I finally got my halloween mantel up today. Originally I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to use as the main focal point.. I knew I wanted it to be be orange and black, but I didn’t have anything of a large enough scale to be the big “wow” factor. So I knew it was time to create a large wooden sign.
You can see it here in the final halloween mantelscape:
I wanted it to look old and distressed, and so I used the wood glue crackle effect I’ve used in other projects:
I also added my new chalkboard pumpkin topiary,
and last year’s tufted crepe paper pumpkin.
I reused my Halloween banner from last year:
And I reused my dollar store skull platter that I accented with white vinyl:
So how did I make, stencil and distress the sign? Well.. unlike my other reclaimed pallet wood versions, this one actually used stock lumber.
However, it was not expensive.. I ALWAYS snap up high quality cull lumber from the big box stores. Typically it is only a few dollars for board with minor damage (in this case, one of the edges of one of the boards wasn’t actually square. So instead of $20, this 1x12 board was less than $6.
I cut it down to 36 inches long and used the two halves side by side (you can see the ‘damage’ that defined this as a cull board in the upper right hand corner of the right piece. ). When I butted the pieces next to each other, you couldn’t even see it.
I wanted to make the paint crackle just like I did on my cabinet door welcome sign so I started with a black base coat.
Once it was dry I spread on a pretty thick coat of white school glue. (If you are doing large projects, i would recommend buying your glue like THIS since this single sign used an entire regular sized bottle.
You let the glue set up slightly so it is tacky but not totally wet:
And then add your final color (in this case I used a sample of grey paint I had left over) I forgot to snap of photo of the ‘after’ but it the white paint crackled so that the black showed though. I had made “grid” pattern with my brush strokes, so the crackles were in a staggered pattern.
At this point, I flipped them over and attached the boards together with some scrap 1x2s.
Next I used a dinner plate to sketch a circle for the ‘moon” that I colored in with orange craft paint. (In this photo you can see the “stripes” of crackling that I mentioned earlier)
Next I cut a large stencil on my silhouette cameo (the owl and branch were courtesy of marthastewart.com. I traced them manually). Because this project was actually 2 feet wide x 3 feet tall I had to break the stencil into pieces and cut it out on the silhouette in sections. You can see the different patterns of contact paper for all the different sections. I transferred the stencil using clear contact paper. (I ended up using 2 full rolls of contact paper for this. Luckily I get it at the dollar store!)
Here is what the stencil looked like after transferring. The contact paper doesn’t like to stick to the painted surface so i had to do a lot of holding it down while peeling off the transfer film:
Next I used a VERY DRY brush ‘stenciling’ technique (where you tap straight down on the stencil to prevent bleeding under the contact paper) to fill in the tree and owl.
Finally, after it dried I went after it with some 200 grit sandpaper on my finishing sander. I specifically DIDN’T use my orbital sander to prevent circular marks from showing. (Check out this post if you don’t know the difference between a finishing and orbital sander)
On the edges I sanded down to the bare wood. I love how the black pops though the grey and then down to the wood. My scowling owl definitely looks a little ‘vintage"
Total investment in this project is about $9. Not bad!