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How to Make Primitive Christmas Signs

This year I decided to make some handcrafted Christmas gifts for the family. A few months ago I purchased a stencil cutting machine and have really gotten into making primitive country signs. The term “primitive” must be because the signs look old and weathered, just my guess. I didn’t come up with the phrase, but that’s what they’re commonly referred to online.

I cut these particular signs out of 1 x 4 pine about 24” long. I wanted a two-layer paint, which would give them that primitive look. Half I painted green and the other half red. When the first layer dried, I painted the opposite color over top. I stenciled a variety of cool Christmas phrases on them and then let the letters dry.

To make them look “primitive”, sandpaper does the magic. I used 120 grit paper and sanded the faces by hand until the lower layer of painted started to show through. I had more luck with the green signs, where the red showed through. The red signs turned out nice too, but the green never showed through as well.

The trick to making a sign look primitive and old is to pay special attention to the edges and corners. I used a palm sander until bare wood was showing. This gives the impression of a sign that has been outside for a long time. I then went back over everything with a dark stain, wiping any excess off after it had some time to soak in. I finished the signs off with some Minwax paste, then screwed some eye hooks into the top for hanging.

They made great gift ideas for Christmas and everyone liked them. I only wish I had made a few more, because I didn’t have any left over for myself!

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