Barnyard Animals Rustic Sign

Inspiration for a project often comes in the most unlikely of places, but the inspiration for my latest project surprised even me.

It wasn’t Pinterest, it wasn’t an arts and crafts show, it wasn’t another blog…it was while I was eating at a fast food restaurant.

farm sign

My kids and I often stop for fast food after church on Sundays, because my daughter goes straight from lunch to work, and we just have a small window of time to eat. Once I’d ordered, and carried my tray to the table, I noticed the paper liner on the tray.  It had an adorable silhouette  image of a “stack” of barnyard animals on it.  I knew I was looking at the makings of a really cute sign!

I can’t share the image, since it is copyright protected, but I will tell you the tray liner was from Arby’s, and explain how I turned it into a rustic sign for my kitchen.

First, I scanned the image, and opened it up in Adobe Elements to remove all of the background and text from the page.  The original image had a cow, pig, turkey, chicken and a fish on it, but I just wanted the cow, pig and chicken for my sign, so I removed the turkey and fish, then I brought the chicken image down to rest on the pig’s back.

Once that was done, I opened the image with my Silhouette software, and added a fictitious butcher business name.  Since I had moved the chicken image on top of the pig’s back, “High on the Hog” is what popped into my head.

I cut the image on adhesive vinyl, and was ready to turn it into a sign.  I wanted to paint the image on glass, the same as I do my Milk and Cream Co. signs, but I had just finished 2 orders for those signs, and I was out of photo frames with glass in them.  What I did have was an old board that my husband had removed from a wall during our guest room remodel, and it had just the aged look I wanted for my sign.  You can see it’s really long, so I can create several signs from this one board.

salvaged wood for a sign

The trick when using adhesive vinyl on old wood, which isn’t smooth, is to use a foam roller or brush to apply the paint.  I use a very small bit of paint on my brush, and tamp most of it off before I start lightly “pouncing” the paint on.  The vinyl won’t stick well to such old bumpy wood, and this prevents the paint from seeping underneath the stencil.  I don’t try to get a solid coat of paint, because a little variance makes it look older.

how to make an antique sign

Here it is after painting, but I wanted to age the wood and paint a little more.

make an antique sign

I did a very light sanding over the painted parts first, then applied some dark wood stain.  The stain sinks down into the grooves in the wood, and accents the uneven coat of paint.

farmhouse sign on salvaged wood

I hope Arby’s keeps coming up with more paper tray liners, that appeal to people who love farmhouse style – like me!  By the way, I realize it looks like ther’s a comma after the word “on”, but it’s actually a fleck of the old paint, and I didn’t notice it was there until after I’d already waxed the sign, so it’s sealed on now.

salvaged wood sign

So tell me, where’s the most unusual place you’ve ever found inspiration for one of your projects?

If you liked this project, click HERE to see more of my Painted Signs!

hand painted signs

farmhouse kitchen sign

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  1. How did you do the lettering?

    Thank you,

  2. Hi Angie, this is so cute! 🙂 Julie

  3. Love this one!

  4. What a darling sign! My favorite trick to hide imperfections, like the little splattered comma, is to dab a bit of shoe polish on it. Thanks for your awesome blog.

  5. Amazing stuff! I love it and I love bloggers! So much talent and inspiration.

  6. I sure do love this one, Angie!

  7. Great project. Advertising is always a wonderful resource for graphics ideas!

  8. Really cute Angie. I need to use my Silhouette more often. I transferred a color picture that I printed out on my inkjet printer to blue painted wood … it worked, but the colors were not dark enough on the painted surface. I will try again using a white or natural wood background. Your sign is so perfect for Farmhouse decor.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  9. It turned out great! We get inspiration from everything around us when we are creative and open to ideas! I love it! Hugs!

  10. Can you share what you mean by “waxing it?” I wouldn’t know HOW or WHAT KIND. Thanks!!

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