Step by step tutorial for how to make your own modern, light-up Christmas sign using a few tools and your Silhouette machine.
Hello and Welcome! Have you been following along with our 12 Days of a DIY Christmas? Let me tell you, I have some talented blogger friends. And the best part? They are all fearless, power tool wielding females! I’ve listed all their projects again below, but today is my day to share, so here you go! I created a modern and fun Christmas sign for the front porch and I’ve got all the details here, as well as a few hiccups I encountered. I’m hoping that by pointing out the setbacks you won’t have the same issues if you decide to make your own!
So, to start with, I have to admit that on the first day of our challenge, December 1, I still had no idea what I was going to do. My friend, Amy, from Her Toolbelt built this amazing Christmas sign and as soon as I saw it, this idea popped into my head! Since I basically stole her idea, I’m going to send you to her for details on how to make the frame, but I’m going to tell you about how I made the design and added the lights. Bonus for you, I also have a free printables for your Silhouette below so that if you want this design, you can print it out yourself.
I’ve actually been wanting to dress this little space up a bit, so this Christmas sign is perfect. Now, I need one for the rest of the year.
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plywood – 1/2″ and 3/4″
Wood for frame
Pocket hole screws
Whatever you would like to hang sign with
So, first things first. My deminsions were a little different than Amy’s. I started with a piece of plywood that is 36×48″ and adjusted the frame measurements from there. I worked my design out in my Silhouette studio. To make larger pieces like this, draw a box the size of your plywood and design inside that.
Paper – comingI started by spraying the whole board with Rustoleum gloss black. I did about 4-5 light coats. This is my absolute favorite spray paint and I love this little applicator thing. Let it dry completely before moving on.
Next, cut out your design on vinyl. I used a 12×24 mat. I basically cut and pasted and printed out the different elements as they fit on the mat. Make sure to leave some overlap so that you can line it up when you place the vinyl. If you don’t have a Silhouette machine, you can always cut out the stencils freehand.
I placed the arrow and trees (minus the star) on a piece of 1/4″ plywood and cut them out using a jigsaw.
Then I set the arrow on my drill press and drilled small holes where the marks were. You can of course use a regular drill, it’s just faster with a drill press. I ended up cutting off the last two holes because my light strings had 20 each and I didn’t want to have 42 holes.
I placed the arrow in the spot I wanted it on the board and marked it. I then drilled through the arrow holes into the board. After I had them all marked, I removed the arrow and drilled larger holes in those spots on the board. This will allow the lights to nestle into the board and shine through the arrow without seeing the light holders or string.
Then I started on the words. I marked and placed them where I wanted them on the boards. I then taped off everything except the letters and spray painted them white. Here’s a little tip. Once you have everything in place, paint the entire thing the same color as your background (black). This seals all the edges and prevents bleed through. Then paint white (or whatever color you want)!
You can see I was originally going to paint the trees on, but I messed it up, so I cut them out instead. I’m glad I did, I like the 3D effect :).
Now I have all my pieces, I put them all together. I used wood glue to attach my arrow and trees to the board. I painted the star on with gold acrylic paint.
Next I attached the frame (see Amy’s post, but adjust measurements to fit your frame). Then I sprayed two or three coats of Rustoleum clear gloss over the whole thing. I made my first mistake here. I accedentally spray painted the bottom right corner white instead of gloss! ARG!!!! So then I spent a long time fixing that.
Next I flipped the board over and ran these battery lights through the holes in the arrow. Here is where I made the second mistake. I thought I would use hot glue to attach the lights so they wouldn’t move. I love my RYOBI hot glue gun, however I burned through the light string and didn’t realize until I had it hung up that the lights weren’t working. So, once again I sat down to fix that mistake by using my heat gun to remove the glue and pull out the lights, then replaced them all.
I also made ANOTHER mistake. I decided at this point to add some more lights so that the whole sign would be a little “backlit”. This area is super dark, so it needed a little extra glam. I should have drilled holes in the frame before I painted and attached it, but I still worked it out. I just drilled holes 3″ apart all around the board and inserted string lights. They fit perfectly and I just taped the excess around inside the first string. I somehow lost my photos of this part, but here is the side and back of the board now. Let me know if this doesn’t make since!
Because I didn’t want to drill into the brick, I attached two hooks to the top of the board and then placed two cup hooks in the top piece of house trim. Then I used a chain and some “S” hooks to attach it. So, it’s hanging from the house trim. Here is the Christmas sign in the day and at night.
Whew, that’s it for my Christmas sign! Jeez, long tutorial! It fits perfectly with our newly renovated courtyard.
And brightens up this little nook a bit.
Okay, thats it for today! Make sure to browse around and check out all the super cool things my friends did!
DECEMBER 1: HER TOOL BELT
DECEMBER 2: WOODSHOP DIARIES
DECEMBER 3: BUILD IT CRAFT IT LOVE IT
DECEMBER 4: THE KIM SIX FIX
DECEMBER 5: ANIKA’S DIY LIFE
DECEMBER 6: THE HANDYMAN’S DAUGHTER
DECEMBER 7: THE PAINTED KEY
DECEMBER 8: MY LOVE TO CREATE
DECEMBER 9: HAZEL & GOLD DESIGNS
DECEMBER 10: THE CREATED HOME
DECEMBER 11: UNCOOKIE CUTTER
DECEMBER 12: HANDMADE WITH ASHLEY
DIY Modern Christmas Sign
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