So my cousin’s wedding was approaching and she wasn’t registered anywhere. She and her fiancé are the kind of people who appreciate things for their history more than their price tag, so I wanted to make them something special that they could use for years to come.
My quest to make the perfect wedding gift started at an antique store my sister found. There were hundreds of treasures in that place- but the one that seemed to really speak to me was this eagle. I got the idea to make a vintage sign and mount the eagle to it. When I bought the eagle (at a very reasonable $15!) it was very grainy with rust. My brother in law took it and power washed it clean. You could probably use a stiff brush to scrub it clean if needed…now mine is smooth to the touch but still has the great rusty look.
The next task was finding wood to make the sign. I went to JoAnn’s where they had many different signs already made. I was just going to buy one of these signs and paint over it- but they were about $30-$40 each. I then saw this wonderful mini wood pallet and with a coupon from Joann.com, it was only $15! It was much bigger than I originally wanted the sign to be, but I thought it would be pretty cool to look like an aged pallet.
Then, like just about every project- I HAD to go to Target! I found the mounting brackets for under $5, and found drawer knobs for under $10. I originally had the idea to put hooks on the bottom, to function as a key holder, but since the pallet was so big, the hooks looked tiny- so I opted to make it a coat rack (or if you’re like me- I use a coat rack to hold my dogs leashes).
When it came time to start painting, I wanted colors that looked like a vintage sign and classic fonts. I googled vintage signs for inspiration. I painted the sign blue first and then sanded it down to see how it would look. When I was happy with that, I started with the letters. I traced them from a stencil I made, after finding the fonts I liked online. Then I painted it with tempra paint. Next, I mounted the drawer knobs and hangers. The knobs I bought came with screws, but they were too long- so I had to use nuts and washers to fill in the gaps- so keep that in mind.
Then things went downhill! I wanted to stain the wood to make it look older. I had some really dark stain and I had read online that if you have stain that is too dark, mix it with mineral spirits to make it lighter. Here’s where I went wrong- you need to add A LOT of mineral spirits. So this is what it looked like when I started.
So I added a lot more mineral spirits- and it went better. It will dry out quickly, so try to move fast. I applied mine with a throw away rag (stain is the worst thing to try to clean off brushes)! I was ready to give up on the project when I screwed up the stain, but I am glad I stuck with it because it turned out so much better.
I let the stain sit overnight and the next day I took a sander to the whole thing. I sanded over all of it. This made the stain look even better, and made the letters look aged like the blue paint I sanded before.
The last step was mounting the eagle. I didn’t have any old rust colored screws, so I used new ones and then used brown paint to paint over the silver screws. They don’t match the eagle perfectly but it looks much better than the bright shiny silver!
I found inspiration from one vintage item, kept my mind open to what the finished product would look like, and reached out to crafty friends for their advice! At the end of the day, I was able to create a personalized wedding gift my cousin and her fiancé can enjoy for many years, and it all cost less than $50!