Do-It-Yourself Rustic Wood Sign

I'm showing you how to make this realistic rustic wood sign...the best part is that it is a Do-It-Yourself project so no need to hire a professional!

I originally posted this picture on Instagram a few weeks ago and had so many people comment on how much they loved this vintage and antique sign. Well, guess what peeps? I made it!

Coca-Cola Sign

This Coca-Cola sign has by far been one of my favorite DIY’s I have done. The Hubster was shocked when I first showed him the completed project. He thought for sure I had found this off the side of an old barn. Jokes on him, right?

It is about time that I have this post up for y’all! This post has been highly requested and every time I had planned to complete it, you bet life put it’s crazy spin on my plans.

So Without Further Ado

The Supplies you will need:

  • 5 Slats of 5/8 in. x 5-1/2 in. x 6 ft. Western Red Cedar Dog-Ear Fence Picket
  • Orbital Sander
  • 80 Grit Ultra Durable Sanding Discs
  • 120 Grit Ultra Durable Sanding Discs
  • Measuring Tape
  • Pencil
  • Circular Saw
  • 3/32 Drill Bit
  • Screw Driver
  • 1 inch Wood Screws (approximately 10)
  • Phillips Screw Driver
  • Poster of your choice
  • Mod Podge
  • Foam Brushes (approximately 4)
  • White Paint
  • Dark Walnut Stain
  • Water
  • Plastic Cups (approximately 4)
  • Old Towel
  • Satin Finish Clear Coat Finish Spray Paint
  • D Ring Wire Picture Hanging Kit

Please note that these supplies and measurements are based on a 24 x 36 inch poster. Readjust sizes and/or alignment to suit your project needs.

Step One

Besides obviously picking out your poster, you will want to gather your supplies.

5/8 in. x 5-1/2 in. x 6 ft. Western Red Cedar Dog-Ear Fence Picket

After picking out my fence picket slats, I asked a Home Depot employee to cut 40 inch pieces from the bottom of the slat. It’s free, so save yourself some time and just have them cut the wood so that you don’t have to do it later on like I had to…

If I was to do it again, I would also ask for two of the leftover fence picket slats to then be cut again to 24 inches…

Cutting Station at Home Depot

Step Two

You’ll want to take your cut fence picket slats and sand them down so that the poster will stick with the Mod Podge to the boards. I used my Dewalt Orbital Sander with 3M Pro Grade Ultra Durable 80 Grit 5 in. Sanding Disc. You’ll want to make sure that you sand in a well ventilated area and that you are wearing proper protection.

Sanding Equipment

You’ll want to sand all surfaces and edges of the fence picket slats. This will allow for a smooth workable surface and for distressing to take place later on.

Step Three

After all of the fence picket slats are sanded and smooth, you will want to arrange your slats to the specific order that you desire. The fence picket slats that have the most characteristic features you will want to have as either your top or bottom piece. The middle pieces will mostly be covered by your poster and will not show as well.

Step Four

If you followed my suggestion above and had the remaining slats be cut to 24 inches then skip to Step Six.

After arranging your five fence picket slats, you’ll want to take two left over pieces from your original slats and with a tape measure mark with your pencil so that once cut they will be 24 inches long.

Arranging Slats
Measuring for 24 inches

Step Five

Cutting the Fence Picket Slats

Since the Hubster was at work, I enlisted the help of my brother to cut the two fence picket slats to 24 inches with our circular saw. He wanted to make sure that I could get the perfect picture for the blog, he’s so sweet! Little Miss was in dancing to Moana with Grandma… I think she wishes we could do these projects everyday 😉

Once your two slats are cut, you’ll want to sand these pieces like you did above so that all surfaces and edges are smooth.

Step Six

You’ll want to flip your arranged fence picket slats over so that the “back” of the slats are now facing you. You’ll take your two smaller slats and arrange them vertically across the horizontal slats, pictured below.

Next you’ll take your screw driver and 3/32 drill bit and drill holes through vertical slats only. This makes it so that the vertical fence picket slats will not split when screwing the screws into the horizontal fence picket slats.

Using 1 inch wood screws, you will secure the screws into both fence picket slats in the following order below.

Step Seven

Tightening Screws

With your Phillips Screw Driver, you will further tighten the screws while ensuring that the wood screws do not emerge through horizontal fence picket slats. I had my dad tighten the screws because let’s get real here, he is stronger than me…

Step Eight

Supplies to Adhere Poster

Let the artistic work begin! You’ll want to have the poster of your choice, a plastic cup, a foam brush, and Mod Podge. I used a Gloss Lustre Mod Podge but you can use whatever finish you prefer. I poured a half cup full of Mod Podge into a plastic cup so that clean up would be easier when finished.

Adhering Poster to Wood Frame

Starting from the bottom of your wood frame, you will brush Mod Podge onto the portion of the slat that the poster will be covering. You will lay down your poster over the Mod Podge and press the poster into the wood slat. Parts of the poster will lift but using your foam brush, brush additional Mod Podge onto the back of the poster and again press the poster into the wood slat.

You will continue this process until the entire poster is adhered to the wood frame. Occasionally, I would rip off certain areas of the poster so that these areas would be easier to distress.

Step Nine

After allowing the Mod Podge to dry you’ll want to lightly sand the middle sections and edges of the poster with 3M Pro Grade 120 Grit Sanding Discs, making it so that the poster looks antiqued.

Step Ten

With your white paint, I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Pure White, pour approximately a 1/4 cup into a plastic cup. You’ll then gradually add a small amount of water to the cup of paint until the paint has thinned. Using a foam brush you will lightly brush the white paint over the fence picket slats and randomly over the poster, using back and forth motions with your foam brush while still leaving plenty of wood showing on the slats.

Step Ten

Once the white paint has dried on the wood frame, you will pour approximately a 1/2 cup of stain, I used Minwax Wood Finish, into another plastic cup. You will then pour part of the stain from this plastic cup into the other plastic cup full of watered down white paint (I found it was easier to pour from plastic cup to plastic cup then from the stain container). You want to have two parts stain to one part white paint. Some separation may happen while mixing the paint and stain together because of the oil-based stain mixing with water, however it won’t make a difference to the finished product. The foam brush will absorb the paint and stain, so you will want to squeeze the excess out of your brush before applying to your board. Test the stain color application on the back of the wood frame before applying over poster.

Working in small areas, use a foam brush and lightly brush the stain/paint mixture over the slats and randomly over the poster, using back and forth motions with your foam brush, and then quickly wiping away any excess stain with your old towel. Apply this technique to outer edges of the wood frame as well.

Finished Antiqued Sign

Step Eleven

Once the stain/paint mixture has dried you will then apply a clear finish coat to your wood frame, I used a Satin Finish by Krylon found here, but any clear coat spray paint will do.

Applying Clear Finish Coat

Step Twelve

After the finish coat has dried you will then attach a D Ring Hardware from the Picture Hanging Kit to each vertical fence picket slat a 1/3 of a way down from the top of the slat.

D Ring Hardware Attached

After hardware has been attached you will string wire and secure on both end of the D Ring.

Wire Secured and Ready to Hang

Display Your Finished Sign

I can’t wait to see your finished pieces using this blog post. Make sure to post your finished pieces on Instagram and tag me @1776FauxFarmhouse so that I can see and comment on your rustic wood signs. If you aren’t following me yet, head on over and click that follow button because there are more project posts headed your way!

Until next time,


This post is not affiliated or sponsored by Home Depot or ANY brands displayed or linked throughout this tutorial. Please note that these are the supplies and brands that I chose to use myself for this project.

The power tools listed above are dangerous and if not used properly can result in fatal injures or death. If you are not comfortable using these power tools please consult someone who does.

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