I’m a bit of a font-collector. Not sure what exactly Elements comes with–just know that it’s an easier and less expensive option to Photoshop. But the French helps keep it classy. 😉

  4. Kate, I adore your style. Thanks for the sign-making tips. I didn’t know about the china marker. I have a sign just waiting for me, too.

  5. Kathie

    I’m computer illiterate with the other girls. I find cute fonts and cant even download them correctly !! My chickens really need some French classiness in their coops. I think I’ll try to free hand it. Any other fancy French chicken sayings we can use?? Love it Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Thanks, Kathie!! Freehand is awesome! There are lots of cute French phrases that have to do with eggs–don’t know them off the top of my head (because I really don’t speak a lick of French), but Google seems to know quite a bit–LOL!!!

  6. Such lucky chickens!! Some eggs just fall into a nest and come out smellin’ like a rose… Well, from things you’ve hinted at, that is probably not the case… but you get the idea. I just love those girls!! And you do the darn cutest things!!

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