At every flea market and home goods store I see these cute rustic home decor signs with quotes or designs painted on them, but I’m always shocked by the ticket price and file it away in my “I can totally make that myself” category. So here I am… making it myself! Not only do I have more than enough materials to make at least 10 more of these, but I have an original piece made for a fraction of the cost. You can customize it to your current home color scheme, favorite team colors, and make this just about any size you want. If you’re not scared of a hand saw, power drill, and a little spray paint, this is an easy DIY you can master in just a few hours.
This project was created using free sample stencils from Stencil Revolution. I did not receive compensation for this post and all opinions are my own.
Hand saw – I don’t know the specific names.. just one that cuts wood? haha
State outline stencil from Stencil Revolution – they have 7 different sizes and tons of other designs!
Stencil adhesive (optional)
Spray paint primer
Spray paint (I used Rust-Oleum’s Robins Egg)
Black acrylic paint (optional)
Red acrylic paint (optional)
*You can find shipping pallets just about anywhere. I see them next to dumpsters at shopping centers, ask friends or family that work in a warehouse, or hop on Craigslist to search for someone giving them away. Some pallets may have a stamp on them that you want to look for to make sure you’re using safe wood in your home. I found this article from 1001 Pallets to be really helpful, so please read through! Remove nails and dismantle the pallets so you’re left with just planks of wood. Pick out 3-4 pieces that you like (the ones with imperfections make for more interesting pieces).
**Amount and size of screws will vary based on the size of pallet art you’re creating and how thick the wood is. For my particular project I used 12 screws that were 1 1/4″ inches long. The thickness of the two pallet pieces together were 1 1/2″ inches thick. You want to make sure you’re leaving about 1/4″ inch of space so your screw doesn’t stick out on the other side.
Depending on your stencil size (I went with the 8.5″ by 11″ inches size) you’ll want to determine how big you’re making your wall art. My pallet planks were 39 1/2″ inches long so I decided to just cut them in half. Again.. keep in mind you’re using pallets so the wood may not all measure out perfectly and that is OKAY! It’s supposed to look a little rough and rustic or as I always say.. wonky.
(1.) Use a pencil to mark your measurements and (2.) then (carefully!) saw off the pieces you need. (3.) Measure out two more pieces for the back to hold everything together. I made mine just about a 1/2″ inch shorter than the height of my project so they didn’t stick out when looking at the piece from the front.
And yes a Bloody Mary was needed. 😉
Hold planks together tightly and carefully screw pieces together.
(4.) Flip it over, lay your stencil down and center it, making tick marks with a pencil at the corners. I sprayed the back of mine with stencil adhesive to get it to stick down to the wood better, but since pallet wood is so rough and the pieces are uneven it will have trouble sticking. Tape stencil down around the edges to keep in place and then cover the rest of the wood with newspaper to prevent over-spray. (5.) In a well-ventilated area (preferably not on a windy day either) lightly spray one or two coats of primer over the stencil. Pallet wood is very dry so I recommend a primer so the wood doesn’t soak up all your paint. (6.) Once primer is dry, spray with your choice of color. Paint a second coat if needed. (7.) Remove newspaper and stencil and allow paint to completely dry.
As you’ll see with my pallet I spray painted on a very windy day. Hahah so my paint went a bit outside of the lines and that’s alright. I already had sand paper ready so I could sand the paint a bit for a “weathered” look so I just carefully sanded the over-spray areas to clean it up a bit around the outline. I also decided to paint a thin black outline around the edges to make it stand out a bit more and this also helped disguise any “fuzzy” looking edges due to the over-spray. Again.. if you’re painting on a non-windy day or if you’re stamping your paint on, you shouldn’t have this issue. I also added a tiny little red heart where my hometown of Des Moines is.
Once you’ve sanded or painted any additional details you’d like, you’re done! Prop up on the mantel, on a bookcase, or add hanging hardware to mount on the wall.
Tag me on Instagram so I can see your completed projects!