Craft Projects, Life

Authentic Wooden Sign

Yesterday was my coworker Dan’s last day in the office — he and his wife are moving to Greece for a couple of years. Dan has a fantastic sense of humor and is a midwestern boy. One of the long-running jokes in our office is that Dan wants to move to West Virginia to start a bear emporium… it’s better that you not ask haha. Anyway, he calls it “Uncle Dan’s Bear Emporium.” SOOOOO, the rest of the team devised a plan to make Dan a sign for his fictional business for him to take overseas with him. While I doubt anyone will want to replicate this project exactly (who else wants a fictional bear emporium after all?), I’m sharing it because 1. it’s awesome, and 2. it turned out to be a pretty authentic looking wooden sign.

Here’s the image I created in InDesign for us to use on our sign:

Awesome, right? We all thought so. But it gets better. So much better!

I picked up a wooden slab at Hobby Lobby for the back of our sign.

It was the perfect size and shape for our sign, and the smooth surface made making the sign a breeze. Once I had my piece of wood and the document printed, I trimmed the edges of the sign so it would fit in the center of the piece of wood.

I headed down to my craft room to start making the sign look like aged wood. To do that I took a lighter and burned the wood. Be very careful if you try this. After all, you are playing with fire.


Once the piece of wood was sufficiently burned, I turned the flame to the piece of paper.

I was very careful to not set my house on fire or burn a hole through Dan’s face, only letting the flame burn for a second or two before blowing it out. I did this around the entire edge of the photo. The effect of the burnt edges was a really nice touch.


With my photo and piece of wood equally burnt, I set to work Mod Podging the piece of paper to the piece of wood.


Two coats of Mod Podge later, I left Dan’s sign to dry. Once it was dry, I set it on fire a bit more (can you say “pyro?”). Then I attached picture hangers to the back of the sign using a shallow screw.

I then tied rope to each hanger.

With that, the sign was complete and AMAZING.

Pretty sweet going away gift, huh?

We all signed the back before sending our coworker off to Greece in style. I wonder what they’ll think of the sign in customs?

Farewell, Dan. We’ll miss you!











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