How to Make Shabby Chic Painted Word Signs



This is a great weekend project that will add a little personal touch to your home. It isn’t too time-intensive – you can pretty much do a bit at a time and leave it – so it’s the ideal project to do when you only have smaller blocks of time available.


What you need:

A length of pine (as we were turning these into shelves we used the sanded pine shelf kit from The Range – £3.99)

Rustoleum Surface Primer

Rustoleum Chalky Furniture Paint for base coat (we used Winter Grey 750ml can)

Rustoleum Chalky Furniture Paint for top coat (we used Antique White 750ml can)

Rustoleum Chalky Furniture Paint for letters (we used Balmoral 125ml can)

80 grit sandpaper


Stencil brush

Multisurface FrogTape





If your pine is already sanded you’re ready to go. Otherwise use 100 – 120 grit sandpaper to get it to a smooth finish.


plain shelves


Make sure the area you are working in is airy and well-ventilated. Shake up the Rustoleum Primer Spray for a good minute or so before you begin. Holding the can approximately 30cm away from the wood begin to spray back and forth steadily, overlapping as you go.


primed shelves


The primer doesn’t take long to dry so you will soon be ready to paint your base coat. We used Winter Grey as our base coat – just one coat is all that is needed.

Allow the base coat to dry thoroughly and then paint over with the main colour – we chose Antique White.


rustoleum antique white chalk paint close up


Do ensure you thoroughly stir the paints before you begin painting. If you have done it properly there will be no oil visible at all and the paint will look creamy and quite different to a freshly opened tin!


stirred rustoleum chalk paint


Allow the first coat of the main colour to dry completely – overnight if possible but a few hours at least. Again, these paints are fairly quick drying so a few hours should be okay if you are pushed for time.


painted shelves


Once the second coat of the main colour has been left to dry for a few hours you can begin working on your quote. Do note that if you are not planning on distressing your project and want a pristine finish you will need to leave the paint to dry overnight at least before starting this step.

Work out what your quote or words will be and where you want to place them. I knew that the words I had chosen would sit in the middle of the board and not reach anywhere near the ends so I didn’t see the point in FrogTaping all the way across.


frog tape shelves


Do make sure the FrogTape overlaps the strip before so that you don’t leave any gaps between the strips.


frog tape shelves quotes


Marking out the centre and quarter-way points will help you position your words more accurately.


mark frog tape


Choose the font you like and print off the quote or words you want to use. We used the Castellar font at 350 points which is available on Word. To make fonts bigger than the maximum 72 points given on Word just type the font size you want to use in the font size dropdown box.

Position your words or quote where you want them to go and secure them into place using more FrogTape.


position and affix quotes in place


Very carefully, use a craft knife to start cutting out your letters.




Remember, the black pieces are the bits you want to remove and the white is the part you want to leave.


cut out letters


Don’t rush this part!


cut out letters - remove paper


Once all the letters have been cut out remove the correct pieces of FrogTape. Take your time and don’t rush!


quote cutting completed


Now it’s time to paint your words. Thoroughly stir the 125ml pot of paint that you have selected for this part.


Rustoleum Chalky Furniture Paint in Bramwell


Use a stencil brush or small paintbrush to quickly but carefully paint over each letter. Allow to dry for a short time then apply a second coat.


paint quotes


Allow to dry thoroughly then start removing the FrogTape carefully.


peel frog tape


Give the sign a distressed look by gently rubbing with 80 grit sandpaper in the direction of the grain, lightly revealing the base coat in places as you do so.

Hang your sign (or use them as shelves as we did!).


quote shelf sign


We hope you enjoyed this project – do pin it and share it if you did. Do leave us a comment if you try this project out yourself too – we’d love to hear how you get on!

Please come back for more great tutorials and crafts – coming soon!



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