How to make a Vintage Lake Sign

Our friends, Jeff & Tanya,  invited us to share a lake house with them last month.   We had an absolute blast!
lake mosaic, lake tulloch, tubing, fishing

I wanted to do a bit more than just write a thank you note.  Jeff & Tanya have a beautiful back yard BBQ area and they have lots of vintage signs out there too.

I decided to try to make a sign to add to their collection to serve as our “thank you.”
Lake Tulloch, sign, boat rides, blue, turquoise

I have done previous posts on how to do this distressed art technique.  Click to see the Family Rules, the Spring Art work and the Wine Cork Art work.

For this I will show you how I did the “layered look” for the letters on Lake Tulloch.
sign mosaic, layered, vintage, distressed

Step 1: Cut out your letters (or use store bought if you don’t have a Cricut or Silhouette) and arrange them on your primed board.  I wanted my lettering to be white.  (If I had wanted different color lettering, I would have used that as my base coat.)  Make sure the letters are pressed down firmly.
Step 2: Paint the background color over the tops of the letters.  In this case I wanted an aqua blue on top and a bright blue in “Waves” on the bottom.
Step 3: Once the paint is dry, take the outer part from your cut letters and lay them just a bit to the left of the letter stuck to the board.  You will be over-lapping the original letter just a bit.
Step 4: Lightly dab on your second paint color.
Step 5:  When you peel away the 2 layers of stencil, it should look like this.
Step 6: Peel away the other letters.  This was a rough piece of plywood, so the paint bled under the letters.  since I’m going to distress it anyway, it doesn’t matter.  (Behold the beauty of distressed artwork!)
Step 7:  (Not shown) When the paint dried, I used the orbital sander to further distress the piece, then put a nice layer of Mid Podge all over it for a little sheen and to seal it.
Lake tulloch, sign mosaic, distressed

I hope they like it.
If they don’t it’s OK.  Distressed signs aren’t everyone’s cup of tea… the purpose of this was to serve as a thank you card, and as long as they know how appreciative we are, then the sign did its job.

If they don’t like it for a wall, they do have a fabulous outdoor fireplace… Paint and Mod Podge would serve as a fabulous accelerant if they decide to burn it instead of hang it.  (However, my fingers are crossed that they like it.)

Linking to:
Home Stories A 2 Z  Savvy Southern Style


  1. says

    I’m sure they will LOVE it!!! That is really awesome, I love the layered look!
    I also want that big floaty thing the kids were on. :)

  2. says

    That is a GREAT sign! But I do love your sense of humor that it would burn well. I’m sure they won’t be burning that!

    Have a great day.

  3. says

    I just want to be a fly on the wall in your house or even peek in your brain b/c you must be in constant idea mode.. you have amazing ideas/crafts and you always make awesome stuff that people will actually use and love!!

  4. says

    i bet they will LOVE it! if not, they will think of you when it burns on a chilly night! lol. no way — they would never do that. they will love it!

    and i need friends like these! i have a verrrrrrrrry distant relative with a great beach house in santa cruz, and i am hoping hoping HOPING to get to visit soon.

  5. says

    Found you from the Tip Junkie party! This sign is too cute! We have a house on a river that I would love to do! Maybe tubing instead of boats. Unless we still are in a drought in Texas, there may be no more water for tubing! :)

  6. says

    Love the “shading” on the words. We just stayed at a friends lake house too, i bet they would love something like this. Thanks for linking up with DIY under $5!

  7. says

    This is fabulous. I have been thinking about making my parents one since last year when my family took a trip to Bass Lake – that is where mom, dad and my brother and myself used to go when I was a kid…brought back so many memories…This is a great tutorial.

  8. says

    I have a question. I have noticed when I do lettering with my silhouette that I have trouble getting the lines to thick enough. I can enlarge the lettering but the thickness never get thicker. Can you give me any tips?

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