I had a rare childless-Saturday morning a couple weeks ago when I told The Hubs that he was on baby duty for a few hours. I was going to go shopping….just for FUN. No list. Nothing needed. Just me by my lonesome, hopping from store to store, browsing at my leisure and gingerly strolling up and down (and back up) aisles, picking up finds as I pleased without having to worry about a squirmy toddler constantly trying to twist and fling himself out of a shopping cart.
IT. WAS. AMAZING. I had forgotten what it was like to not rush through a shopping trip or not constantly check to make sure we had all our shoes and sippy cups and annoying musical toys in tow (yes, I need to get out more).
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Happy Halloween Sign Upcycled From Thrift Store Find (and FREE Cut File!)
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!”…..but, I subdued most of my crafting urges to keep my project list from wrapping around the globe. I ended up walking out with a few finds from the picture section: a great large frame and two signs, all for only $10!
My Hideous Thrift Store Find
One of the signs I snagged was this exceptionally hideous “Gone Sailing” thing. Like I said, hideous. 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 Northern Alabama, and even if we did, I would never display this piece as is. However, its bones are solid: it is a great size for a holiday sign, would be easy to paint over and customize, and the best part…it was only $2.00! TWO BUCKS. Plus it saved me a trip to Home Depot for some wood. Ya can’t beat that.
My Halloween Sign 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 bargain! I fired up Silhouette Studio and spent one evening creating my own version of the design, and I also added a couple little dingbats to really amp up the Halloween factor.
My plan was to have the words and a border be orange and the rest of the sign be painted black. To do this, I would first paint the board orange, then apply my design in vinyl (which would act as a reverse stencil), then paint the entire thing black followed by some glitter paint. Once dry, I would remove my vinyl stencil to reveal the orange words and border.
Pssst….if you’d like to download the cut file I created for your own project for FREE, just keep reading! Details are below!
Prepping the Sign: Sanding
The first order of business was removing the ugly, and that started with some sanding. I grabbed a disc of sand paper from our electric sander and just did some light hand sanding over the entire surface. This was mostly just to remove 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.
Prepping the Sign: White Primer
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 primer 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.
Painting the Sign: Orange Base Coat
Once the primer had dried completely, I brought the sign indoors and started applying my base coat of paint. I used some orange acrylic 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.
Here’s a handy 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 and paint!
Applying the Vinyl Stencil
Now that my orange base coat was ready, it was time to apply my design stencil. I cut it out in some vinyl on 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).
Painting the Sign: Black Spray Paint
Now that my 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, then once that was dry, flipped the board over and did the same for the front and sides.
Painting the Sign: Glitter Paint
To make this sign even more festive and Halloweeny, I then grabbed some 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.
I was impatient and didn’t wait for the back to dry before applying some to the front…..do you like my drying method here? ;)
Removing the Vinyl Stencil
A couple hours later and my sign was dry….and ready for (cue Ty Pennington) 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. Some of the glitter paint peeled up in a few spots, but I just used a small paint brush and touched up those places…..good as new!
See what a nice, subtle gleam the glitter paint provides? It’s not over-powering….just gives it a little pizzazz and brightens it up. And I just love the little dingbats I added. Nothing says “Halloween” like a jack-o-lantern and spiderweb! I now wish I would have added some more dingbats, but this still makes me happy as is.
The Final Happy Halloween Sign: A Successful Upcycling Project!
And my upcycling is complete! The hideous “Gone Sailing” design is no more, thanks to being now happily covered by this fun and festive fall cuteness. It’s a nice little addition to our ever-growing fall decor. :)
FREE Silhouette Studio Cut File!
If you’d like this ‘Happy Halloween!’ cut file to create some fall cuteness of your own, just click on the link below to download the .studio file from Google Drive. Happy crafting!
(On a 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.)
(The Fine Print: This cut file is free for PERSONAL USE ONLY. No commercial use or redistribution is permitted. Thanks!)
If You Enjoyed This….
Make sure you check out my Project Gallery for even more DIY fall projects as well as LOTS more freebies!
Thanks so much for stopping by! And I would LOVE to see whatever you create with this file, so please do share! :)
Post updated September 2015 with new photos of completed sign.