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Project Ideas: Seasonal & Holiday

Thanksgiving Wood Signs


A great and inexpensive way to liven up your home during November is to make do-it-yourself signs from wood celebrating Thanksgiving.


I chose to make 3 distinct and unique signs that almost anyone can create themselves. All 3 are at or less than 12 inches in size, which makes them perfect for storage after Turkey Day is complete. Most importantly, the 3 I made were done in different skill levels of beginner, medium, and (somewhat) advanced.


Before I describe the 3 in detail of their designs, I’ll briefly go over how the 3 were cut to size.


All the signs were ½” sanded plywood from our scrap pieces in our workshop. Once I determined what size I could make out of them, I made sure the sizes were correct by marking and making cuts where they were needed via the jigsaw.


Once I cut to size and cut out what was needed, I proceeded to then sand each sign using a palm sander. This is done to eliminate rough edges.

Once I got the final size of signs I wanted, I then proceeded to draw/paint on them.


Beginner Sign: Turkey Hand


You really can’t go wrong with the classic “trace out your hand and make a turkey from it” design. This is a fun and simple sign that takes no more than a few hours to do. The most time spent on it is making sure the paint is dry on each paint color.


After painting the turkey in the 6 colors (red, orange, yellow, bronze, white, and brown), I then used a black fine-tip marker to draw in the eyes and feet after making sure the paint was dry.  Next, I proceeded to spray paint a little orange and blue on the top and bottom of the sign. Any excessive amount you can sand off, as I did.


To give it a little more panache, I then proceeded to write out fun lettering of the season via a gold paint marker.


And, you are ready to enjoy your new sign! It’s optional, but you can add screws or holes to the back for hanging.


Medium Sign: 8-bit Design


The next sign takes a bit more patience, since you are working with straighter lines. I used the 8-bit video games from the 1980’s as a point of reference and guidance in the design. Although this could be argued that the design can also look like cross-stitching too.


The key to doing this design is drawing out where the letters and forms will go first via a pencil and ruler. Mark out squares and know where the final colors will be placed.


You can find various 8-bit/pixelated/cross-stitch images from doing a quick internet search for ideas. Having a steady hand and a good painter’s brush works well on this sign.  Always experiment with a small piece of wood if you are ever unsure about how much control you can get with your design.

Use as many colors as possible, and you can add black to the outlines for the turkey and pilgrim hat to give a finalized appearance.


(Somewhat) Advanced Sign: Turn of the Century Motif

This sign is advanced, at least versus the other 2, because of the time and effort taken on it.


To start off with the transitional colors on the background, I first started with a floral design stencil and slowly use a cinnamon red, orange, and light yellow color spray paints on it.


Next, I chose typography from turn-of-the century fire insurance maps to get the right design and layout. I proceed to paint the body of the text white after writing in the letters with a pencil. Afterwards, I used a drop shadow effect using a marker. I used the marker as well for further embellishments to finish off the sign.


Remember, just like anything you do that is custom, it is up to you to make it however you like.


If you start out with basic tools and materials mentioned in this post, you can get a one-of-a-kind Thanksgiving themed sign that can be enjoyed for many years to come.


Let us know if you have any questions regarding making these signs.



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Posted 2015-11-16T19:01:25+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL Joseph_HD_ATL