How to Stencil a Wooden Sign to Make a Cute Fall Door Decoration

Last fall I attended a mom’s retreat with some of my besties.  All I can say is, if you don’t have a group of like-minded women you meet with regularly, you need to find a group or start one.  A group like this might consist of women from your church, neighborhood, kid’s soccer team, or yoga class, but trust me on this one, a support group will change your life.  I did not not think that I needed a “support group”.  (I mean, it is not like I am an alcoholic.)  I guess I kind of thought I was good with my own busy life, but now that I have a group, I get it.

The group I belong to consists of about 30 moms from the homeschool co-op my kids attend on Fridays.  Every Friday, we get together for classes, and social time for the moms.  Some of us also get together once a month for a learning circle where we talk about a podcast we have all listened to, and we update each other on one of the best and worst things that have happened to us in the last month.  This is such a great way to bond!

Anyway…. so we were having an annual weekend retreat, and since I love crafts, I offered to organize a fun activity for everyone to do together.  I needed to come up with something super cute that would fill a 30 minute time slot (We are serious about retreats!).  I know some were skeptical that I could pull off something fun and relaxing in that time frame, but I totally did it!

I knew I needed something that could be prepped beforehand with minimal effort, since there were 40 people coming to this event and I didn’t have a million hours to get everything ready.  I also wanted the project to be decorative, useful, and inexpensive.  It needed to appeal to a variety of decorating styles, but be somewhat trendy.  I decided that a festive fall decoration best fit the bill, so I came up with these cute door hangers.  They were a huge hit!

So, in case you are crazy enough to sign yourself up for a group crafting project, or if you just want to make some fun door hangers, here is how this project went down.

I went to Lowe’s and honestly found the cheapest plywood I could.  They sell a sheet of 5mm Poplar Plywood that is 4ft x 8ft for only $15.98.  I love buying sheets of wood at Lowe’s.  Not only is the wood cheap, but they will also cut the wood for you.  Since I only own a handful of tools (and I don’t trust myself with an electric saw), this is so convenient.

I had the guy there cut the plywood into 12” plaques.  At my Lowe’s the first two cuts are free, and the rest cost $.20 each.  It took 10 cuts to turn the wood into 12” squares (sorry, not sorry for taking you back to math class 🙂 ), so it only cost an additional $1.60 to make 48 perfectly cut squares of wood.  Why would anyone do that themselves!  While at Lowe’s I also picked up some medium sandpaper, foam paint brushes, and Minwax dark walnut stain.  My total bill ended up being just over $30.

When I got home, I marked where I wanted to drill two holes in each plaque to be able to hang them.  The holes were 1 inch down and 4 inches from two sides.  Then I went to work drilling.  I find drilling to be very therapeutic.

Next I sanded the wood around the drilled holes and edges to get rid of the rough edges.  I also sanded the faces of the plaque making sure to work with the grain of the wood.

The last step was to stain the plaques of wood.  I quickly brushed the stain onto each of the plaques and the rubbed the excess off with a rag.  (Make sure you wear gloves for this step so you don’t stain your hands.)  After 24 hours of drying, the wood was all ready to go.

I selected 3 different vinyl decals that I thought everyone would like and I had the decals peeled in reverse so they looked like a stencil.  We could have put the vinyl designs on the wood directly and not painted, but in this case, I thought it would be nice to paint.  ( can send you the stencil version of any decal).

I bought white chalk paint and twine from Walmart.  Chalk paint is less likely to bleed under the vinyl than regular paint.  If you can’t find chalk paint in the color you need, use this tutorial here to make your own.

All the supplies we needed for this craft easily fit into one laundry basket.  Another huge bonus of this project!

At the retreat, each person transferred a vinyl decal to their wood using this method here and painted the designs, dabbing the paint on vertically instead of wiping horizontally.  When the paint was mostly dry, we removed the vinyl.  Chalk paint drys really quickly, so we only had to wait a few minutes.

I had everyone cut and add twine to the top however they wanted to.

Everyone’s plaques looked great.  Even the women who never craft and usually hate how their projects turn out liked doing this project.  The best part was that this project was simple to explain and easy to do so we were able to chat and relax while we made them.  We ended up with a fun memorabilia from the retreat, and yes, we finished this project in 30 minutes.

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