Making Signs That Inspire

Making Signs That Inspire Creativity

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The drive to make signs is back and it’s a good thing because it felt like I was in a funk.  Between the move and getting the workshop set up, it was difficult to create anything that really inspired.

I must have rearranged my office 3 times within two weeks, Robert built me this awesome work table and things were still feeling forced.  Then last Saturday I decided to take the day and play.  This was a smart move and inspiration hit from the word “Dreams.”

Dreams are a wonderful thing and they’ve helped me get through many difficult times.

When I started gathering supplies for this sign I started thinking about those dreams, the biggest would be living simple and helping others get back to the land.  How neat is that?

I also dream about getting a little boat so Robert and I can go fishing on the lake.  I keep dreaming of this simple life and discovered this is where my inspiration is focused and where my thoughts need to be centered because it’s my life.

Sizing up the Sign with the Stencil

Supplies and Measurements

The sign was measured to fit the stencil with enough space on each side to add fun details later.  I already had my supplies so the next step was to get started.


  • One 6 ft. Cedar Fence board
  • Saw, drill, screws and bits
  • Dixie Belle Paint – Fluff and a Rag
  • Stencil from Studio R12, stencil brush and black chalk paint
  • Ribbon
  • Sand Paper
  • 2 wood slabs cut in half
  • Vintage fishing needles

Fishing Stencil Sign

Connecting Boards

After the boards were cut I attached them from the back with two wood strips using screws.  I drilled pilot holes first because cedar splits under pressure which can ruin a project instantly.  Once the base was connected I sanded the entire thing getting it ready to add paint.

Adding Stencil and Ribbon to Sign

Paint Stain, Stencil and Ribbon

  • I used the Paint Stain Technique with white Chalk paint.  Learn more here.
  • Applied the stencil using black paint.  How to Stencil here.
  • Drilled 4 holes, two on each side where I slipped ribbon through and tied off in knots.

Cutting Wood Slices in Half

Cutting Wood Slabs

These wood slabs are from a bois d arc tree we encountered clearing land, take a look at the color variation, isn’t it pretty.  I took two and cut them in half with the chop saw. This was really quick and make sure you cut with a fine blade.

Adding Wood Slices to the back using screws

Adding Wood Slabs with Screws

I left the slabs natural because I want them to slowly crack over time. I drilled pilot holes again and slowly drilled them to the back of the sign.  If you’re slabs are thin I would recommend using a hand screw driving.

I love this addition, it added an element of surprise that reminds me of working hard.  At this point I really thought the sign was finished but guess what?  It wasn’t done, because I remembered I had three vintage fishing needles in my desk.

Vintage Fishing Net Repair needles

My Dad was a fisherman, a gill netter actually and when I was a kid he prepped his nets using these needles.  Buoys and rope are threaded to the nets so they don’t sink to the bottom of the bay.  I was always fascinated by his work; the life of a fisherman is rough but at times I think it must have also been peaceful.  My favorite thing to ask him after a night of fishing was, “How many fish did you get?”

It was those final details that made this sign a one of a kind, something that inspires beyond a simple message.  The next time you make a sign take it to a new level and let it tell a story beyond the words.  This one reminds me that goodness is out there and we should never stop dreaming.

Making Signs that Inspire



  1. Patti says:

    Hi Carole,

    I love this sign and find your posts very inspirational. Every time I go shopping with my girl friends we inevitably go to a cute shop with many fun signs and stand there, reading them, and pointing out which ones we like. How smart to make one yourself! I also love the fact that you take it one step further with the embellishments. Maybe I could even make a couple for my friends as gifts. You’ve got my wheels turning. Thanks!

    1. Carole says:

      Glad you like it Patti, this was a fun one and really believe you have to make signs that go beyond the words. Did a workshop last night with a box project and it was so neat to see how everyone put their own spin on stenciling. Check out the inventory in this shop, think you will like it.

  2. daisy says:

    You are a master! Love the little touches you added based on your family’s history.

    I’d love to make signs as gifts. Where’s the best place to find the right wood? (I’m thinking Craig’s List or yard sales.) Will any type of wood do?

    1. Carole says:

      Thank you Daisy – you can go with reclaimed wood but I usually use wood we have left over from projects. My favorite is cedar and the second would be pine. You can buy new at Home Depot or Lowes, starting with cedar fence boards is good. Look forward to seeing what you come up with.

  3. Jemma says:

    Good Morning Carole,
    Love the creativity, symbolism and beauty of this sign. So neat how it tells the story of you, your Dad and dreams. Not to mention that it is pretty! Love the buffalo check too:)

    1. Carole says:

      Thank you Jemma, had a great workshop last night where that same ribbon left on many of the gift boxes. Making signs it’s just fun and do believe each one should be unique. Thanks for stopping by hope you have a great day!

  4. Jane says:

    Good Morning, Carole,

    I’m so glad you are getting your office space organized. The one thing I can not do…work in clutter. My inspiration is gone if my space is a mess.

    I adore your sign. I grew up in a small town on the water with a great deal of fishing. My husband loves to fly fish.

    You always rock your signs and “how to” posts

    I hope all is well with you, xo


    1. Carole says:

      Hey Jane, How are you? I’m doing great really loving my new digs and learning how to drill a well. Can you believe that? This sign was a lot of fun and has inspired me to start saving for a little boat so we can go fish on the lake. Just being outdoors all the time is great and we finally decided our Shed/Office will eventually be our Tiny House. We’ll slowly revamp it between you know….. everything else we’re doing. Hugs- Carole

  5. Bonnie Hobbs says:

    When ever I find a piece of time without a “to do” list, I enjoy browsing your web site. You inspire me to be creative. Somewhere through the years, I forgot how to relax and create. I’m now looking forward to retirement and focusing on home and relaxing days working in my yard, grabbing material and quilting. Who knows where a day may lead me! Thank you for reminding me of the simple life where I will thrive!

    1. Carole says:

      Awe yes the simple life, I have to tell you I absolutely love it and I think it’s because I have more energy. For some reason stuff, noise and a lot of activity slows me down an clutters my thought process. Thinking about writing on this topic sometime in the future. So glad you’re inspired to be creative… it’s a neat feeling. Somebody told me once life is about seasons so perhaps your creative season has arrived. Enjoy!!

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