Tuesday, June 16, 2015

DIY Wooden Bicycle Sign with Brushlettering

Time for another collab with Karmomo! This collaboration includes brushlettering calligraphy + upcycling hardwood flooring.

Bicycling is one of the few ways of exercising that my husband and I never get tired of. We used to live by Forest Park in St. Louis and really miss being able to bike directly into the park from our apartment and the scenic trails (with live horses, huge fountains, and free museums!).

So it only made sense that I jump on the bicycle-art-trend and feature a bicycle somewhere in our living room, which is sadly lacking in art. My fireplace mantel has been looking empty since we moved in, and we decided that a DIY wood (pallet-esque) sign would fit perfectly. It just so happens that we have a few pieces of hardwood floor left over from our new hardwood floors. I love upcycling! And not having to stain wood ourselves!

Sneak peek of K's beautiful calligraphy!

Read on for the tutorial! 


-scrap wood. I used 6 pieces of hardwood flooring
-2x4s (2) to hold together the pallet sign in the back
-20 screws (you can use fewer screws; I just wanted to make sure it was very secure)
-power drill or screwdriver
-white paint and paintbrush

First I laid out the wood planks (boards? beams?) and the supporting 2x4s. Then I asked my coworker who owns a saw to cut them at the same length.

I drew 20 small x's to mark where I wanted to drill holes for the screws, which would secure the 2 planks to the sign and hold it together. I pondered the idea of wood glue to hold the sign together, but opted for the screws instead, since the hardwood floor is pretty heavy and I didn't want the sign to spontaneously fall apart someday.

I already had these screws laying around in the garage toolbox, and it turned out that they were just long enough to go through both the supporting wood and the hardwood flooring.

My husband helped me drill small holes into the x's first, and then we used the power drill/screwdriver to secure the boards with the supporting 2x4s.


And...here's the boards all attached by the 2 planks! I definitely recommend having a 2nd person to help hold the boards together. I had to press the supporting plank into the hardwood flooring while my husband drilled because otherwise there was a small gap between the 2x4 and the wood. It was our first time using the power drill to attach screws so it was definitely a learning process!

Next, I convinced K to come over (bribing her with tea and snacks, of course) and free-hand the quote "Life is a beautiful journey". I love how it embodies the idea that life isn't solely about producing an end-result; it's also about trusting the process. It reminds me of how important spiritual and physical growth is, and how life is a transient journey to the final destination. We used white acrylic paint, which to K's delight, "erases" easily with a wet paper towel if you mess up during the handlettering. 

After K finished the lovely handlettering, we traced it a few more times for the paint to really pop!

Next I printed and taped a bicycle outline that I found on Google. I tried the method of tracing the outline of the bicycle with a pen, and pressing hard into the wood. However since it's pretty heavy-duty hardwood flooring, I couldn't dent the wood hard enough to see a the outline of the bike. I ended up just pressing really hard and ripping through the paper to make an outline on the wood. It worked but I had to use lots of the white paint to hide the black pen outline. If I did this again I'd try this chalk method

I filled in the bike outline with acrylic white paint, tracing it over with about 3 coats of the white paint and letting it dry each time. Then I carefully placed it on top of my mantel....

...so much better than an empty fireplace mantel! Total price of this project was zero dollars because I already had all the materials I needed laying around the house. Bonus points for introducing K to the beauty of brushlettering on a wood medium, which turned out so so lovely! 

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