Decorating|DIY Tutorials

Rustic Hand Painted DIY Lake Sign


Learn how to make this quick and easy reclaimed wood distance DIY Rustic Hand Painted Lake Sign with this beginner-friendly tutorial.


Today I’m sharing a quick and simple project, which is the name of the game around the blog these days! When Chelsea from Making Home Base asked me to join her Summer Celebration, I knew I wanted to be in on the fun! Since the arrival of Miss L, I don’t have as much time for big projects like I used to- but I still enjoying making things for our home. I am still working on the decor portion of our bedroom, and I knew I wanted an reclaimed-look sign for a blank wall. This DIY “reclaimed” lake sign fit the bill perfectly! Make sure to check out the other fun summer projects from some of my favorite bloggers at the end of this post!

DIY Rustic Hand Painted Lake Sign

I started with an end piece of weathered rough cut pine from a larger sign I made. It needed to be cleaned up a bit, but otherwise, it was a great piece with a ton of character.


I brought it down to the workshop and sanded it down a bit with 120 grit. The key for me was to sand away the extremely rough parts without removing the patina of the wood and the saw marks.


The resulting coloring was so pretty that I decided not to stain this one. I always pause at this point and try to decide if I’m going to stain a rough cut piece, and what color to do it. I’m glad I left this one natural!

LakeSign3My next step was to create my “lazy stencil”, which is the same process I used for the coordinates sign. I simply printed out the letters, miles to the Camp, and an arrow on  regular printer paper. When it’s summer and we’re at home, you can bet that we’d rather be relaxing at Mack’s family’s camp on the lake. Unfortunately, as you can see, it’s a bit of a drive- so we joked that the sign can actually be a little depressing from that point of view. Overall it’s meant as a fun reminder of a place we love as a family and where we have many memories.


I then traced the letters by pressing down with a pencil, which left a light outline on the board. If you were using hardwood, you would have to cut out a stencil with a machine like a Silhouette, or purchase number stencils- this works best with soft woods like pine (and is much cheaper and easier than making a stencil!).
LakeSign4The wood grain will pull the pencil a bit where the texture wants it to go. It won’t result in crisp or precise letters, but I personally prefer the rustic hand-painted look.


The final step is filling in the outlines with the paint of your choice. I used some leftover chalk paint, since it doesn’t absorb into the wood as much. The indents from the outline provide a natural barrier for the paint, which prevent it from bleeding.

Learn how to make this quick and easy reclaimed wood distance DIY lake sign with this beginner-friendly tutorial.

The resulting piece is a great rustic touch for our new master bedroom, which was shaping up to be too much on the sophisticated side for my taste. I love the interest and texture that the raw wood brings to the space, and of course the great reminder of the lake and summer fun!

Thank you for stopping by to check out my project! Make sure to check out the other 18 projects in this Summer Celebration!

Summer Celebration Graphic wnames

Monday, June 1 Collage

1. Making Home Base 2. House By Hoff 3. Life on Virgina Street

4. Everyday Enchanting 5. The Happy Housie 6. Tell Love and Chocolate

Tuesday, June 2 Collage1. Rain on A Tin Roof 2. The Blissful Bee 3. The Turquoise Home
4. Just A Girl and Her Blog 5. View From The Fridge 6. making it in the mountains

Wednesday, June 3 Collage

1. Bless’er House 2. Delineate Your Dwelling 3. Maison de Pax

4.Up to Date Interiors 5. The Wood Grain Cottage 6. Migonis Home

You can join us in the summer celebration by using the hashtag #summercelebration on Instagram!

Happy Summer!


  1. Stacey Says

    Your sign turned out really cute. :)

  2. April Hoff Says

    I love how you took a rough piece of wood and turned it into a gem! This sign is adorable and versatile! Perfect for summer!

  3. Chelsea Says

    Adorable! I love rustic painted signs. I just unpacked one I made with the distance to our favorite beach (2000+ miles away!) and it totally made me miss it more! Thanks so much for sharing, Nina – this is beautiful!

  4. Michelle Lepak @ Dandelion Patina Says

    This is a must DIY project for me! I knew it was instantly. We love spending our summer days at the lake and I can’t wait to try my hand at the lazy lady stencil. So fun.

  5. Kathy Says

    The natural wood does have a nice color and texture. A pretty and rustic summer piece!

  6. Krista @ the happy housie Says

    LOVE it Nina!! I need this for our house! But maybe I will put “30 steps” instead of 130 miles…lol. Great project- pinned and sharing on my FB page. Have a fabulous weekend!