Sanded Distressed Wood Sign Tutorial

Sanded Wood Sign

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I’ve shown you distressed wood signs before, but none that I did using sandpaper. Antiquing wax has been my go-to for distressed look wood, but I’m loving sanding signs these days! This is seriously so easy. After you get your boards painted and distressed, just add your favorite vinyl design or use a stencil to paint on your lettering. 

What you’ll need:

piece of wood cut to the size you want for your sign (I used a thin piece of sanded plywood)

wood stain (I used dark walnut)

satin or matte polyurethane

chalk paint

stencil or vinyl cutout

sandpaper block (80 grit to distress 220 to smooth)

First Steps:

Cut the board to the size you’d like for your sign. Sand it so the surface is nice an smooth. Apply a coat of dark stain.

Second Step:

After the stain is dried thoroughly, add a coat of matte or satin poly. This is so the chalk paint that goes on next will more easily let go when you start to distress it. Let dry completely.

Third step:

Roughly paint a coat of chalk paint onto the board. Seriously, this does not need to be perfect.


Let the paint dry thoroughly.

Fourth Step:

Take your sanding block and start roughing the edges. Go in the direction of the wood grain. The corners should be a little more distressed than the edges. Run the flat side of the block all across the entire sign a few passes. Sand more in areas you’d like more distressing. It’s completely up to you how much distressing your sign has. 

Fifth Step:

Take a clean rag and clean all of the sanding residue from the sign. Be sure it’s completely clean so you can add your vinyl. Any dust will cause a problem with your vinyl sticking. You can go over the entire project with the poly to seal everything if you choose. If your sign is going to hang on your porch or anywhere outside, definitely add a couple of coats of poly to protect it from the elements. I go into more detail about adding a vinyl design in other tutorials. Check them out if you’d like!

That’s really all there is to it. 

Check out the video tutorial for a better visual of the process:

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  1. Amber | Confessions of Parenting
    September 27, 2018 @ 7:05 pm

    I really hope to be able to accomplish this craft as a Christmas present. It is so gorgeous and just the perfect thing for somebody I know. Thanks!


    • Kelly
      September 27, 2018 @ 11:04 pm

      Amber- You can absolutely do this! It’s such an easy project, but the results are so gorgeous! Thanks for stopping by. Blessings- Kelly


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