How to make outdoor garden signs

Written by mason howard
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How to make outdoor garden signs
Garden signs can serve a variety of purposes, such as announcing the birth of a child. (Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Wooden signs add kitschy charm to your lawn and garden. A simple garden sign is made out of painted hardwood with a single stake for inserting the sign into the ground. Pre-manufactured wood signs are available, but making your own sign lets you customise it to your style and personality. The shape, imagery, text and size of a homemade wooden garden sign can all be tailored to suit your needs and to compliment your home's exterior landscape.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 3/4-inch hardwood
  • Pencil
  • Electric saw
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • 1-inch-by-2-inch board
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Outdoor wood primer
  • Paintbrushes
  • Tape measure
  • Drill
  • 1 1/2-inch wood screws
  • Outdoor wood paint
  • Stencils (optional)

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  1. 1

    Draw the desired shape of your sign on a 3/4-inch thick piece of hardwood, using a pencil. The shape can be simple--such as a rectangle, circle or triangle--or it can be more complex, such as a house, tree or animal. A common size for a single-stake sign is around 10 to 12 inches tall and 14 to 16 inches wide.

  2. 2

    Cut out the shape, using an electric saw. For rounded or other intricate cuts, use a saw with a narrow blade, such as a jigsaw, band saw or scroll saw. Sand the cut edges to smooth them down with 120-grit sandpaper.

  3. 3

    Cut a 16- to 20-inch piece of a 1-inch-by-2-inch board for the stake. The length of the stake depends on how high you want your sign to be. Cut one end to a V-shaped point for easy insertion into the ground. Sand the cut edges with 120-grit sandpaper.

  4. 4

    Sand all surfaces, using 220-grit sandpaper. Wipe the wood with a slightly damp cloth to remove all sanding dust.

  5. 5

    Prime the stake and sign (front and back) with a high-quality, outdoor primer. Allow the primer to dry.

  6. 6

    Measure and mark the horizontal centre on the backside of the sign, to determine where to attach the stake.

  7. 7

    Drill two pilot holes, 3 to 4 inches apart, at the top of the stake. Line the stake up with the centre mark at the back of the sign. The top of the stake should be 4 to 6 inches below the top edge of the sign.

  8. 8

    Affix the stake to the back of the sign with 1 1/2-inch wood screws.

  9. 9

    Paint the entire sign (front and back) and stake with a base colour, using a high-quality, outdoor paint.

  10. 10

    Trace the words and images you want on the sign, using a pencil. If you do not want to draw the sign freehand, stencils can be used for painting.

  11. 11

    Paint the text and images a second colour that compliments and stands out well from the base colour, using artist's paintbrushes.

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