Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Materials
Gathering your tools is always the first and most important step of any DIY project. For this project you're going to need:
- a wood board or plank
- masking tape
- a hammer
- a lot of small nails (you'll need at least 100. For two signs we used 3 packs of XX nails)
- embroidery floss, yarn, or thread (we used embroidery floss)
- Access to a computer with a printer and Adobe Illustrator (optional, but highly recommended)
- Optional: Paint pen (to paint the tops of nails)
Step 2: Outline Your Sign
Whether you're making a sign with text or an image, you'll want to outline your sign first. For this I used Adobe Illustrator, but you can use the vector image software of your choice, like Inkscape.
First I outlined my words with a thin black line. I made a copy of that text over the first version, made it into the dashed line to mark where the nails should be. This step is optional, but will save you a lot of time in determining where your nails should be placed. Once you're happy with your image or text and nail outline, print out your file.
Step 3: Tape your Overlay Onto your Sign
Tape your printed overlay onto your sign. We used masking tape to hold the printed overlay in place. Nail your nails into the marked points on the sheet.
Step 4: Riiiiiip
Rip off your stencil from the board. This step is really satisfying. Don't worry if there are any small bits of paper left, you can remove those with tweezers. If they're left they won't really be visible in the final project.
Step 5: Outline your letters
For each letter, start by tying a double knot around one nail of each letter.
Next wrap around the outline of the letter.
Fill in the letter by zig-zagging through he points in the letter. Do this until it looks complete or thick enough to you.
Tie off the string for that letter with another double knot. Cut off any excess string. If you have a paint pen in the same color as your string, paint the tips of the nails to make your sign more legible or "pop" more.
Repeat this process for all the letters or images in your sign. You're probably going to be looking at the sign from a few feet away, so don't stress out about every detail of this being perfect. Embrace your mistakes!
Step 6: Show off your work!
Congratulations! you've finished this (moderately time consuming) DIY project, so show off your work! We added hooks to the back off our sign and nailed it to the wall, but this craft could be displayed on a bookshelf or countertop, too.