One of my favorite places to get supplies is Menard’s, because it is so completely random and there are some good deals to be had. I always shop the scrap wood end cap and pick out the best or most interesting boards. The prices have gone up a bit in the last year but I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than $5.00. I love it! I use the boards for my hand-painted signs. Some days I like the plain wood, other times I spray paint or stain it.
I look for inspiration online and design most of my signs using Photoshop (CS6). I’ve tried a ton of different methods to transfer the design to the wood and a lot times it just depends on my mood and motivation for the day. My best suggestion is to keep it simple. Designs never transfer with great detail. The details I add when I paint, which actually allows me a lot of freedom to make each sign a one-of-a-kind.
The first sign I made was decoupaged paper I had cut out to make a stall sign. Cutting everything out was a real pain and getting enough lacquer on it to keep it sturdy at horse shows was a process too, but it did turn out pretty cool. I realized quickly though that it was more expensive and time-consuming to make signs this way. Since, I’ve hand painted which is tricky. Text and outlines are the most challenging aspects as well as opacity.
Yesterday, I was inspired to try painting a stall sign. I made it for my mother and her horse, Ozzy. It took me a couple of hours to paint but it turned out pretty great. I was quite worried about getting the details of Ozzy correct but in the end, I’m rather pleased!