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Upcycled Happy Halloween Sign & FREE Cut File!

See how to make a DIY ‘Happy Halloween’ sign that was an easy upcycling project from a thrift store find!

You can grab the FREE Halloween cut file too to make a spooky project of your own this fall!

Upcycled Happy Halloween Sign & FREE Cut File!

Upcycled Happy Halloween Sign & FREE Cut File!

I had a rare childless-Saturday morning a couple weeks ago, and one of the stores I visited was my local Salvation Army thrift store.

Can you tell I’m a crafter?

There were TONS of things I wanted to buy…

“I could paint this…”

“This would be *fabulous* with some vinyl…”

“A little etching cream here and we’d have a winner…”

However, I subdued most of my crafting urges (to keep my project list from wrapping around the globe), and I ended up walking out with a few finds from the picture section: a great large frame and two signs, all for only $10!

Upcycling ‘Happy Halloween’ Sign Supplies

Here’s what I used to upcycle a thrift store find into a DIY ‘Happy Halloween’ sign:

My Thrift Store Find

One of the signs I snagged was this exceptionally dated “Gone Sailing” thing.

I walked in the house with it and said to The Hubs (with the biggest grin on my face) “Look what I got!”

I could tell his cautious reply of “Oh…well, that’s….niiiice.” was really code for “Why in the HELL did you buy that?!?”

It was just the response I was looking for. :)

No, we don’t do any sailing here in North Alabama, and even if we did, I would never display this piece as is.

However, its bones are solid because it:

  • is a great size for a holiday sign
  • would be easy to paint over and customize
  • was only $2.00!
Upcycling project with a thrift store sign.

My ‘Happy Halloween’ Design

A while back, I spotted this ‘Happy Halloween’ sign on Pinterest and immediately fell in love with the cute and clever way the two words were intertwined.

It’s also over $60, so my $2 knockoff was going to be quite the DIY bargain!

Since I’d be cutting out a vinyl stencil using my Silhouette Cameo, I opened Silhouette Studio and spent one evening creating my own version of the design.

I also added a couple little dingbats to really amp up the Halloween factor.

Prepping the ‘Happy Halloween’ Sign: Sanding

The first order of business in getting this sign ready for its makeover was removing the ugly, and that started with some sanding.

I grabbed a disc of sand paper from our electric hand sander and just did some light sanding over the entire surface.

This was mostly just to remove the who knows how many years of grime that had accumulated on it, and to also sand away the little dots of glitter that were on the boat’s blue sail.

I also wasn’t sure if I was going to keep the metal wire for hanging it, so I left it attached until I could make up my mind.

Upcycling project with a thrift store sign.

Prepping the ‘Happy Halloween’ Sign: White Base

Now that we had a nice, smooth surface, it was time to prime (Rhymin’ Simon here).

I first covered up the wire with some painter’s tape, then I used some white spray paint and applied a couple coats to the front, back, and all sides.

I wasn’t trying to hide all of the (ugly) design, I just needed to create a nice even foundation for the rest of the paint.

Upcycling project with a thrift store sign.
Upcycling project with a thrift store sign.

Painting the ‘Happy Halloween’ Sign: Orange Base Coat

Once the white spray paint had dried completely, I brought the sign indoors and started applying the orange base coat of paint.

I used some orange craft paint that would be the final color of the words in my design, and, with a foam brush, applied a couple coats on all sides of the board.

Painting a DIY Happy Halloween sign.
Painting a DIY Happy Halloween sign.

Here’s a handy painting tip: If you’re painting multiple coats of the same color, instead of washing your paint brush between each coat while waiting for the previous one to dry, just place your wet paint brush in a plastic bag.

It will be ready for you and the next coat, and save you time, paint, and money!

Painting Tip: Put a wet paint brush inside a plastic bag instead of washing it between uses!

Applying the ‘Happy Halloween’ Vinyl Stencil

Now that my orange base coat was ready, it was time to apply my design stencil that would actually be used as a reverse stencil.

I cut it out in some vinyl with my Silhouette Cameo, weeded it, then applied it to the board using the hinge method (you can read more about this application method here or here).

You could of course just use this vinyl piece as your final design instead of painting any further.

It’s all personal preference!

Painting a DIY Happy Halloween sign.

Painting the ‘Happy Halloween’ Sign: Black Spray Paint

Now that my ‘Happy Halloween’ reverse stencil was in place, it was time to apply the top coat.

For this I used some black spray paint, and first applied a couple coats to the back.

Once that was dry, I flipped the board over and did the same to the front and sides.

Painting a DIY Happy Halloween sign.

Painting the ‘Happy Halloween’ Sign: Glitter Paint

To make this sign even more festive and Halloweeny, I then grabbed some black glitter paint and added a couple coats over top the black.

This paint is a clear liquid with black, orange, and green glitter…perfect for this project, right?!

It definitely jazzed it up, and since the vinyl was still applied, it would only show overtop the black on the final design.

The orange letters would still remain glitter-less and have nice contrast.

Painting a DIY Happy Halloween sign.

Removing the ‘Happy Halloween’ Vinyl Stencil

A couple hours later and my sign was dry and now ready for Operation Remove.That.Vinyl!

I simply used my nail to pick up the edge of each piece of vinyl, then grabbed it with my fingers and sloooowly pulled off each piece, revealing the pretty bright orange underneath.

Painting a DIY Happy Halloween sign.

See what a nice, subtle gleam the glitter paint provides?

It’s not over-powering and just gives it a little pizzazz and brightens it up.

And I just love those little dingbats.

Nothing says “Halloween” like a jack-o-lantern and spiderweb!

Painting a DIY Happy Halloween sign.

The Final ‘Happy Halloween’ Sign: A Successful Upcycling Project!

And my holiday upcycling is complete!

The hideous “Gone Sailing” design is no more (along with the wire hanger), thanks to being now happily covered by this fun and festive fall cuteness.

Upcycled Happy Halloween Sign & FREE Cut File!
Upcycled Happy Halloween Sign & FREE Cut File!
Upcycled Happy Halloween Sign & FREE Cut File!

This ‘Happy Halloween’ sign now has a happy home every October as part of our Halloween mantel decor!

Halloween mantel decor!

Download the FREE Happy Halloween Cut File Below!

Upcycled Happy Halloween Sign & FREE Cut File!

If you’d like this FREE Happy Halloween cut file to create some fall cuteness of your own, just click on the ‘DOWNLOAD’ graphic below to download the .studio file from a Dropbox folder.

Happy crafting!

(As a little side note, the outer box in the cut file was what I used as a guide for the actual size of my board, so I did not cut that line. You may or may not need that cut line for your project.)

Download this FREE printable and/or cut file from Where The Smiles Have Been!

{THE FINE PRINT: This file is for PERSONAL NON-COMMERCIAL USE ONLY. So don’t use it for anything you’re selling, share the file itself, or share the download link directly. Thanks!}

Upcycled Happy Halloween Sign & FREE Cut File!

If You Enjoyed This…

Make sure you check out my Project Gallery for even more DIY fall projects as well as LOTS more freebies, like these!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy Halloween!

Where The Smiles Have Been | Crafts. DIY. Home. Mom Life.


Sunday 3rd of September 2017

Thank you!


Tuesday 5th of September 2017

You're very welcome, Anne! I hope you enjoy the cut file! :)

Kelly of Simply Kelly Designs

Wednesday 30th of September 2015

I remember shopping with toddlers. I don't want to scare you but it only gets only a *little* better when they get older. I love shopping by myself when the kids are at school. :) Love the sign! Thanks for the cut file.


Wednesday 7th of October 2015

Haha, thanks for the heads up, Kelly! Yes, it amazes me how much I'm able to accomplish while my son is at school....and how much I enjoy those precious hours! ;)

Halloween Footprint Craft

Thursday 16th of October 2014

[…] coat of glitter paint next to brighten the board up a bit.  I also used this glitter paint for my ‘Happy Halloween’ sign as well as for the cereal box signs on my pumpkin wreath and NFL ‘House Divided’ […]


Friday 10th of October 2014

I came across your blog today & must say that I love it! I have spent all morning reading every post. I am a mom of a 11 month old, a wanna-be DIYer and just found out I am expecting baby #2 this morning. I especially love all you personalized crafts & first birthday ideas. I hope you keep posted b/c I'll be reading!


Friday 10th of October 2014

Awww, thanks Jamie! That is SO very sweet of just made my day. :) Sometimes life in blogland can be kinda lonely, so your feedback is very much appreciated. I myself am a wanna-be DIYer too, which is part of the reason why I started this blog....I like having the pressure to complete more projects! And personalized crafts are sort of an addiction for me, so I'm happy to hear you enjoy them as well!

And SUPER BIG CONGRATULATIONS on baby #2!!! Squeeeeee!! My little man is 16-months-old now and I am already having baby fever husband, on the other hand, still gets the deer-in-headlights look when I broach the subject of another rugrat. :) So happy for you!

Martha McLure

Saturday 13th of September 2014

After having a Cameo sit unused for 18 months, this will be my first project. Since you posted great instructions and photos, and gave us the file, I know your goal was to inspire others and you have done that. Thank you!!!!


Saturday 13th of September 2014

Oh Martha, I feel so honored that you are choosing this as your first project!! The Cameo can be intimidating at first, but bust that thing out! It is SO much fun to play with and get your creative juices flowing. I've only had mine since the spring but it has literally changed my life (it was the impetus behind me starting this blog!). Please reach out to me if you have any questions at all and I'll do my best to help (although I'm still a Silhouette newbie myself!). ;) I would love to see your creation as well. Take care!