Every one is making a welcome sign right? I jumped on the bandwagon too. In fact, my sister-in-law requested a welcome sign for Christmas 2021. This sign will hang in an outdoor space. I like the result, but I also plan to make some changes for my next one based on what I learned.
First of all, I had to find a piece of wood big enough. Again due to Covid, I couldn’t do a lot of in-person browsing. I knew I wanted a size at least 15″ circumference to fill the space where it would hang. I found a nice piece at a local store called craft enablers. It was just about 1/4″ thick which I thought would work.
Cricut Design Space was a great tool to visualize the colours for the design. I made a circle with the exact dimensions and then placed the white strip section on top. Then I duplicated the image and tried various combinations of black, white and wood in each section. Seeing it that way was so good and easy to select the wood as background and white centre with black lettering (I viewed it at about 25% zoomed to get the whole sign in one screen).
The wood was quite white really. I applied a light stain I had on hand – assuming that it doesn’t have a best before date (??). With drying in between, I ended up with 5 coats. I liked the richer colour this gave the wood, and also the stain brought out the natural lines and knots in the surface giving it much more texture and interest.
Using two lines of painters’ tape, I taped off a middle section of the board. I used a ruler to measure the space between the tape at several points to ensure the lines were parallel. It was visually difficult to do this without a ruler. I painted it white with regular outdoor paint. The paint and stain went around the edges too.
Since it had used exact measurements in Design Space, I could adjust the letters to get a perfect sizing. Once I hid the circle shapes, it was easy enough to print. I sliced the word “Welcome” from Oracal 651 permanent vinyl with my Cricut maker. I needed to use the large 24″ cutting mat and oriented the image sideways.
One basic Welcome sign completed. Now it needed some decoration.
I had a wired green ribbon and twine with some random foliage on hand. No idea why I had this, but yay me! Finally, after watching many really informative YouTube videos, I got the basics down for making a bow and it is surprisingly easy. I always thought that making these types of bows would be complicated – like origami or something. Not so! I was going to link to a few of these videos, but honestly they are all great and quick. Just by typing “making a bow” into the YouTube search box came up with so many results. I watched a selection and decided to go with a basic bow.
A Tag Line
To finish up, I added a small piece of wood with a “catch phrase” or tagline. Not sure exactly what to call it. I found a pack of 7″ x 3″ wooden plaques at Dollarama in the crafting section. Also using Cricut Design space, I created a rectangle with those dimensions and then placed the text on it. After hiding the shape, I cut the letters for FRIENDS and adhered to the piece of wood. I wasn’t sure if she wanted those words (this was a gift) so I put magnets on the board and the sign with glue and they snapped together and could be easily removed and replaced if she wanted.
The Twist you Ask?
Versions! Now I had the plaque that could be changed as often as needed, I decided to do the same thing with the bow. I glued magnets to the top of the board and to the back of the bow and they also snapped together. Version one done.
Version 2. I wanted to show how it could be swapped out, so I made another set – plaque and bow. My sister-in-law hosts a Halloween party every year (except during Covid sadly) so a Halloween themed welcome sign seemed a good option to make for her. I sourced some more wired ribbon (this time from Amazon) and created a large bow using 3 different ribbons. I thought this was my best bow so far. For the plaque, I painted it black with basic acrylic craft paint and cut out the words and ghosts with Cricut from orange Oracal 651.
Version 3. Well, once I started I had to continue. We love cards and again my brother and sister-in-law hold a (usually) annual euchre tournament. This is attended by at least 20-24 people. It is a potluck type of arrangement and players wander through the kitchen and graze throughout the day. There may also be some drinking. Lots of fun with good friends and lots of laughs.
I might have tried to get too fancy here with pulling out the bowers (jacks) from a mini deck of cards and gluing them on to a wired red gingham bow. I may have to fiddle with this a bit but I’ll wait to see what she thinks. This bow was another variation I followed on YouTube and it is a a triple looped bow with 3 streamers attached to the bottom. I designed the plaque on the bottom with a graphic program (I use Paint Shop Pro) and was made with sublimation ink transferred with heat to the wood.
Version 4. I had to make an even four options though right? My last attempt was to create something something completely different. It was harder to find the ribbon for Spring colours (being the Christmas season), but I did find some that matched the remaining Oracal 651 colours I had. I used a round craft board I had and painted it white with acrylic paint. I designed cut out the umbrella, rain and words in cricut. The ribbon with a simpler bow was attached at the bottom. The ribbon was not as wide as that the other ribbons I used at small 1.5 inches. I thought it would be okay when I ordered, but I like the other width (2.5) much better.
The rope I used came on a roll of 3 Strand Polypropylene Cord at 1/4″ thick and about 18 inches long. To prevent fraying I singed the ends lightly. The board was solid and I needed to put two holes in the top to thread the rope though. I don’t have a drill bit for making holes, but my brother does (being a plumber and all). I provided the rope in the parcel and asked that he drill two holes in to hang the sign on their front porch. She already has a hook there. Done. As a side note, wrapping it all was also a challenge!
One – Staining
I think I would use a darker stain next time (someone suggested trying used coffee beans instead of stain). I think the contrast with the white middle section will be more striking.
Two – Attach and Detach Bow Options
This is a big one. The magnets for the top bow were not very strong when contending with the irregular shape of the ribbons. The glue I used (gorilla glue) to adhere the magnets would not take as well on the porous ribbon fabric. In fact, when she unwrapped the board, the magnets had come off one of the ribbons. I will be changing this to some strong Velcro I have. There are other options too that could be used. For instance, you could attach a flat surface to the ribbon with twine and then use that for magnets. Even considered a hook too. Either way, the bow needs to be secure.
For the bottom plaques, I used 3 magnets on each board and 3 attached to the plaque. Again I used gorilla glue, but the surfaces took the glue well and held. They all clipped into place with a very satisfying and strong snap. I had to be careful to orient them all the right way though.
Three – Hanging Options
I will need a drill bit to make holes for hanging.
Four – Bows and Ribbon
The 2.5″ wide wired ribbon is best for making the bows.
Five – Cricut Design Space
Visualizing everything in Cricut Design space was really good. The sizing worked perfectly.
If I do another one, and I think I definitely will, I will look to find a thicker more “outdoor” friendly wood piece. I guess I will learn how this one holds up to the elements in time, but I’m worried it is not thick enough not to warp. This one will hang in a protected entrance way so that might help. This could be made for the inside or outside though so what you go with will will depend on where you plan on hanging it.
If you got this far, I hope you found this interesting and maybe even helpful. Let me know what your thoughts are.