It never occurred to me when I first started hand lettering that I’d so quickly end up wanting to letter on pretty much every surface except paper. I mean, sure, I practiced calligraphy on paper and still do…but almost right out the gate, I was determined to try it on any other surface imaginable.
First it was glass, then plastic. Then random things (my arm, for example)…and, surprisingly fast, it was on wood. This is how I ended up starting hand lettering so many bamboo plant stakes, which soon became the number one seller in my shop. For a gal who can’t garden to save her life, getting to help people decorate their gardens remains a tremendous compliment! 🙂
But I digress. You see, little bamboo pieces simply weren’t enough for me. I wanted to try out other kinds of wood, and I really wanted to try my hand at wood signs. I watched tutorials from some of my favorite hand letterers, and my first project was a “God Bless This Home” sign for my parents’ Christmas gift in 2018. I bought a piece of precut, unfinished wood from Michael’s, then set about sanding it, staining it, and lettering a phrase I knew they’d love. They were so happy with it—and I had so much fun making it—I knew I had to continue making these pretties for other people!
In no time, I figured out what a fun thread of my lettering business wood signs could be. I couldn’t get over how much I loved the process. It felt earthy, natural, and even a little powerful (I mean, hello hardware store and power tools, guys!). While I’d worked with saws before, I opted to protect these little calligraphy fingers of mine by skipping that one step—and other than buying my wood pre-cut, I was determined to have my hands on every other stage of the process. This started with almost immediately ditching sand paper in favor of using my handy dandy orbital saw (roar!), then staining these smoothed out pieces in a couple of colors. Admittedly, I tended to be a little reckless with this stage and usually ended up covered in wood stain color (even when wearing gloves), butttttt it’s part of the fun for me!
From there, I got to really hone in on the design aspect, figuring out how best to fit, stylize, and scale lettering in the prettiest way possible for people to hang in their homes. Sometimes, I hand lettered directly on the signs. Others, I hand lettered a stencil that I later used as a paint guide. Either way this stage was the goal, and it felt amazing getting to do the prep work to get there.
Of course, with a so many of my creations tending to be in the gardening realm, it felt like jumping from my indoor signs and out to the yard was the next step. I loved the look of wood slices, and after dabbling with them for mini watercolor paintings, I realized how cute they’d look affixed to bamboo shoots as welcome signs for gardens. These signs became an easy addition to my gardening goods collection, but apparently, I wasn’t done there.
A few months into offering them, I had a clever customer make a brilliant and lovely request. She wanted something more custom, a small piece that could be propped against a pot rather than stuck in it, as a sort of display piece more like a traditional wood sign. I’d already made a variation of one of my indoor signs and affixed it to a post for a custom order a few months prior; now, though, the experiment became finding the perfect shape from the bounty of wood pieces I’d gathered and stashed in my garage for “one day,” and then to create this sign to withstand outdoor conditions with the proper sealant.And thus, the “ticket style” sign was born! This “Miranda’s Garden” sign was the first of these goodies, and I thought the gift was such a sweet token of friendship between my customer and her recipient, that it just made me smile so big to make! What I extra loved is that my fabulous customer was open to me trying a new stain color—and this is where I discovered my favorite color combo of black lettering on a fruitwood stain, which you see here in her final project. Love it!
I’m one to dive right in, head first and about as deep in as I can swim, so there I was at the hardware store picking up more stains, more product sealants to test…and thus I’m so excited to officially be offering these ticket style signs in a variety of color combos in my shop starting next week. 🙂 And, me being me, I couldn’t stop with just the one new add—I had, after all, accumulated a bunch of wood shapes and sizes, so more of them will be arriving both this week and in the future. I love making wood signs to decorate your home and garden!
In addition to the new signs coming next week, you’ll find several new styles of garden pots, too—one of which was again inspired by a custom order. 🙂 Truth be told, my customers have the best ideas that often morph into products I end up dying to list later (like my punny plant labels, for example, inspired by a clever customer’s order in the early days of my stake-making). It’s important to me to make everything with love, but these custom projects? They feel so special, so I can’t help but pour my heart into them when I make them. That’s why it’s crazy fun to take them a step further later…and come up with similar styles and ideas that might in turn become your perfect custom goodie!
So, be sure to stop by again next week, when new styles of hand lettered wood signs for home and outdoors, and an assortment of hand lettered terra cotta pots, perfect for sweet surprises. 😉 Bonus, Labor Day weekend will be chock full of a special free gift with every order. Yeah!
While I still love lettering on anything and everything, there’s something to be said for lettering on custom wood signs. It feels so good to get to create these babies from start to finish, with my hands on each stage of the process.
I can’t wait to share these new hand lettered goodies with you! See you very soon! 🙂