How to Make a DIY Wood Pallet JOY Sign

by Marcy on December 23, 2014 · 0 comments

diy wood pallet joy sign

DIY Wood Pallet JOY Sign

I love using Pinterest to find decorating ideas – especially for the holidays. (Check out my Christmas Board here). I often find myself pinning things and then telling my husband that he could make that. My husband is a project man. He loves problem solving, tearing things apart, re-building and building things from new. He is also pretty artistic and can draw, paint etc.. We always joke (with some seriousness, I guess) that his retirement job some day could be wood working. It makes me happy that he is happy when working on projects, but of course I am happy too because it usually results in beautiful things for our home!

One of the items that I found on Pinterest this year that I really wanted was a tall JOY sign for my front porch. I actually found one at Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago and almost bought it, but I resisted the temptation because it wasn’t cheap, and because I knew my husband could make something nicer. I never actually asked him to make it for me, but he knew that I really wanted one.

Fast forward to Sunday. I was busy running around getting things ready to host Christmas at our house for my husband’s side of the family when he mentioned something about giving me one of my gifts early. I told him I was ok to wait, but he said it was already sitting out, and that I would have to find it. He knows me. I am not normally a big gift person, but I love Christmas and the whole gift aspect of it – I won’t lie. I am almost as excited as an adult to open my presents as I was as a kid. Almost. ;-) So of course I dropped what I was doing and started searching the house.

When I walked downstairs I noticed that the Santa sitting in the corner of the porch had been moved (I could see through the window). I thought maybe a package had been delivered or something, so I opened the door and found a JOY sign propped up in the corner of the porch. Apparently my husband has been working on it for a couple of weeks and I had no clue. It’s kind of scary that I have been so distracted with work and holiday planning that I had no clue! But that made it even more special, because it’s often hard to surprise the mom of the household with much.

I would love to find an antique sled and/or some kind of wreath to add to this display next year (probably omitting the Santa). I could even bring my JOY Wood Pallet sign indoors if I wanted. The possibilities are endless.

How to make a DIY Wood Pallet JOY Sign:

Instructions are courtesy of my husband

1) Remove the slats from the pallet carefully with a hammer and pry bar
2) Clean the dirt off of the wood with a wire brush and a cloth.
3) While I was lucky and was able to pull pieces off of the pallet that already had the corners chamfered (no additional cutting necessary to get the corners angled), you can do this easily with any sort of saw if necessary – Jig, miter, hand.
4) Attach the boards side by side by gluing them to two other pieces of wood – one top and one bottom, positioned horizontally. Use plenty of construction adhesive such as liquid nails. See image below:
5) Roll on flat white latex paint.
6) After the paint is dry, sand by hand with wood block wrapped in sandpaper to achieve an aged look…. primarily edges and then main surfaces to taste.
7) Trace letters. (NOTE: he “borrowed” the JOY letters that I purchased at JoAnn’s and used them as his letter template, tracing them on to the wood. He then filled in the letters with red paint. See similar letters here).
8) Paint letters (I used high gloss to help make it stand out a little more)
9) After the paint was dry I applied a solution of white vinegar, coffee, and steel wool to age it further. This gives the exposed wood a weathered/grey/brown look and also knocks down the brightness of the white paint. I found the recipe for this mixture online here. It is a pretty common and inexpensive way of getting the grey look on wood.

I didn’t apply any sealing, but you could use any kind of clear protectant … like polyurethane. Be careful because there are common types of protectants that have an orangeish tint to them. This will change the look of the entire project. Consider trying a few different types of the paint and antiquing materials on the back of the sign to make sure that you will end up with the finish that you are after.

While this project takes some time and effort, we ended up with a beautiful and heartfelt piece, for a fraction of the cost!

2015 Update! My JOY sign aged even more over the past year while in storage. Here is a picture of how I am using it this year. :-)

Joy Wood Pallet Sign DIY

DIY Home Improvement for LessWhat DIY projects are on your list to tackle? I’m hoping to share more of our escapades in the upcoming year.

Follow along with our projects here.

You can also find me on Pinterest here.

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