How to create a pallet sign without a stencil

How to create a pallet sign without a stencil

How to create a pallet sign without a stencil

Farmhouse signs. Let’s just say the obsession is real. My love for weathered, or otherwise chippy, wood signs is no exception. But the one thing I will not do (and this should come as no surprise) is spend a ton of money purchasing one.

So naturally, I created one myself. And surprise, surprise, I did so without a stencil, or any other fancy, pricey equipment. The good news is, you can do the same.

Supplies needed:

*Full Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. What that means is that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase on one of them. I only include links and recommend products that I strongly believe in, and ones that I have personally used and loved. So here’s to spreading the inspo!!!


  1. Piece of wood – I used pallet wood
  2. Chalk (like the kind from grade school)
  3. Pencil (like the kind from grade school)
  4. Paper (like… you know… paper)
  5. Computer & Printer
  6. Paint
  7. Paint brush set & paint tray
  8. Sand paper
  9. Sanding block
  10. Protective finish (matte)


The process:


Choose a font

I went with Modern No. 20, but you could opt for something scripty, a handwritten look or whatever you want. There are so many great fonts out there – many of which you can find for free online – so start searchin’ until you find one you love.


Size it & print it

I used Adobe Illustrator, but you could use a number of programs. If I lost you at “Adobe,” don’t fret, you can even use a Word doc for this. Simply measure your piece of wood, open your Word doc and size your word(s) appropriately knowing that you are working with an 8.5 x 11 or 11 x 17″ document. With the ruler guides along the side, it’s simple. Once sized, print it out. (I used my home printer which is nothing fancy, so it printed in multiple pages that I taped together.)


Chalk it

This is where you summon your inner second-grader. Turn your piece of paper over, and wherever you see ink, simply scribble your chalk all over, making sure to cover the entire word of phrase.

It’s kinda hard to see in the above picture, but you don’t need to get fancy, just scribble away.


Transfer it

Now – and this is where it gets cuh-razzzzyyyy if you don’t already remember this from grade school – flip your paper right side up, align it on your piece of wood (don’t cut any corners here; grab a ruler if it helps) and trace over your printed letters with a sharp pencil. Make sure to push firmly, and if you do, the outline that you are tracing will transfer a chalk outline onto your wood. Sneak a peek and your wood should start looking like this:


Paint it

Now that you have an outline, grab your paint and get to work. I always have multiple brushes on hand for this since you are working with a range of skinny to chunky outlining. And don’t forget some sort of paint tray. This set is great if you don’t have the right tools:

Paint brush set & paint tray


Sand it

Because I prefer a weathered look, I used sand paper and a sanding block to rough up my letters. If you’ve never used a sanding block, I suggest you give it a try. It’ll save your hands and I use mine all. the. time. Here’s the one I have:

Sanding block


Seal it

The last thing you want after you get your sign looking perfecto is for it not to last. That’s why I always finish my projects with a protective sealant. Just make sure you pay close attention to exactly what you’re buying (i.e. Gloss finish, satin finish, matte finish). Otherwise you’ll end up with an end product you’re not happy with. This is my go-to sealer in matte:

Protective finish (matte)


Admire it

That’s it. Now you can tell your friends that you’re a sign-making pro, and bonus, it barely cost you anything to become one. Enjoy!

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Morgan Hanson

360-degrees of DIY-bliss. Read about my kooky ideas, creations, kids and general chaotically beautiful life. Get inspired. Learn from my mistakes. Steal my ideas. Be merry :)
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