Gather ... such a welcoming word, that fits into any loving home. But as with gatherings, it can get very loud and busy... the good kind of busy of course. Therefore it felt right to reduce the 'busy-ness' of this in-home invitation, by creating it in simple, clean lines. And yes, you can do it too... see below...
One 16x16 chipboard/ particle board lightly sanded along the cut edges
Two 1x1x16 wooden strips for the frame
Two 1x1x18 wooden strips for the frame
white chalk paint
black acrylic paint
brushes for painting and stenciling
Get your chipboard and frame wood cut to size at your home improvement store or buy it at a craft store, already correctly sized.
Paint the chipboard in white chalk paint. I used Rustoleum Chalked in Linen. One layer was sufficient coverage, but I did two for good measure. This paint has such a luxurious feel that you'll want to keep on painting with it, layer after layer!
Stain the frame wood. You can definitely go with a traditional stain, but I like to use water-based paints, which are easier to clean up and don't smell as potent ... plus if it gets on your floors or clothing, it's simple to wash out. For this project I used brown umber acrylic paint. The best way to achieve a mahogany look, is to drench a sponge brush in water and make a puddle with some paint. Apply this aqueous mixture to the wood and dry immediately with a shop towel. This prevents running of paint and allows for a shorter drying time.... and it gives you a beautiful chocolatey finish with natural wood grain showing through! If you don't want to see the wood grain, apply the paint neat, without the watery puddle step!
Once the board is absolutely bone dry, you can proceed with stenciling. And I mean ... bone dry ... If there is any moisture left from the paint, then the stenciling will most likely land up disastrous. Any residual moisture on the board will draw the wet paint for stenciling under the stencil by capillary effect ... and game over ... you'll have to start over. Been there. Done that. Many times.
You won't need much paint for your stenciling. The amount I squeezed out in the image below is way too much even! A size of about a dime is more than enough.
I have used a number of stencil brushes, but find that these stiff hair flat edge stencil brushes by Martha Stewart give me the best results time and again. You can also use sponge dabbers or even make-up sponges, but just be careful not to overload them with paint. Using sponges can cause you to squeeze down on them a bit too hard and it'll push too much paint into the stencil.
So, dip the tip of your stencil brush into the paint. And this is important... dab it a few times on the plate or a paper towel to remove any excess. Less is more! You can always go over it again, but you cannot remove excessive paint once it's on the stencil. Err on the side of caution and rather dab off too much than too little.
With gentle up-down dabbing and then horizontal sweeping motions, apply the paint to your stencil.
In places it'll look like there isn't enough paint, but once you remove the stencil, the contrast will be amazing!
Don't leave the stencil to dry for too long... whip it off as soon as you're done painting to prevent the dried paint from being ripped up by stencil removal process. In one smooth unfaltering sweep, lift off the stencil to delight in your fabulous paint job underneath!
Allow the sign to dry. Apply a scraping of wood glue to the sides of your 4 pieces of frame wood. Less is more... you don't want wood glue squeezing out onto your beautifully stenciled sign.
Puzzle the pieces together and gently hold them in place for a few minutes until the glue activates. Or use clamps if you have them. Once the glue has dried, nothing will break this sign apart! But it does take a few minutes to start adhering and probably 15 minutes to be steady. If you wiggle the sides too much, it'll disrupt the bonding process. Breathe. Relax ... watch the paint dry...
Use a staple gun to insert a staple into each of the 4 joins in your frame on the top and bottom edges. This will give more stability to your frame,m while being pretty much invisible! You can also turn your piece of art upside down and shoot in some extra brackets with your nail gun if you like.
And now... the final result ... ready for you to display and enjoy in your home!
This simple and elegant homely sign, can be made to any dimensions and the sky is the limit when it comes to what you can stencil or hand-write on it.
Create. Enjoy. Repeat. It just always lifts the spirit!