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DIY Front Porch Leaner Sign

Updated: Jun 27, 2023

Repurposed Wood Fence Panel - Porch Leaner Sign in 8 easy to follow steps!

Recently I was shopping online for items to decorate our front porch. I came across several pins on Pinterest for front porch decor inspiration. I fell in love with the look of porch leaner signs and the thought of switching them out for holidays. However, adding up the cost of one of these decorative pieces for each holiday started getting a bit pricey. This was most definitely a job for DIY! Then, I remembered wood fence panels I had in my garage.

Last Summer we replaced our wood fence. My first thought was, "look at all those wood panels probably headed for the dumpster, surely they could be repurposed for something!" I knew I couldn't keep them all, but I kept 2 of them and I'm glad I did! I wanted my porch leaners to be about 1 ft across. Which means for a 6x8 ft panel, I got 8 signs...score!

I crafted this DIY before I bought my Cricut vinyl cutting machine and needed a way to stencil on letters. I decided to go with the 'carboning' transfer method.

Here's how I did it!

Step 1: Prepare repurposed fence panel (or wood you plan to stencil onto). For this step, I sanded the surface using 80 grit sandpaper first, then 200, and finally 220 grit. I wiped off the dust using a cheesecloth.

Step 2: Measure repurposed wood panel. Mine measures 1 ft X 5.5 ft.

Step 3: Open Publisher file (or design program of choice). Create a file the size of your wood panel.

Step 4: Choose a font and type out the lettering exactly as it would go onto the sign (ex. vertical or horizontal for smaller lettering). You will need to start with very large font to be able to see your typed words. I typed out 'Welcome' vertically and played with the font, size, and spacing until it fit the way I wanted it to look on the sign. I then wrote down the size and type of font that I liked. Next, I opened 7 letter size (8.5x11) files and typed out one letter per page (entering the size of the fonts I wrote down previously) and printed them.

Step 5: After printing, turn each sheet over and firmly draw over the back side of each letter using a pencil, the darker the better. Using painter's tape, attach the letters to the wood panel and also to each other. For this step, I found it easier to lay the panel down and arrange the letters the way I wanted before taping them on. I then stood it upright and made adjustments where needed.

Step 6: Using your pencil, trace the outline of each letter. You will want to press very firm when tracing so the lead from the back transfers onto the wood. After tracing over each letter, gently pull up a corner of the paper to make sure most of the outline has transferred. It doesn't have to be perfect; you just want a general outline of what you will paint over.

It will look something like this.

Step 7: Remove the paper and painter's tape from the wood and paint your design using acrylic paints. I added painter's tape to get the stripes even and freehanded the stars in pencil before painting over them. When the paint dries, touch up any necessary blemishes or uneven spots.

Step 8: Apply clear matte polyurethane to the front of the sign. This step is recommended to help protect the paint on your front porch leaner from the outdoor elements and help it to last longer. After the clear coat dries add any extra flare you want to your sign! I used burlap ribbon.

Viola! What do you think?

Old wood fence panels can be repurposed for a multitude of DIY projects like this adorable potting bench from My Repurposed Life!

Or this amazing William's and Sonoma inspired planter box from HomeTalk!

What are some of your favorite DIY projects with repurposed wood fence panels? I would love to see them!


80, 200, & 220 grit sandpaper


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