So yes, we’ve been AWOL. We are working on the house anytime we’re not sleeping. Well it seems that way. Why, because company is coming, in May. Hubby is interested in putting the best foot forward as far as the house goes. He’s not interested in editing any of my post… for right now at least.  I’m tired of waiting for him, so I’m pushing ahead and letting it all hang out! You’ve been warned, this an editor-less post!

Quick easy tips to transfer lettering to makeover a old thrift store sign without fancy equipment or great painting skill. Tips an tricks to save you money
makeover for old sign

I want to share a low tech way of making over a sign. You can often find mass produced signs that are out of date at thrift stores or yard sale but you may not have the best painting skills or some fancy vinyl cutting machine. Don’t let that stop you! If you can print up some lettering on a printer your in business.


So, first off measure how big the letters need to be, height and width. On a word program pick out a font and make sure the letters are the size you need. You can used several pieces of paper to print out all the lettering. It’s best to keep words group together.

Paint your board or old sign, what ever color you like with what paint you like.  After it dries, take a ruler and measure out where you want the lettering to go and draw at least a line at the bottom, further out then the paper will go, so you can see it when the paper is on top.

making transfer paper

use a glass door or window so you can see the image on the other side of the page


Take the printed paper over to a widow or glass door and flip the paper so the lettering is facing the glass. You can tape it to the glass if you want. Now scribble with a pencil where the lettering is, especially on the edges. You just made graphite transfer paper, congrats. Then draw a line across the very bottom of the letters so you can match it up to the line at the bottom of the sign. Tape down the top with masking tape because you don’t want it shifting around. This will create a hinge so you can lift it but it lays back in the same place.

transfer the lettering


Now trace the letters with a ballpoint pen. Yep, press firmly with that pen as you go. After you’re done, lift the paper gently. You should see where the graphite has transferred to the paint. If there are any missing parts of the lettering just lay the paper back down and trace the missing parts.

graphite is now on the painted board


painting lettering

Once all the lettering has been transferred, you can paint in the outlined letters. Don’t worry if it’s uneven or blotchy. This is going to get a lot of distressing, so it’s fine if you make some mistakes. You can just sand them out. No worries, no stress!

less than great paint job



How much distressing should you do? That’s up to you! What to use? You can use sandpaper or a sanding block. If you use a hand held sander use a fine grit, you’ll have more control over the process that way.

staring to sand lettering
hand sander makes quick work of distressing



Still want to play up the vintage feel? Water down some light or white paint smear it around in light layers. Old hand painted signs fade indifferent spots at different rate. Take it easy, till you get the feeling you want.

brushing on watered down paint


If your going to have the sign outside you’ll need to seal it with some poly. Keep in mind some of the white “fading” look will disappear so you may want to up your game and add more.

Quick easy tips to transfer lettering to makeover a old thrift store sign without fancy equipment or great painting skill. Tips an tricks to save you money
high tech tools: use your fingers to smear the paint

This sign had a routed edge so I painted in the corner with white and did some dry brush and watered down smears on the edge.

That’s it! using a pencil, pen and a printed image you can transfer the outline on to almost anything flat.

Here a quick list of stuff you may need

printed image

no. 2 pencil

ballpoint pen

masking tape

old sign or board

paint (craft, chalk or latex works fine)

sand paper, sanding block or sander with fine paper

and a window or glass door

Easy and simple, with a little time and supplies you can update that 80’s apple sign.

Hopefully I’ll be back soon. I hope it wasn’t too difficult to read. I’ve no idea when the Editor aka Hubby will be back, but the house projects must be the highest priority!

Have a nutty week,lorin



Quick easy tips to transfer lettering to makeover a old thrift store sign without fancy equipment or great painting skill. Tips an tricks to save you money
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2 thoughts on “

  1. It came out beautiful Lorin. I love that aged look you gave it. And of course those high tech fingers. Let hubby work on the house, he is doing an amazing job and then when he is done he’ll be able to edit that post. And I am still looking forward to the completion of the mural. ❤


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