A few months ago we went to Nashville for a business trip. We were really excited to go because neither one of us had explored the wonderful city that we have heard so much about. On one of our ventures one day we drove to Franklin, Tennessee which is about a half an hour south of Nashville. Oh my gosh, guys, it is the cutest little southern town ever. If you haven’t been there and are looking for a quaint southern town with boutiques, cafes and art, it is a must see.
While walking on Main Street, we walked in to a store called The Iron Gate. It had southern charm, shabby chic yet sophisticated home decor and the friendliest staff. There was a piece of art that specifically caught my eye. It was a hand lettered wooden sign but larger than normal. I also realized that the possibility of getting this home would be a challenge since it probably measured 4 feet by 3 feet so I took a picture with my camera.
I never forgot about that photo and kept thinking, as a maker, I knew that I could replicate my own personal rendition of it. It wasn’t until the days leading up to our wedding anniversary that I thought I could actually make this for Dean for his anniversary present. Chalk paint + Lettering = Anniversary Gift. Score!
We had a large square 4′ x 4′ piece of plywood in our garage from the transitional home re-design project we did here. If you checked out the link, you will see that we used the other half of this plywood for a tabletop where we cut and stained the wood to give it a rustic decor. That was one of my favorite projects.
Now, at this point, Dean knew I was up to something especially since he saw me rummaging around the garage in the heat of the summer. I did tell him that I was planning on using it for a hand designed wall art piece but he had no idea that it was meant for him.
If you could know my husband there aren’t too many things that get by him and if you are in the garage asking questions and searching for things he is definitely going to get involved. I loved the saying on the art and knew that was what I wanted to paint but I wanted to add a stained wood frame. This is where Dean comes in to help. Yep, he helped make his own anniversary gift but at the time he really didn’t know it was for him.
I painted the 4′ x 4′ plywood with Old White chalk paint by Annie Sloan. I wanted to mimic the Corinthians 13: 4-7 sign that Dean got me for Christmas from Chip and Joanna’s store Magnolia Market so I painted one coat of the chalk paint intentionally leaving some of the plywood to show through for a rustic look very similar to theirs. Be sure to check out our Rustic Tour to see the beautiful wood sign.
Dean cut down 1″ x 2″ quality pine wood to fit the sides of the plywood. We picked the wood up at our local big box home and garden store. He then stained them with a walnut stain color and nailed them onto the plywood when dried.
Here is what it looked like when all put together.
Now, preparing the hand lettering. To make sure your words are straight you can use a ruler.
A cool trick I learned at one of my hand lettering courses was to use a laser level. When you use the laser you will have less lines to erase.
I sketched out my words and letters in pencil first. Any kind of pencil will do. Make sure you have an eraser. I probably sketched out my letters 5-6 times so the eraser was my friend.
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Graphite is a favorite and very versatile color so I thought it would look good for this project. It’s not too black and it’s not to dark gray. I considered using gold metallic paint but decided against it. The paintbrush is a round #3.
The options above would work well too if you don’t want to paint on the letters with a paintbrush. I used the arctic white Zig Woodcraft marker for the hand lettered pallet sign that I posted about awhile ago. There are plenty of choices of paint pens you can choose from at your local craft stores or purchase on Amazon. They are all great options for painting on wood. Don’t sweat it if you mess up, all you have to do is paint right over it and try again.
I can’t say that Dean was totally surprised by his gift since he saw me hand lettering the words out on the lanai. It’s kind of hard to hide a 4′ x 4′ piece of art. I didn’t present it in cute wrapping paper nor did I make a big presentation but I think the words alone resonate with both of us and he absolutely loved it.
It hangs on a wall in our master bedroom entry. It is the first thing we see. It is a nice daily affirmation for the both of us.
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