DIY Wedding - Wedding Signs

March 2012

When you decide to have your wedding on farm land, with only a single track and numerous fields, you soon realise you need to point your guests, and their cars, in all the right (or left?) directions. Even at a smaller venue, a single sign pointing out the venue, the bar, the toilets, and the parking can add a touch of personality, along with great wedding photography opportunities and detail shots.

Little tricks such as buying colour matched tester pots of paints from your local DIY store, self adhesive vinyl lettering, using a mitre block for cutting the arrows, all help to create great looking and coordinated wedding signs.

Since making these signs for our wedding last year, some of the them have been left outside and have all survived the winter - proving these signs can be put in place days, or even weeks before the event.

To make these signs you'll need the following:

  • Treated outdoor timber planks offer better weathering, and also better texture for creating a distressed look.
  • White timber undercoat paint, just to make sure you get the best top coat colour.
  • White emulsion, I finished off an old half used indoor white wall paint.
  • Tester pot of colour matched emulsion, I took a bridesmaid dress fabric swatch and the wrapper from our chocolate favours to the DIY shop.
  • Tools required include: saw, mitre block (cheap to pick up a plastic one), workbench, clamps, paint brushes, and sand paper for the distressed look.
  • Depending on how you wish to display the signs, you'll need a drill for holes to hang them, or hammer and nails to create freestanding signposts.

STEP 1 - choose your lettering

The first thing you'll need to do is decide on your signage, "Bar" or "bar",  "toilets or "lavvy", and place an order. We simply Googled "self adhesive vinyl lettering" and ended up using a company called ( Admittedly, the website is trapped in the 90's but the functionality and service was everything I needed. The reason why you need to order your lettering first, is although you can choose the height you won't know the final width - and this will help you to cut the signs to fit the lettering.

STEP 2 - cut the signs

After the vinyl lettering arrives, you'll be able to measure up and cut the timber. A mitre block will help to cut perfect 45 degree edges (the arrow points), but it isn't necessary to use one.

STEP 3 - painting

Start by undercoating the signs white, the first coat the paint will soak into the wood, but a few coats of emulsion will create bright white signs. Finally finish a single face with a couple of coats of your colour matched paint, or if you have enough paint cover the whole sign. Leaving the signs to dry between coats, this step can take a few days to complete.

STEP 4 - sanding

With the signs painted, you can now sand back some of the colour to highlight the texture of the wood and bring through the white paint beneath.

STEP 5 - stick on the letters

With the painting and sanding finished, the final task is to stick on the lettering. Instructions should come with your letters on the best way to get a good finish.

You can recreate signs of all shapes, sizes, and colours. The gallery included with this post shows the variety of signs we made to coordinate with our wedding. We matched colours to the seafoam bridesmaids dresses, the light brown groomsmen suits, and the bright pink favour wrappers. We went even further and made chalkboards using chalkborad paint with colour matched frames for the bar, cake table, and buffet, each with a little message for our guests.

Jon Coupée

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