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Discussion Starter #1
Want to pain a wooden Halloween Sign (but you have no actual talent) ?

Like many home haunters I like to have wooden painted signs in my Haunted Forest but I have absolutely no artistic talent at all, I mean none, zilch, nada. However, like several of my forum friends have discovered, I am pretty good a copying their stuff: like props that others have spent hours and hours on perfecting and then I shamelessly pirate (no pun intended) to make my grandkids think I am a genius at designing and making props for them. :eek: Keeping true to my lifelong motto of “never do anything for yourself that you can get someone else to do for you” here is how I make painted wooden signs for my Haunted Forest. It’s practically too simple for words. If you can trace a line you can make a sign.

Anyone who may have visited our website (scarypapashauntedforest.webs.com) has probably noticed the method I use to make large wooden props. It is called triangulation and is one method used in the theater to make large backdrops. The method for smaller wooden signs is much, much simpler.

Here are the tools and materials you will need:

1 Materials and Tools.jpg

1. A piece of ¼” plywood large enough for your sign.
2. A measuring tape
3. A straightedge
4. A pencil
5. A marker
6. Your sign pattern
7. Paint in the colors you want
8. Paint brushes
9. Carbon Paper
10. A roll of painters tape or similar to hold the pattern down.
11. A saber saw or similar cutting tool
12. A sander and / or sandpaper

!: Get on a computer and search for a sign pattern that you like. When you find something you like print a full page copy of the sign pattern.

Step 2: Enlarge the full page pattern until you have reached the desired size for your sign. This may require making enlarged copies of different parts of the sign and taping them together to make a complete pattern. A copy machine is the best for this but you can also do it on your computer if you have a program like publisher. (The example below is for a sign than I made earlier. I also used this basic pattern for the sign in this tutorial but with different wording)


Step 2: Place the ¼” plywood smooth side down and using the pencil, measuring tape, straightedge, and saber saw cut the ¼” plywood to a little larger size than the overall size of the finished sign. Note: this will not necessarily be the finished dimension of the sign. It should be a little oversized if like mine the sign will not be symmetrical. By placing the smooth side of the ¼” plywood down you will minimize splintering and chipping of the ¼” plywood.

2 Measure sign diameter and cut out.jpg

Step 3: Using the sander sand the smooth side of the plywood.

3 sand the smooth side of teh wook.jpg

Step 4: With the smooth side of the ¼” plywood facing up lay carbon paper over the surface of the plywood.

4 Lay Carbon paper over wood cut out.jpg

Step 5: Lay the sign pattern on top of the carbon paper and tape the pattern down to prevent slipping of the pattern. I liked the sign shape so much I made two signs. For the first one I used the pattern as I found it on the internet. For the second sign (the one I am using for this tutorial) I taped “I’D TURN BACK IF I WERE YOU !” on the sign pattern. I just used my computer to print out the letters in the font and size I wanted then taped them in place on the sign.

5 Lay pattern on top of carbon paper.jpg

Step 7: Use a pencil, pen or something similar and trace the sign pattern onto the ¼” plywood. Don’t be afraid to use a little pressure to be sure the pattern transfers to the ¼” plywood.

6 Trace pattern with pencil or.jpg

Step 8: Remove the pattern and Carbon paper from the ¼” plywood and using a marker trace over the carbon paper pattern that transferred to the ¼” plywood.

7 Use marker to trace over the pattern.jpg

Step 9: Using the saber saw cut out the outline of the sign. Now use the sander to smooth the rough cut edges.

8 Cut out the sign.jpg

Step 10: Using the skills you learned in kindergarden paint the sign. Just like when you used a coloring book.

9 Paint the sign.jpg

That is all there is to it. May not be as gorgeous as other signs I have seen on the forum made by really talented haunters but you have a pretty neat looking sign even thought your artistic skill may not be very good. Believe me when I say it is pretty quick (the whole process takes only about 3 hours), easy and requires absolutely no artistic talent at all.

Here are three signs I made using this technique.

13 Three Different signs.jpg

Here are two signs I made and attached to the gate of the Haunted Forest.

12 Both Signs on Gate.jpg

10 fnished Sign on Gate.jpg

11 Enter at own risk sigs on gate.jpg

If you don’t want to use plywood you can use the same technique on any wood surface design from a solid piece of wood to several pieces of wood put together.

736 Posts
Hey Scary Papa -

Thanks for sharing the technique - there are so many creative and cost-effective ways to produce your own custom signage. I actually create my own dry transfer paper simply by printing off the sign wording on the printer and spraying the back of the sheet with black spray paint (see link below). Simply tracing the lines with a ballpoint pen transfers the paint to the wood or panel you're using. Either way - it's creative, custom, and way more cost effective than buying the store-bought stuff.

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