Easy DIY Project - Updating Keepsakes - Laura Sosa

Easy DIY Project - Updating Keepsakes

Years ago my mother gave me this "Ina May" sign. It was my great-grandmothers and her father had made it for her by hand when she was a little girl. I don't get sentimental about many things, I view most things as the objects they are and pretty disposable. But things like this tug at my heart strings and I want to keep them forever.

When my mom gave it to me, it was a brownish-black background color and the letters were an elementary school yellow. She told me I could paint it with some fresh colors and it would be like new! Well... I was about 15 or 16 when she gave it to me, and boy did I paint it with some fresh colors. Let's just say I didn't quite have an eye for design, color, DIY projects, anything in that arena.

I'm not a boastful woman, but I'd say my decorators eye has improved drastically in the last decade and a half. And I had been "hiding" this sign away because of the *cough* awful design colors I did as a teenager. On a whim, I decided it needed a face lift so I could proudly display it once again.

The above photos show what I did when I did the "teenager" version of a facelift. What you can't really see in the photos is the abundance of glitter on the creamy white background. Oy.

The very first thing I did was take off the ribbon I was using to hang up the sign. Next, I took this all-wood piece outside and began to use the electric sander to sand down the glitter and paint. I say glitter first, because there was a lot. (Note, be sure to wear safety glasses when sanding!).

As I was sanding this down, I realized that the name was beginning to come off the board. It hadn't occurred to me before to try and take it off. I figured it's been on there for 70+ years probably, so it wasn't an option. But it was beginning to loosen and with some gentle prying I was able to remove it. This was actually hugely beneficial as I was much better able to sand it down.

After I sanded it with the electric sander for a bit, I knew I needed to get in the crevices with a hand block sander. It didn't take long to smooth it all out with that since the electric sander had already done most of the work.

Once I was done sanding it down, I then primed it. I put 2 coats of the primer on (c'mon I need it with all the glitter!) and I knew I needed to cover up that black paint really well. I like to get old boxes or pieces of flat cardboard and paint in the grass. It makes for easy clean-up and I can usually (USUALLY) keep the project away from the little fingers that roam around my house.

I'm a very impatient person when it comes to projects. In other words, I want everything to be done NOW. But I knew that between the hot desert sun, the kids needing a snack, and the quick dry primer I bought, it wouldn't be long before I was painting.

Once that was dry, I threw on a couple coats of semi-gloss white paint on the small board. I chose a white background so the name would pop and I could add a bit of texture and modern design to it. I would say my house is heading in the direction of modern-farmhouse with the designs, colors, sleekness, etc. I'm drawn too and in the process of changing over too.

So like I said, I chose colors for this based on what matches most of my house. The name I spray painted a gunmetal gray (it looks more goldy-gray in the photo but it's not). I love gray, as it is so sleek and matches with everything. I also felt like it made the name look bold and proud, iron clad and strong, something my great-grandmother absolutely was. I wanted to look at the sign and not only see her beauty, but her strength as a woman as well.

On a side note, you might see some smudges on the name from the paint and that's where my 3 year old decided to come over and man-handle it when I had my back turned for about 2 seconds. Remember when I said I can USUALLY keep little fingers away from my projects? Between his smudges and my lack of project patience, I just fixed it the best I could hoping my Grandma B. as we call her was looking down and giggling at my gorgeous son and his constant need to "destruct" things.

After the paint was nearly dry, I placed the stencil on top. I say nearly (about 95% dry) because I wanted a slight stickiness to help hold the stencil in place. I laid the stencil at an intended angle just to give it a little more dimension and design. After pressing down on it to ensure paint wouldn't seep through and taping the sides, I sprayed it with the dark teal and left it to dry. Now you might see a small amount of smudge in the teal paint in the top right corner, and that's because a huge gust of wind came as it was in the very beginning stages of drying and moved the stencil slightly. (Note to self, when you live in the desert do stencil projects IN the garage with the door open to prevent that from happening again).

After the paint had a chance to dry, I removed the stencil and reattached the name. I thought about saving it to re-do it all since my son had smudged the paint on the name and the wind had caused the stencil to shift slightly as it was still wet. But then I thought about how much I can love imperfections in things even though I am a crazy perfectionist. It's almost as if things like this bring me down from my perfectionist world when I look at them and make me realize that even in the most imperfect things we can still find absolute beauty.

Ideally, I will have this sign in the office I will have one day, as it matches my desk and decor perfectly. I can picture it on a white bookshelf, surrounded by picture frames, a couple candles, and an owl figurine. But the colors I chose flow throughout my house, so I knew I could pick a spot to put it anywhere right now.

Who knows, I may change the colors again one day now that I know how easy it is, but for now it's bold and it stands out, and that's what I really like about it. Love you Grandma B.! Thanks for being my guardian angel.

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