Sunday, January 31, 2016

How to: Stencilled Grocery Sign on Old Fence Board

Donna of Funky Junk Interiors has an Old Sign Stencils shop link on her blog. 

I love her stencils and today I am stencilling GROCERY Est 1961 on an old cedar fence board.

When we took down the old (like 40 year old with lots of replacement repairs) fence a couple of years ago (and before I was 'into' signs) I saved a few boards with grey (layers of grey) one side and brown (Mr. Brown was our fence neighbour) the other. I moved (the rest are outside) a few of the boards into my kitchen to  keep them dry and it is time to make another sign.

Time and decent January weather (temp. around 12 C, no rain, no wind, some sunshine) all happened on Thursday afternoon this week), perfect sign prep day.

Prepping the board 

It took about an hour to do the prep work and did include DH cutting off about 4 inches of the cedar board.

I tested the turquoise wash on one of the cut off ends to make sure it was the consistency I wanted.

Sanded the fence board and gave it a wash of turquoise.

Dried outside (about 11-12 C) for about 1 hour. I didn't work on the sign again until Saturday so it had more than enough time to dry.

Used a sponge sander to remove some of the turquoise colour before I stencilled. 

Stencilling Time (this took the longest)

Brushes, CeCe Caldwell Beckley Coal, stencil, yellow masking tape and the board just before starting to stencil. I used the larger (black) brush for the larger letters and the smaller brush for the small letters and numbers.

The photo above shows the colour of the board (daylight picture) while those below, showing the sequence of stencilling, were evening shots.

I taped the Grocery stencil to the board (each end) and used my fingers to keep the each letter from shifting or lifting as I stencilled. I always have a pad ready for removing excess paint from my brush, this time it was a newspaper, to make sure I don't get a glob of paint on any letter. It took about 2 minutes to stencil each letter but I did not rush the job and took breaks between letters (one break was to drive to the local hardware store to pick up another Beckley Coal in case I ran out). Stencilling takes concentrated energy and is tiring to the wrist/hand.

When adding the EST. 1961 to the Grocery Sign I could not find my number strip (1 1/2" wide, 12" long) and I wanted a 1961 sign so I stencilled the 19 1 and when dry turned the 9 over to make the 6.

Since I pulled out my dresser to see if the sign had fallen behind I dusted, sorted my signs, clipped them into groups and hung them from cup hooks on the end of my laundry/storage bookshelf, just a bit of organization for the next time they are needed.


I used CeCe Caldwells Clear Wax and a wax brush, covered front, back, all sides and let sit for an hour. Polished with a clean rag.

When I was picking up my paint today I saw a brush that can be attached to an electric drill to use for polishing. I should have picked it up, next time I will. 

I borrowed these images from Amazon and CeCe Caldwell.

I googled and found a site that tells how to use the brush, Shizzle Design, as well as a great many other brushes. The writer talked about drill speed (medium not super fast) when using the brush and said the buffing made the wax surface harder than hand buffing. Sounds good to me. I will try the brush out on my next project and let you know what I think of buffing with a drill driven brush.

Clean Up

Cleaned the brushes, using lye soap, rubbed the bristles against my hand as I cleaned them. Shook well, stood up in a jar I keep my brushes in.

Cleaned the stencil with warm water, spray cleaner, fingers, soft scrubber, rinsed very well. Gentle is good. Some of the letter joins are very thin and care must be taken not to bend or break these joins. I recommend keeping eyes on fingers when cleaning.


Prep work:

old painted cedar fence board
electric sander and sandpaper
rag for cleaning
kitchen knife for chipping paint
paper towels (wet and dry)
CeCe Caldwell Santa FeTurquoise, approximately 1 tsp:4tsp ratio for a wash in a large dish (you have to decided how dense you want your colour)
paint brush
sponge sander
Set Square/roofing square


Grocery sign and Est 19.. sign (its on a Coffee sign)
Stencilling brush
CeCe Caldwell Beckley Coal Chalk-clay paint
yellow tape


CeCe Caldwell Clear Wax
Wax brush
rag for polishing

Clean Up:

lye soap to clean stencil and brushes (most any soap will work)

Hope you enjoyed this post. I was certainly looking forward to making another sign and this is one of my favourites. Some bloggers hang this sign in their kitchen. Donna of Funky Junk hangs hers with her message centre here. Google 'grocery sign' and you will find a great many variations, colours, styles and placements. Fun. 

I previously made this GROCERY sign here and here.

Thanks for visiting.

Sharing with



Across The Blvd


  1. I love your new sign- how smart of you to keep the boards. Oh, the things I tossed before I began to love old stuff!

    I have been looking at Funky Junk's old sign stencils. I saw a tall skinny sign the other day that I think I need to make.

  2. Love the new sign. I bought a buffing brush off Amazon when I chalk painted my kitchen cupboards this past is one of the best investments I have ever made! It not only sSaved hours of hand buffing, but my arm, too!

  3. That turned out great. I will have to try one this year!

  4. Perfect! I just made some very similar signs for my booth at the antique mall. I chose the words Grocery, Simplify, and Laundry and made 2 of each on old, chippy white fence boards!


  5. Cute, cute sign. You make the best signs! Great tutorial on stenciling.

    Have a great week.


  6. Very nice, Joy...I am quite envious that you are lucky enough to have access to old boards. I'm not that lucky and have to go another route. I'm on a sign kick again, too. Lovely color layering!

  7. Pretty, needs talent and pacience.

  8. Hi Joy,

    You certainly know how to teach detail work. Thanks for playing today.

    Have a Beautiful Blue Monday!

  9. Another wonderful how-to.

    and LivingFromHappiness

  10. You are making the nicest things! Especially the signs!

  11. That is absolutely perfect, Joy! I love old-looking signs and even have old barn boards around here. I should make at least one this spring. Thank you for posting this. I'll pop over to Funky Junk also.
    Have a nice evening.

  12. You make the best signs! And you also give really great tutorials too!

  13. Oh my gosh Joy, I am so impressed by your wonderful stencil sign. It was a much bigger job than I would have thought it to be. Kudos to you.

    Thank you for your sweet comment about our new baby girl.


  14. I love those signs and yours is quite delightful. Thank you for sharing.

  15. What a great tutorial!!! Your instructions for cleaning the brushes is a great addition. Not many people ever mention cleaning up after a project.
    Thanks for sharing this on the Table It Linky party. I'm pinning it to my Graphics Projects board.

  16. Wow, what a process! But, great results! Thank you for showing how you did it... I never get around to making anything like that! Thank you for sharing it with "Let's Talk Vintage!" this week!

  17. Your sign looks beautiful! It looks like an authentic antique grocery sign.

  18. This looks awesome and totally vintage.

  19. Popping over from #2usestuesday to thank you for linking up your wonderful project with us, love the colors you chose! I hope you have a fantastic week!


  20. GREAT job - thanks for the awesome tutorial!

  21. I love your new signs,and your color choice, they turned out really nice. I have never thought about using a buffer brush, that would make it easier to apply the wax, and buff it out.

  22. Very cute! Love the color of this sign!

    Thanks for joining us on the Alder Collective! Pinning, and we hope to see you again soon!

  23. Joy that look awesome! And a great tutorial too. Thanks for sharing at Five Star Frou-Frou. Love, Mimi xxx

  24. This looks great! I really like how you stenciled it lightly to make it look weathered. Thanks so much for sharing at Inspiration Thursday.

  25. What a great sign! Thanx for sharing at THT.

  26. You have created a beautiful sign in one of my favorite colors.

    Thank you for joining Thoughts of Home on Thursday!
    Pinning to our TOHOT board!

    Come back and see us-

  27. Your grocery sign turned out really nice ... so clever of you to use the 9 for the 6. Thanks for the tips on cleaning brushes and stencil. I have some old homemade lye soap and will try that on my brushes.


Thanks for visiting. I read and appreciate all your comments. Joy

Recent Posts