DIY: Canvas Stencil Signs

A quick DIY project for your home

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I’ve always loved a good craft. I started college as an art major but midway through my freshman year I decided I didn’t know what I was doing up against all the artists that were in my classes. Because I also liked order and balance, I decided to go into accounting (insert yawn here, right?) Although I could never call myself an artist, I made my spreadsheets stand out with borders, colors and graphs. When I bought my first home, I stenciled a border around my kitchen wall.  Once I had kids, I did the Archiver's and Creative Memories scrapbooking because it was something fun to do and it helped organize all those cute pictures of my little ones. So I admit, I’m not afraid to be the mom who has to come up with a craft idea for the class party. And I have thought of a few cute ideas over the years. Sadly, my kids are at the age now where the parents aren't invited to the parties anymore.

My mom and I like to go shopping, and sometimes we find something and say "we can make that" and we do. Even better is when I already have the supplies at home (enter the bins of kids craft supplies stored in the garage). There are quite a few places around that you can make your masterpiece, whether it’s a painting or a sign. Even better to have a glass of wine and some sisters/friends with you. But those classes can be spendy, finding a night that works for everyone is hard, and I can't see hanging one of my paintings on my walls.

Enter the DIY stencil sign. What I love about this project is that it’s completely versatile (what you want to put on it and the colors you use) and it’s inexpensive (yet doesn’t look that different from signs you’d see in some home store boutiques). If you try it, send me the pictures of your sign! 


what you need


  • Painting canvas or wood plaque/board
  • Stencil of the shape you want *
  • Paint (I used spray pain and brush on chalk paint)
  • Brush
  • Fine sandpaper

what you do


  1. Place canvas on flat protected surface.
  2. Paint an area on the canvas in the color that you want your stenciled object to be. I used gold spray paint and sprayed this area. (Side note: a can of gold spray paint can do so many things. I always have one on hand).
  3. Once dry, place stencil over the painted area. I used a little rolled up painters tape to anchor the shape so it wouldn't move.
  4. For background color, brush paint outward over stencil edges and continue until the canvas is painted completely around stencil, and then paint the rest of the canvas that shows, including the edges of the canvas.
  5. Let dry. Carefully remove stencil.
  6. Using fine sandpaper, lightly sand the edges of the stencil and anywhere you need to take a little paint off or to soften the image.

*  You can buy stencils, but I googled the shape I wanted and then looked under "images". I coped the image into word, stretched it to  the size I needed, and cut the stencil out. For the pumpkin, I printed the stencil twice. One stencil I cut out the outline of the pumpkin. This is the shape that was taped to the canvas first and painted over.  When it was dry, I removed the first stencil and laid over the second pumpkin stencil, which I had cut out marks for the lines of the pumpkin. This gave my pumpkin some dimension. You can skip this step if you want, or you could free form the lines with a small brush and paint.

The images below can help you visualize the different steps and finished signs. Thanks for stopping by!

XO,

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