Beach sign close-up

Beach sign close-up.

My brother-in-law Johnnie is one of those inherited family members you wished you knew all your life. He’s probably the easiest person to hang with and always seems to add that “something you may have never thought of” something to most conversations. In other words: he’s a keeper. So, when I learned that he and his girlfriend, Alexis were moving to California, I literally jumped for joy.

The budding DIYer in me also thought it might be nice to welcome them with a homemade housewarming gift. Suddenly, the hamsters began running the squeaky wheels in my mind. Then I remembered this piece of scrap wood that would work perfectly as a canvas for a painted sign. Taking it a bit further, and knowing how Johnnie appreciates multifunctionality, it came to me! Since his new place is just steps from the ocean, what better way to greet this new lifestyle than a fun and functional towel rack? This would also solve the inevitable and uninvited sea water drippage and sand indoors. Now…what should the sign read? Bingo! and so apropos! After all…he’s now living it up in a real beach hang.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Note: we luckily had most of the supplies and just needed to purchase the hooks. Our total for this project using scrap wood and leftover DIY supplies = $9.00!

Here’s what you do:

Prep scrap wood

Prep scrap wood.

1. Prep your scrap wood piece. Be sure to remove any nails, screws, or staples. This one had another piece of wood attached, so I took out the nails and cleaned up the larger piece to ready it for painting.

Paint scrap wood piece

Paint scrap wood piece.

2. Paint your scrap wood piece. If you have an old piece of wood, most likely you won’t need to sand. However, if it is smooth, give it a light roughening up so paint will easily adhere to its surface. One coat should suffice. Note: if you’d like to add a second coat using a different color, do this after first coat has dried. When you sand later, you’ll see the first coat peek through, giving it another layer of interest.

Print and cut out lettering

Print and cut out lettering.

3. Print and cut out lettering. While your scrap piece is drying, choose a font of your choice (our favorite site is we chose their “Swung Note” font). Print out the lettering you wish the sign to read, then carefully cut out the letters to create a template. Note: before painting the scrap piece, we measured the length and width of the board in order to know how large to make the lettering. We used a wood cutting board which made using the exacto knife really easy and fast.

Tape on lettering

Tape on lettering.

4. Tape on lettering. To make tracing inside the template simpler, we taped each letter to the now dry board with painter’s tape.

Hand paint lettering

Hand paint lettering.

5. Hand paint the letters. This is probably the most difficult part. Using a nice hand brush, take your time and just think of this as coloring a coloring book. You’ll really need to stay inside the lines, though, so maybe skip the morning coffee or mid-day soda.

Create shadowing lines

Create shadowing lines.

6. Create shadow lines. This is kind of optional, but it certainly gives the sign more dimension. Simply use a highlighting color (we used white) and paint a thin line on the bottom and left side of each letter line (even inside the “B” as shown above).

Distress lettering

Distress lettering.

7. Distress sign lettering and paint. Lightly sand the entire surface of your sign using a fine grit sandpaper (100 to 120). Work the edges a bit more to expose the wood for a naturally distressed look.

Finished "Beach Hang" towel rack sign.

Finished “Beach Hang” towel rack sign.

8. Screw in the hat and coat (or, in this case, towel) hooks. Start with the center point of the sign, then place the two other hooks outside this point where desired. Done!

"Beach Hang" final.

“Beach Hang” final.

What would your sign read and do?

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