Tear Apart Pallet
First, you’ll have to tear apart a pallet., you can aquire a pallet from all sorts of places. I can get them used for free from the place I work. If you know a friend that works at a factory or manufacturing shop, chances are you can pick one up for relatively cheap, if not free! In this tutorial, we wanted the pallet wood defects such as nail holes, cracks, and warping to distinguish it. The great thing about tearing a pallet apart is you do not have to cut the boards to size as they are already cut to a specific dimension and should all be even in length.
There are several ways to join the boards together. You can screw supporting boards vertically along the back, use the biscuit joining method, or if you want the slimline look of biscuit joining with the rigidity of screws, I used the Kreg joint method. A Kreg jig can be purchased from Amazon or at your local hardware store. I do not have the name brand Kreg Jig, and it was given to me by my dad, so I’m not sure which brand I have but the concept is the same. Here is a few off brand options; General Tools 850 Pro Kit , General Tools 849 E Z Pocket Hole System. The only difference between the off brands and the Kreg Jig is the Kreg Jig has a drill gruide block. This would make it a little easier when figuring out how far to drill into the wood. If you don’t buy the name brand, I would suggest the General Tools Pro. The ratings are quiet a bit higher than the 849 and for $5 more, you get the drive bit, self tapping screws, and the case.
Start out by securing the boards into the Kreg jig. This jig will allow you to cut a slanted pocket into the board that will not be seen from the front, and allow you to screw the boards together at an angle. Drill the pilot holes as needed.
After you have drilled all the pockets you need (about 1 pocket per 6-8 inches) then you attach the special 6-inch driver bit to give you the length to drive in the screws. Make sure you are driving the boards together on a flat surface. Clamps are highly recommended, however I do not own any, so i simply place my body weight on both boards while driving the screws to keep one board from rising higher than the other.
Sanding the Boards
After the boards are all secured together you will want to sand it if you are planning to paint the entire sign. If you are simply adding letters to the weathered pallet wood, you may not want to sand it to keep the rustic look of the pallet.
Paint the Sign
You’ll want to wipe the saw dust from the board and let dry before you begin painting. We chose to use some left over paint from out bathroom and mixed it with some Killz to get a lighter color. If you choice to mix any leftover paint, make sure to mix thoroughly. Paint until you get a good coverage.
Designing your stencil
The stenciling, cutting, tracing, and painting is the most time consuming aspect of this project. There are many ways to go about this, and you can find many ideas and inspirations on different techniques online, but this is the way we went about it.
If you have Photoshop or a similar image editing software (we used Photoshop Elements), you will want to use that as you can type in the dimensions of your sign and not have to worry about scaling letters and fonts, etc.
Setting printer to print to size
Once you have your pattern figured out you can print out the whole thing onto standard 8.5×11 paper. Our sign was 33″x28″ so we designed it out to that scale. Once you go to print it, you should have an option to print “poster.” All printers are different but here is the way ours looks so you can get an idea of the options.
Creating an outline
Line up and Paste together the pages to complete the design. Then lay the design on the sign. We use a lightly adhesive tape to secure the pages to the board and began scoring.
We used an X-acto knife to cut out the design, and score a fine line on the sign. This was a team effort. One of us cut out the font while the other one used a fine tip black Sharpie to create an outline. We chose to go with a black front so black Sharpie blended in but you choose to paint another color, you may want to choice a diff color sharpie unless your ok with a black outline. If the X-acto knife leaves a pretty visible outline, you might be able to skip the outlining step. It wasn’t very visible so we chose to outline.
Begin painting font
We used a black acrylic paint with gloss and a paintbrush to paint the lettering. I used a better quality paintbrush. We used a round size 8 paintbursh. We bought a 5 pack at WalMart. Here they are on Amazon so you can order or get an idea of what to use. We chose the round because it allows you to get a fine point and a thick line. This does take some technique so you may want to practice first before painting on your sign.
Preparing the pallet sign to hang
We used hinge-type mounting brackets spaced evenly to support the weight of the sign. If possible, try to mount into studs. If studs are not available for desired placement, (like ours wasn’t) make sure you use plastic drywall mounts and screws.’