Welcome to our house

As promised, here's a bonus blog post to make up for a gap in my typical blogging schedule. I normally try to post once in the middle of the week and once on the weekends, so my goal is to finish going through all our trip photos and get a recap post up in the next few days.

A few months ago I mentioned that we had been working on a "welcome" sign for our front porch. This weekend Keith fixed the holes I made in the brick attempting to hang the sign myself and so we finally have a fun new welcome for all our guests. We installed a new porch light that I purchased at Lowe's a few months ago and felt like there was far too large of a gap between the new light and mailbox. We played around with moving up the mailbox (at an awkward height) or getting help moving down the light. In the end I thought it would be fun to make a sign instead and brainstormed funny sayings or ideas to put on it. Here is the big awkward space that we started with:

Welcome Sign 1.JPG

I ran text ideas by Keith like "hey gorgeous" or "howdy friends" but in the end, we wanted something funny that would apply to anyone. So we both agreed on "hey good looking" (promptly followed by singing "what'cha got cooking ..." in our heads). Keith found some scrap wood in our garage, measured out the space and cut the piece to size for me. I sanded the piece and then the fun part started - stenciling! I went through all my paints and letter stencils in my office, came up with a layout for the piece and it took about fifteen minutes to paint. Here are a few photos of the first few steps in making the sign:

Step One: Find a good looking piece of scrap wood and measure to fit the space.

Step One: Find a good looking piece of scrap wood and measure to fit the space.

Step Two: Find a good looking husband and nicely ask him to cut the piece to size.

Step Two: Find a good looking husband and nicely ask him to cut the piece to size.

Step Three: Sand all the corners and sides until the wood is smooth as butter.

Step Three: Sand all the corners and sides until the wood is smooth as butter.

Step Four: Choose attractive stencil font and paint color to compliment your exterior.

Step Four: Choose attractive stencil font and paint color to compliment your exterior.

Step Five: Paint stencil then stand back and admire your handiwork.

Step Five: Paint stencil then stand back and admire your handiwork.

I was really happy with how it turned out and liked the simplicity of the sign. I waited to use a semi-gloss seal on it until convincing Keith to model the sign on the front of the house for me. The sign was fine, but both Keith and I thought it was a bit plain with the red shutters we have, red bench on our porch and our overall love for color.

Step Six: Get cute model to pose with sign against house.

Step Six: Get cute model to pose with sign against house.

First I thought it was just the color of the sign so I stained it a Golden Pecan color from Minwax. Once it dried, I still thought it was missing something, so I came up with a design for the right corner that included more colors and would make the sign stand out more by that industrial light and gray mailbox. I stenciled some designs and cut a few different sizes out of thicker magazine ads to serve as stencils. Then I picked out some more bold colors from my paint collection and went to town.

Step Seven: Try staining the wood to see if that helps.

Step Seven: Try staining the wood to see if that helps.

Step Eight: Decide that the sign is still lacking and brainstorm ideas for adding more visual interest.

Step Eight: Decide that the sign is still lacking and brainstorm ideas for adding more visual interest.

Step Nine: Accept the fact that you are now totally winging it and remind yourself that this is a piece of scrap wood, has cost you absolutely nothing yet and it's 100% okay if you totally ruin this project. Then make your own stencils out of scraps of magazine ads.

Step Nine: Accept the fact that you are now totally winging it and remind yourself that this is a piece of scrap wood, has cost you absolutely nothing yet and it's 100% okay if you totally ruin this project. Then make your own stencils out of scraps of magazine ads.

I was surprisingly really happy with how the final design came out even though I pretty much winged the last couple of steps and was pretty sure I might just wind up having to toss the entire project. Here's a comparison shot of the welcome sign before and after staining it and trying my hand at a homemade stencil.

Step Ten: Pat yourself on the back for not completely bombing at this DIY thing.

Step Ten: Pat yourself on the back for not completely bombing at this DIY thing.

I know this design definitely wouldn't be everyone's style but I thought it would be fun to show the process of creating a welcome sign and then recommend, if you decide to make your own, just going with it and tying it in with your look and style. If I could go back and do it differently, I'd probably skip the weird tiny comma (which I'll probably thicken this weekend after seeing it like this) and add an exclamation mark at the end of the phrase (which I might add this weekend too). But after all the trial and error, I'm happy with how it turned out. I think it looks more like us, stands out more against the house and definitely filled in that weird gap perfectly. It only took a day to make, and two months to finally hang, but I'm very pleased with the updated look of our porch!

Welcome Sign 12.JPG