Ever since buying our house, our porch has seemed a little bare, but I hate finding a place to store large home decorations, even if we have the space for it. Knowing all of this, I knew the best thing would be to create something that had a dual purpose for our porch. I settled on a wooden reversible porch sign that featured a winter design as well as a year-round, welcome design. Now, our porch will look great all year, and I’ll never have to dig for this 6’ board in my basement. ;)
What I Used:
• 10”x6’ Board from Lowe’s
• Palm Sander
• Poly Shades Stain
• Painters’ Tape
• Polycrylic Protective Finish
I knew I wanted our porch sign to be large enough to see from the street so we went with a 10”x6’ board. This allowed me to skip any cutting, and gave me a decorative piece that was readable from the sidewalk. I started by sanding my board with my palm sander. It didn’t need a ton of sanding, but this will help your adhesive vinyl adhere. After sanding, I used a rag to apply my stain. It’s very important that you let the stain dry completely before applying your vinyl. I waited about 2 full days, but depending on ventilation, you should be good to go after 24 hours. This is when I designed my board. I took that next day to really create a design I loved.
Once my stain was completely dry and I was satisfied with my design, it was time to cut my OraCal 651 adhesive vinyl. I chose OraCal 651 because I already had it on hand, but since I clear coated my finished product, I could have even gone with 631 if I needed to for any reason. I created my design at the full 10” x 6’ size, then I broke it apart to fit easily on my 24” sheets of adhesive vinyl. I could have saved even more vinyl, but I didn’t want to spend too much time manually spacing these letters. You can see in the photos below how I broke up the pieces to best fit on the 24” sheet while also saving me time. I repeated cutting all until all the pieces of my designs were cut. This really didn’t take too much time. All in all, I estimated that I had about 6 full sheets of vinyl involved.
One all of my vinyl sections were cut out, I weeded away the excess. Since this design was so large, weeding was easy as pie. The Welcome sign design weeded in seconds. The hardest part of all the weeding was the snowman part and even that wasn’t bad. After weeding, I used the paper application tape and a squeegee to mask my vinyl. I chose to go with the paper application tape because sometimes clear application tape seems to be too strong for stained wood.
Since the design was so large, even broken into pieces, and it would be extremely noticeable if it wasn’t straight, I chose to use the hinge method to apply. I started by laying out all of my pieces on my board to make sure spacing and sizing was correct. I used a ruler to make sure the individual pieces were centered. Then, I took a piece of painters’ tape and put it through the center of the design. This held the design in place while I trimmed the backing off of one half. Then, I applied that half as normal. This allows you to both hold the design in place while applying, without the help of another set of hands. It also makes larger designs more manageable. After applying the first side, I removed the painter's tape and the backing and applied the second half as normal.
I repeated the hinge method for all pieces of vinyl on both sides of my board. On the snowman side, I didn’t need to worry about this for the pieces of the snowman. The nose, arms, and mouth were small enough to handle applying by myself. Plus, it wasn’t as crucial that these pieces be placed exactly where they were in the design.
After all the vinyl was applied, I covered both sides of the board with my Polycrylic clear coat. While OraCal 651 is outdoor durable, I just wanted to add another layer of protection. This will also help to give your board a finished look. Some of my OraCal 651 was matte and some was glossy. Since I covered the board with a clear coat, it now all looks uniform.
If you’re creating these products to sell, don’t forget to grab some staged product photos. While I would have rather taken these photos on my porch, where the sign belongs, it’s getting dark pretty early these days in WV and I was too excited to wait. I staged these boards next to my Christmas tree in the house.