Easy Steps to Create a Pallet Sign

While Casey was presenting her dad with an over-the-top, personalized gift, I was racking my brain on how I could create an all-star gift that was personal to my dad. What do you get for a guy that doesn’t ever want anything?

After some serious brainstorming, I narrowed down my DIY ideas to this: something he could add to the space that he adores the most- his beloved backyard.
With lots of intimidation and quite a bit of hesitation, I decided to create a pallet sign to add to his patio. (Enter some serious muscle).

I enlisted my better half to carry this way-heavier-than-I-expected pallet home from a dumpster nearby. (I say “nearby” loosely… more like 1/2 mile of trucking this thing home). Poor Matt, such a team player.

After we he got this bad boy home, we got to work tearing the wood apart.

I know this is the man of my dreams when I see him knee deep in DIY still rocking his Sperry’s.

Needless to say, the muscle part of this duo took care of most of this demolition as well.

Thanks to Matthew, we were left with some weathered pallet wood that would eventually make up the Pallet Sign.

We laid out a rough draft of the sign and decided that the tiny pallet leftovers just weren’t sturdy enough to back this heavy sign. We headed to Home Depot to buy some new wood.

But first, these dangerously scary nails needed to go. With the back of a hammer and some more muscle (ohhh Maaaattttttt), we got those bad boys out in no time.

To identify how big our strips of wood needed to be @ Home Depot, the project manager did some measuring.

Since the whole sign was 21 inches long, we picked out one long strip of wood and had it cut down (for free) to 20 inches. The total at Home Depot for the wood, a whopping 97 cents.

After we did some more measuring and re-adjusting, we were ready to nail. One pallet board at a time, we leveled, nailed, nailed, nailed, nailed, nailed, nailed and repeated the process over and over and over again.

Until we were done!!

Sturdy? Check. Level? Check. Proud? Check, check double check!

Now, the fun part- adding a “little” finish to the already weathered pallet strips. I didn’t want to add a fresh coat of pure paint onto this sign because I figured that would eliminate the vintage charm this wood already offers. However, without a little color I knew the wood was just too unfinished for my dad’s style. The compromise: watering down paint to give it a vintage washed look.

I used a small jar of an old paint sample for my paint base. #hugemoneysaver. Instead of buying an entire gallon, Home Depot will create a sample of any paint color you choose for around $3. How could you beat that?

Before I took my (paint + water) concoction to the pallet sign, I sampled it on a piece of leftover wood. If you want the darker look, use less paint. I wanted my finish to be a little lighter, so I added more water to the paint. There’s no rhyme or reason to my mixture, I just kept adding a little bit of water until the consistency was exactly what I was looking for. It’s sort of like creating the perfect pancake mix… kinda?

Some of the pallet wood absorbed more of the paint than others; giving those strips a darker look. Clearly each strip looks a little different, which was A-ok with me! The more weathered charm, the better.

Making a sign out of pallet wood

The next step: adding some words! I traced some letters that I printed off the of computer with a pencil.

I filled in the lines with a few itty-bitty artsy paintbrushes and some white paint.

White paint and paintbrushes

About an hour and a half later, I was so excited to present this treasure to my pops.

How to make a pallet sign
Pallet Sign with paint
All I have to do is add a bow and present this one-of-a-kind artwork to the real DIY Master…. my dad.
(Dad, if you’re reading this…. skip this part)

  • Pallet Wood……… Free
  • Backing Wood…. $0.97
  • Nails………………. $1.30
  • Paint………………. already had it
  • paint brushes……. already had them
  • Total Cost: $2.27

A personalized gift….. Priceless

Happy belated Father’s Day to the best dad in the world. Not only have you taught us girls how to become independent young ladies, you have SHOWN us what it means to be a selfless parent, hardworking professional, amazing husband, and most importantly…. a good person. Thank you.

bridget P.S. Here are a few more pallet signs we’ve created…Patio Reveal PalletBe-Happy-Sign

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  • Beautiful homage to your daddy, B$! Creative, thoughtful and one of a kind. Just like you. Good work, Matt!!

  • Chelsea Williams

    We’ve been collecting pallets for some wedding DIYs and we found that the easiest way to get a pallet apart is to use a sawzall (with recruitment from the Groom-to-Be, of course!) to saw straight through the nails. It’s mind blowingly quick and EASY! Just a tip for future pallet projects! 🙂

  • uhhhh…. GENIUS!! Thanks Chelsea, I’m so thankful for this tip! Even more importantly, my groom-to-be thanks you for saving him countless hours of manual labor in the garage.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  • Kelly

    Such a fab sign! Nice work! One question, how did you attach it to the brick wall (or to a stucco-type outdoor wall in my case), any suggestions? Thanks!

  • Thanks Kelly! TO hang this sucker, I used some simple hooks from Home Depot. I picked the hook size that would hold the weight of the sign and nailed the hooks onto the back of the sign evenly across from one another. Then I bought nails, used specifically for brick, and just hung the pallet outside… just like I would any other picture.

    I hope this helps! Good luck. and PS. We’d love to see your final creation.

  • Sophialevis

    Right,Good to see these useful info here..Thanks a lot for sharing them with us….
    Business Sign Company

  • Good luck, Michael. I bought a small, sample size exterior paint from HomeDepot. It ensured that the paint would withstand the outdoor conditions a tad more.

  • Liz

    How did you print out your word stencils?

    • I simply created them on Microsoft Word, printed them out, and then cut the letters out. Kinda a bit monotonous, but not too difficult.

  • Brad

    I want to make a sign just like this for my son’s room, what is the name of the brown color paint you used. I want it to look exactly like yours? Thank you!

    • I used a brown paint sample to save money and honestly I don’t remember the name… I just remember that it was the color of chocolate. To get the “washed out/weathered” look, I mixed about 90% water to 10% paint together in a cup. Then I painted on that mixture until I got the look I loved. <– hope this helps!! Good luck, I'm sure your son will LOVE the pallet sign.

  • Joness33

    how do they hang up? I made this but I’m not really sure how to hang it up, or what to use to hang it up.

    • We just nailed in a piece of wood horizontally across the back, so you can put 2 nails in the wall to hang it! Looks amazing!

    • You can also attach a heavy-duty picture hanging kit (found at a store like Lowe’s) on to the back of it if that feels more secure to you.

    • Sunny M

      I love this sign!!! I have a canvas with the lyrics to the song 🙂 I would love to make this too!

  • Ambra Porter Richardson

    I started collecting pallets and (husband does the lifting too) I have so many creative ideas to use them for but I am amateur at doing d.i.y so I’ve been hesitating doing them but your tutorial was so unbelievably easy and thorough in the step by step process I finally feel confident to give them a try! I also love your outdoor herringbone fall rug that I will also be doing! Thank you for all the inspiration! I Will continue following and look forward to your future creations!

    • Happy to help, Ambra! So excited for you to create something great with all of those pallets. Good luck! And thanks for tuning in 🙂

  • Chae Vick

    Hi Bridget!! This post is a god send!! I’m creating a pallet sign as a christmas gift and I was completely stumped as to how I would be applying the lettering (till now, thank you very much)! How did you get the letters to come out completely attached/together in that size? I’m just trying to save a trip to the sign printing store.

    Thanks again!! Ur a genius lol

    • Aw, thanks Chae! I appreciate the kind words. I actually used a large sheet of paper and a projector screen to get the design I wanted. But if you don’t have access to that, drawing your design on a large poster should do the trick.

  • Leslie Obholz

    What color of paint was that you used?

    • I used a brown paint sample to save money and honestly I don’t remember the name… I just remember that it was the color of chocolate. To get the “washed out/weathered” look, I mixed about 90% water to 10% paint together in a cup. Then I painted on that mixture until I got the look I loved.

  • Sunny M

    I am planning on making a pallet sign as the ‘memorial’ at my wedding. This tutorial has given me some ideas on how to go ahead with making it. Thanks!

  • Deborah Kelley Warren

    Hello, thank you for detailed demo on the pallet sign. Question you may think is dumber than dumb but I’m a first timer with pallets. I’m wanting to make a bench & coffee table for back patio. My fiance dad is coming down in less than a week to play golf tournament. He’s old military style even though his house is over ran with antiques antiques more antiques hell still find time nagging at my fiance. I’ve been saying for a while now I wanted to do this and today finally got me a load of big and small pallets. Now if I could get any help in this MATTER ID BE MOST APPRECIATIVE. I JUST MOVED IN HERE A YEAR AGO AND HIS GARAGE IS A HUGE CLUTTER OF A MESS. THOUGH I HATE TO ADMIT BUT I HAVE NO ORGANIZATION WHAT SO EVER!!!! 😱😭😭😬😅😅😂😝😱😭😢😮😦😕😧😟😙😗. sounds like I need some serious get it together but for now I’ll take any advise on pallets. Ty much hope everyone has a fabulous weekend

  • angela

    What is a good sturdy way to hang a pallet sign that will be holding wine glasses? I am wondering what to use on the back of the sign??]

    • We used a piece of wood across on the back to hang it. Just be sure you use anchors or drill the pallet right into studs so it can support the weight of the wine glasses. Good luck!

  • Ashlei

    I have been wanting to make a pallet sign but never knew how everyone made them… But I was just wondering if the wall décor stickers would work for any wording that you would want to use? I would love to make one or a couple for my wedding or even just for a craft project… Had any one used them type of stickers?

    • We simply printed out letters and cut them out to trace. You can definitely to that to create any words you want on your sign!