How to Make a Vintage-Style Wood Sign Letter

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

I don’t know about you, but I love typography. I have a thing for old signs, old letters from signs, all that kind of thing. And I’ve always thought it would be fun to have an old, vintage oversized wooden letter in my creative space to inspire me. Before I even started I knew I was going to paint it pink to prop up next to my cute little yellow storage cabinet that I made over last week.

A quick search on Etsy gave me quite a few options. They aren’t cheap, though, with foot-tall letters coming in around $25-$30, and tall letters like I wanted (mine is about 20″ tall) are going for $50-$60! I’m sure that’s a reasonable price and the people who make those things really do deserve the money. But as you know, I don’t have any. So if I was going to indulge my dream of vintage-style typography in my space, I was going to have to make it myself with whatever supplies were laying around. Read on to see how I did it.

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

My goal was to create a letter that really looked like it came from an old fashioned sign, tall and skinny. I drew mine out on the back of a scrap piece of beadboard paneling, and when I was done it looked something like this:

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

My scrap of board just happeend to be 20 1/2″ tall, but anything in the ballpark will give you a similar result.

Now, I drew an “A” and you may want to draw something different. I’ll just share how I did the “A” and hopefully that will give you the basic idea so that you can design your own letter!

To draw the letter, I first drew a straight line up and down to use as a center line. I measured from the edge to make sure it was straight.

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

Next, I measured 1 3/4″ from each side of the center line at the top of the board and make a mark.

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

Then, I measured 5″ from either side of the center line at the bottom of the board.

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

Using a long ruler, I connected the marks on both sides to form the outside edges of the “A.”

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

The lines on the “A” are 3″ thick, so I used my quilting ruler to line the outside on the 3″ mark and just drew the inside line.

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

BUT, if you don’t happen to have a quilting ruler, you can just measure and mark with a regular ruler, 3″ inward from both lines, tipping your ruler so it’s perpendicular to the slanted line forming the legs of the “A”.

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

For the crossbar I measured up 3 1/2″ from the bottom:

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

Then measured up another 3″ to make the thickness. Of course, if you happen to have a quilting ruler, you could use that here, too.

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

Now, all the necessary lines should be there! Use a big eraser to erase everything non-essential so that you don’t accidentally cut your letter in the wrong spot! You can also use the eraser to erase main lines and redraw if you don’t like how they look.

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

Next, use a drill to drill every inside corner you have to cut out. That gives you a place to use the saw, and also gives a little bit of a vintage look. Mr. Magpie did this for me so I could take pictures, and he used a 1/2″ drill bit. Kind of on the fat side. Position the drill bit so that when the hole is drilled, it won’t cut into the letter. On the top inside point of the “A” it might seem like it’s really low, but it’ll look right in the end.

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

Next, cut out your inner holes. You can use a jigsaw or a coping saw. We used a keyhole saw because that’s what was at hand. Just follow the line from hole to hole.

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

And finally, use a saw to cut the two long straight lines. You can use a hand saw, or if you have one, a circular saw like Mr. Magpie is using here:

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

(Of course it goes without saying that you should always be as safe as possible when using tools!!)

After the letter is cut out, paint it up any way you want. I chose to do a coat of primer, and two coats of some pink sample paint I had on hand. It’s Sherwin-Wiliams Azalea Flower.

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

A little distressing to show the primer through…

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

….and, you end up with something like this:

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

DIY Vintage Style Wood Sign Letter Tutorial via Cottage Magpie

What do you think? I really like how it turned out. Do you like old signage and sign letters? Do you have any? Would you make one or buy one?

~Angela :-)

Linking to: Home Stories A to Z, Three Mango Seeds, Sunny Simple Life, Sew Many Ways, Classy Clutter, Mod Vintage Life, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Uncommon Designs, Common Ground, Liz Marie Blog, JenniferRizzo.com

If you enjoyed this post, I would LOVE a comment. I read every one! If you want to keep in touch, consider subscribing to the RSS feed to receive updates in your reader.


Comments

  1. I love your pink A! I’m impressed with your skills…great tutorial.
    melinda

  2. Oh, I love it! Love the size and the colo and everything about itr! Great tutorial, Angela.

  3. What a great idea! I’m impressed with your skills, too! And, of course, now I want to make a letter, too. (sigh) I don’t have time for this! Oh, but I will….so I’ll just bookmark this! Thanks, kiddo!! Dona

    • Sorry, Dona! Hee hee hee! What letter do you think you’d want to make? Maybe the letter elves will have a surprise for you. Ha ha! ~Angela~

  4. So sweet! I love it. It looks great with the mail box. I love that pink!

    I also love those five dollar containers of sample paint at SW!

    • Aren’t they the best! So cheap and SO much paint!! I love them. And they’re really chalky so I use them on furniture without primer if I’m going to distress. I have a few too many of them (oooops). Thank you so much!! Yes, pink and yellow is my favorite combination. ~Angela~

  5. Really enjoying your blog. I have a question for you. Do you know the name of the fabric that you have on your family room windows?

    • Thank you so much, Kathy! Yes, I do know the fabric, although it’s pretty old and unfortunately out of print I believe. It’s a home decorator fabric from Moda Home from the “Seaside Rose” collection from 3 Sisters. There are several prints in the collection, and I don’t have model numbers, so you can search on “Seaside Rose” and sift through. There’s not a lot available! This particular print came in white, pink, pale blue and pale green. I looooove it. I only just barely have enough to do the curtains, so I’ll be sad to have it all gone!!! Thanks for stopping by. ~Angela~

  6. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    Very cool. I love beadboard!

    • Me too! I could pretty much cover *everything* with it if the Mr. would let me. Sadly, he won’t. But I keep trying! :-) ~Angela~

  7. This is stunning!! Love that it is made out of beadboard!! Brilliant and the tute is fab!! Thanks for sharing with us at Monday Funday!

  8. Love your cabinet, especially the finish and sweet letter A. Pinned and shared on Facebook! http://www.sewsweetvintage.com

  9. Michael Coline says:

    Great work again! your idea is really great and looks easy to make…I think that my daughter will want one of these in her bedroom.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Collected Vintage Gallery Wall by Finding Home ~ ~DIY Pendant by View Along The Way ~ ~ Updated Dresser/Changing Table by The Golden Sycamore~ ~ No Sew Dropcloth Slipcover by 9th and Mayne ~ ~ String Art by Lucy’s Inspired~ ~ Table and Chair Makeover by Art is Beauty ~ ~ PB Inspired Nightstand by Crafted Niche ~ ~ Vintage Wood Letter by Cottage Magpie […]

  2. […] Collected Vintage Gallery Wall by Finding Home ~ ~DIY Pendant by View Along The Way ~ ~ Updated Dresser/Changing Table by The Golden Sycamore~ ~ No Sew Dropcloth Slipcover by 9th and Mayne ~ ~ String Art by Lucy’s Inspired~ ~ Table and Chair Makeover by Art is Beauty ~ ~ PB Inspired Nightstand by Crafted Niche ~ ~ Vintage Wood Letter by Cottage Magpie […]

  3. […] Collected Vintage Gallery Wall by Finding Home ~ ~DIY Pendant by View Along The Way ~ ~ Updated Dresser/Changing Table by The Golden Sycamore~ ~ No Sew Dropcloth Slipcover by 9th and Mayne ~ ~ String Art by Lucy’s Inspired~ ~ Table and Chair Makeover by Art is Beauty ~ ~ PB Inspired Nightstand by Crafted Niche ~ ~ Vintage Wood Letter by Cottage Magpie […]

  4. […] Collected Vintage Gallery Wall by Finding Home ~ ~DIY Pendant by View Along The Way ~ ~ Updated Dresser/Changing Table by The Golden Sycamore~ ~ No Sew Drop cloth Slipcover by 9th and Mayne ~ ~ String Art by Lucy’s Inspired~ ~ Table and Chair Makeover by Art is Beauty ~ ~ PB Inspired Nightstand by Crafted Niche ~ ~ Vintage Wood Letter by Cottage Magpie […]

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