From garage sale find to DIY Halloween sign

I turned a 50-cent garage sale purchase into a cute little DIY Halloween sign this week.

DIY Halloween sign. Silhouette of witch's hat with "Something wicked this way comes" typed on it.

Here’s what the sign looked like when I brought it home earlier this summer:

Welcome to the World wood sign

I didn’t have any use for a “Welcome to the World” sign, but I liked its rustic frame — and its price — so I bought it, with a plan to make it over at some point.

That point came this week, when I started thinking ahead to Halloween and decided I wanted to paint a witch hat silhouette on the sign.

Starting with a blank slate

To start the makeover, I gave the sign a black base coat with my current go-to paint: Rust-Oleum Chalked in charcoal.

wooden sign painted black

It took a few coats to cover the words. When I finally had a blank slate, I went to my computer and traced a witch’s hat in Photoshop, giving it a few extra zigs and zags to make it interesting.

witch hat silhouette

Then I spent waaaay too long obsessing about what words to write on the hat. I wanted to use a quote that straddled the line of being spooky without being creepy. (Or at least not so creepy that my husband would be sleeping with one eye open after he read what I wrote.)

witch hat silhouette with "Something wicked this way comes" typed on it

I ultimately settled on “Something wicked this way comes” from “Macbeth,” by process of elimination. I’d already used that line on a previous Halloween sign and I really didn’t want to repeat it on this one, but every other idea I came up with was either too dark or too cutesy, so “Something wicked” it was.

I used the font Trattatello and angled the words on the hat so “wicked” bled off both edges. Then I printed the design out on my home printer.

Transferring the design

printed pages of witch hat design for DIY Halloween sign

My sign measured 15″ x 15″, so the design tiled out onto four letter-sized pages that I had to trim and tape together. (Technically, it tiled out onto six pages, but two of the outside ones were almost entirely black, so I didn’t need them.)

pages with design of witch hat on them taped together

To transfer the design to the black sign blank, I used a sheet of white tracing paper.

vintage tracing paper in assorted colors

I don’t know if they still make tracing paper like this. I bought mine secondhand, and I have to say I love it. I would love a Cricut even more, but the tracing paper is in my budget. A Cricut isn’t.

tracing the image onto the sign blank

The tracing paper is a big improvement over my old method for design transfers: rubbing chalk (or pencil) all over the back of a design and then tracing it.

white image transferred to the black sign

You can see above what a great job the tracing paper did at transferring the design. The lines are all dark and crisp. If I’d used chalk, the lines would have been smudgy, and there would be chalk dust everywhere.

Painting the DIY Halloween sign

DIY Halloween sign before painting

With the outlines drawn (except for the spider and spider web, which I somehow managed to forget and had to add in later), I started painting. The painting is always the most time consuming part of making one of these signs. It’s like doing a paint by numbers except that every number is “white.”

painting the DIY Halloween sign

I used a tiny brush to go around the letters and in the tight spaces …

painting the sign

.. and a bigger brush to fill in the wide open areas.

DIY Halloween sign. Witch hat silhouette with "Something wicked this way comes" printed on it.

I had to paint two or three coats of white to get full coverage over the black.

Finishing touches

Waxing the sign with clear furniture wax

When I was done, I let the paint dry for a few hours. Then I coated the entire sign with some clear furniture wax.

waxing the DIY Halloween sign with clear furniture wax

Once the wax was dry (in about 10 minutes), I buffed it with a clean, lint-free rag, and my sign was done.

DIY Halloween sign. Silhouette of witch's hat with "Something wicked this way comes" typed on it.

It’s kind of cute, right?

If you have any great ideas for other spooky-but-not-creepy Halloween quotes, let me know in the comments below. I need ideas!


2 Replies to “From garage sale find to DIY Halloween sign”

  1. There are so many good quotes. One ominous threat that always put the fear in me as a child is
    “I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog too!” Imagine, someone who would harm little Toto.

    1. Ooh, that’s a good one. I never thought of The Wizard of Oz. For some reason, I had Edgar Allen Poe on my brain when I started thinking of spooky sayings, but as I read through his poems, I realized none of them were going to work. I had forgotten how truly macabre his stuff was.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: