When I replaced the “builder grade” mirror in our bathroom and saw what a difference that simple update made, I instantly felt more motivated to look for other small changes around our house. That’s when our current address sign caught my attention and jumped to the top of my DIY to-do list.
Much like the mirror, our existing address sign isn’t necessarily ugly. It just wasn’t my style. After a little browsing on Pinterest, I was at the hardware store the next morning shopping for supplies to make our current address plate a little bit more “me”.
Because of dry time, this project took me two days but only about 2 hours of total work to complete. After spending a few hours in the garage jamming out to Pandora, check out what this sign looks like now…
I’m in l-o-v-e and just like the mirror, I can’t believe it’s taken me over 3 years to make this simple upgrade!! Here’s a step-by-step tutorial of how I DIY-ed a new address sign that’s A LOT more me.
- Piece of Wood cut to size (mine is a 2 ft piece of pine, but any size would work)
- 20-30 Paint Sticks (I actually bought two packs of 15 sticks for 98 cents a pack — I felt bad asking for that many FREE sticks at the paint counter)
- Nail Gun/Nails
- Miter Saw
- Stain (dark walnut)
- Water Seal Spray
- 5″ Floating Address Numbers (I used these ones)
- Clear Silicon
- Power Drill
- Picture hangers
Step One: Remove Old Sign
I removed the old address sign with my drill and if you look carefully, you’ll see that two anchors were still left in the concrete after I took down the sign. I hate drilling into concrete (as evidenced by this post!), so I did everything in my power to make sure the new sign could be hung using those existing anchors. To do that, I made sure to save the screws from this sign and drill them in the exact same spot on the next sign.
Side note: I feel bad just throwing away this perfectly fine sign, but I don’t have any use/ideas for it. Any ideas?! Has anyone upcycled theirs in a fun way?!
Step Two: Lay out paint sticks
At this point I set up my miter saw and started laying out the paint sticks and cutting them to size. I wanted the paint sticks to be laid randomly on the block of wood so that none of the seams lined up. Honestly I didn’t use any particular method, instead I just eyeballed it and cut the paint sticks to fit the length of this board.
You want to decide pretty early on if you want your paint sticks to be placed super tightly next to each other, or if you would rather have a bit of space at each seam. I ended up choosing a bit of space in between the seams and each row of paint sticks because I liked the way it looked.
I also liked that the rows of paint sticks would fit perfectly on the board if I used that method. However, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend keeping space in between either the seams or the rows because it made drilling into these areas a tad difficult later on in the process. Not impossible, just difficult.
Once I had the layout all set, I got out my nail gun and started nailing these paint sticks into place. I would HIGHLY recommend NOT doing it this way. I should have stained the board and all of the sticks before I did any cutting/nailing. Having the board + sticks prepped prior to cutting would have made the staining process A LOT easier. <— you wouldn’t have to use 25 Q-tips to try to stain in between the seams. #oops
Step Three: Nail in place
I used the nail gun to carefully nail each paint stick in place… trying to keep the board’s original “layout” in place as much as possible so I knew where to nail each piece.
Step Four: Stain & Seal
I stained the board and sticks using Minwax’s dark walnut stain color. I wanted the sign to be dark brown but not SUPER dark brown (like Jacobean, which I typically love). I wiped the stain on the sticks (and in between the seams with a q-tip) and then wiped off the excess. This process did the trick, but like I said, I would recommend completing all staining before cutting and nailing.
I allowed the sign to dry overnight (with a fan). Then I used this waterseal spray to water proof the sign. Honestly, this address sign is located under our home’s soffit so it doesn’t experience a whole lot of water exposure, BUT I thought sealing it couldn’t hurt for the few times it may get wet. (note: the color of the wood changed after I sprayed the waterproof seal but once it dried, the color was back to normal).
I did two coats of this spray and let it dry overnight before attaching the numbers (see directions on the bottle for more specific instructions).
Step Five: Attaching the Numbers
I bought these address numbers because they were modern looking and had the option to lay flat or appear “floating” on the address sign. I opted for the floating look and although I’m really happy with the look of my new sign, I wasn’t a huge fan of working with these numbers.
I read the box, read a few tutorials online, and even searched YouTube for some clarification of how to install these numbers because the directions on the box left me a bit lost. If you’re looking to recreate this look, allow me to explain this process in more detail, so hopefully you don’t find yourself as confused as I was.
The first thing you need to do if you’re looking to install these FLOATING numbers (different directions if you want them to lay flat) is screw in the small part of these screws into the back of each letter (see above photo).
The box came with a template that you could cut out and place on your surface but the tutorials I read all noted that these templates were a “smidge” off. I tested that theory and they were right; the template didn’t line up perfectly. =(
Instead, I placed the number on the wood plate, eyeballed it, and lightly marked where to drill.
Then I used these pencil marks to identify exactly where I should drill the pilot holes. See the three pilot holes for the 8?
Once you have confirmed that the number will indeed fit into these holes, you fill each hole with a generous amount of clear silicone, which will act as glue, and place the number back into these holes to dry.
A few rookie tips:
- Be as precise as possible when marking where to drill the holes
- Use a drill bit that is the perfect size so your hole isn’t too small or too large (size details on the package)
- Be generous filling each hole with clear silicone
- Eventually you will have to go back to add a little stain touch-up around these holes, which was super easy with a Q-tip.
Step Six: Hanging Equipment
Once the stain “touch-ups” were done and the numbers were dry, I added two picture hangers to the back of this sign. This is another step that should have probably been done before the number installation but ya live and ya learn, right?! (obviously there was lots of learning happening in this project!!)
I made sure to install these picture hangers at the exact location of the existing anchors in the wall. This way all I had to do was drill the original screws back into the anchors and hang this puppy up. And that’s exactly what I did…
This project costs me about $30 (most of the budget was spent on the metal numbers) and I think the investment was WELL, WELL worth it. PLUS, this project has me even more motivated to tackle mini projects that make a big impact on our space.
I’m already eyeing my space to see what other builder basic item I can replace. Hmmmm… any suggestions?! Anyone else replacing builder basic with items that are so you? I’d love to hear about it!