What’s better than a Halloween themed DIY?! If you ask us, there’s really not much better. That is precisely why we wanted to walk you through this spooky (but adorable) “Hocus Pocus” sign DIY! This project may seem daunting, but don’t fear, the whole thing can be completed in 60 minutes or less!
Step 1: Purchase your stencil. There are a variety of individual letter stencils available at craft stores. Stencils like the one we used with this project can be found on Etsy or from a crafty friend! Specifically, our stencil came from Give Me A Sign by Stacie, a local crafter who specializes in sign making and sign workshops. It is a vinyl stencil which means that it will stick to the board which comes in handy for uncoordinated people, aka us.
Step 2: Cut your base board. We decided to make our sign 8” x 12” which is the same size as our stencil including it’s negative space. You can use any type of wood for your base, but we used plywood because it’s thin and relatively lightweight (plus it’s inexpensive). All of our wood, including our furring strips for the frame were cut using a miter saw.
Step 3: Cut and stain your frame. The frame for our sign is made from 1” x 2” furring strips. These can be found at most home improvement stores. We cut the top frame strips into 12” pieces and the sides into 9 ½”. Once we cut our strips, we moved onto staining them. We used a dark, oil based stain, to give us this rich color (make sure to use gloves when you stain, it will stain your skin).
Step 4: Paint your base. We chose black to keep with a neutral Halloween theme. This step doesn’t need to be complicated. Slap some paint on to your liking and move on to the next step! Pro tip: Use less paint on your first coat for faster drying time, and supplement with a second coat if you want more coverage.
Step 5: Separate your stencil. A stencil like ours comes in three parts: the base paper, the vinyl stencil, and the transfer tape on top. For this step, peel of the base paper and leave the other two layers stuck together. Pro tip: pull the base paper off as tight as possible as it will make the peeling process cleaner and simpler.
Step 6: Place your stencil on your board. The nice thing about our stencil is that it is perfectly shaped and sized to fit our board. This made placing our stencil very simple.
Once you place your stencil, use a scraping tool (even credit cards work) to adhere your stencil to your board.
Step 7: Remove the transfer tape from your stencil. This step is super easy. By this point everything should be firmly adhered to your board and you shouldn’t have any issues with peeling it off.
Step 8: Start stenciling! This is the fun part. Once you’ve chosen a paint color (we chose an off-white for high contrast) use a makeup sponge to start pouncing your paint onto your stencil.
Pro tip: Use the lightest amount of paint for this step. The lighter the paint, the faster it will dry. Plus this will lower the chances of your paint bleeding. If you need to add a second or third coat for more coverage, then so be it.
Step 9: Remove your stencil. Once your paint has dried, peel off your stencil from your board! This is another simple, no fuss step. Feel free to peel like crazy!
Once you peel off the majority of your stencil, you will be left with remaining pieces of stencil in the inside of the words. Use a pointed tip tool or tweezers to remove the insides.
Step 10: Sand your sign. This step is optional depending on your personal style. We used a dollar store sanding block to lightly distress our sign to give it a worn-in look.
Step 11: Stain your sign. Yes, you read that right, go ahead and throw a coat of stain on your sign to give it that “finished look”. The stain fills in those spots that were sanded and we find that it tones down the starkness of the white on black (plus it tends to hide any imperfections).
Once you’ve stained your sign, it should look something like this:
Step 12: Attach your frame. Using a nail gun, attach your stained frame strips. If you don’t have access to a nail gun, go ahead and use a traditional hammer and nails to secure your frame. The 12” strips go on the top and bottom of the sign and the 9 ½” strips go on the sides. We attached the top and bottom strips first then added the side strips afterwards.
Step 13: (Almost done, promise!) Fasten your sawtooth hangers on the back of your sign. We attached our sawtooth hangers 1” inward from the frame edge and ½” down from the top of the plywood. If you prefer D-rings or another type of hanger, feel free to use those instead!
Once you’ve attached your hangers, you’re all done! You’ve (hopefully) successfully made a fun Halloween DIY sign of your own!
Follow our step-by-step tutorial to hang your sign with Hang It Perfect™!