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Reclaimed signs from pallet wood is one of our favorite projects. You can make them however you want. They can be big they can be small they can be super rustic or finished. They can say and look however you want. As with most DIY there is no right or wrong, there is only personal preference. 

Just a note on using reclaimed pallets. There are tons and tons of blog posts and articles on what the markings mean and what pallets you should or should not use. Also on safety when handling, dismantling, cutting, etc. Working with reclaimed materials can be dangerous and hard on both you and your equipment if you do not take the time to learn how to do it properly. I know you are eager to get started but please take the time to make sure you are working safely. There, safety talk is done! 

If you don’t have any pallets lying around take a look at craigslist under the free section. It is not hard to find free wood nowadays. I keep 3 or 4 pallets on hand at all times behind the small shed workshop as well as 3 or 4 already dismantled in the shop. This gives me boards ready for use and the other pallets are outside continuing to weather until needed. I always give the boards a good looking over before I start cutting just in case I missed a nail or staple. If you have a metal detector this is a great time to use it! 

When Making a sign I personally don’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel. I go straight to Pinterest, find a sign that I like and reproduce it in the following manner.

1. Cut the wood to the desired lengths. I use my miter saw for all these cuts. 

2. Assemble the sign boards using scrap pieces on the back. We invested in a 30 gallon air compressor and a finishing nailer to make life easier. If you are not there yet a little glue and some clamps will get the job done as well.

3. Give the boards a sanding until they are to your desired look and feel. For me it depends on the sign. I use a medium grit sanding block or whatever the heck is lying around. It’s a pallet sign not fine furniture!

4. Apply your base color or finish. Sometimes it’s paint, sometimes I burn it, maybe just some Linseed oil, etc. After your base is dry lay out your stencil or free hand it if your good enough (we are definitely not! If I free hand paint it looks like i had some sort of seizure while holding a paint brush). We use a stencil with a stippling brush or trace the outline lightly in pencil and then free hand brush it.

5. At this point the sign is done if you want it to be. Or keep going with it. Add a frame around the outside border? Maybe some accents in the corners? It’s your sign, have fun with it!

6. Once the sign is complete I give it 2 coats of spray clear wood finish. I prefer Deft but that is just a personal choice. 

Here are a few of the signs laying around. If you found this post useful please like and share it. Happy building!

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