Katie Stahl of View From the Fridge created this DIY lighted sign to decorate a Halloween party, hence the “BOO” message. But you can create a sign like this for any occasion. The lighted sign could read HO HO HO for Christmas, for instance. The sign measures a whopping 54 x 40, so it’s quite dramatic, too.
It’s a pretty easy project using some wooden boards, a canvas drop cloth and some holiday lights.
Just follow Katie’s step-by-step tutorial.
DIY Lighted Sign Tutorial
- 2 — 1-in. x 6-in. x 8-ft. Common Boards. I wanted this sign to look a bit rustic, and therefore common boards were just fine for this project. If you want a more precise (less rustic) look, you may want to go for using some of the “select boards.”
- Varathane Stain + Poly in Kona (leftover from our DIY Entryway Bench)
- Miter Saw (if you don’t have a miter saw, you could also accomplish these cuts with a hand saw and miter box).
- Canvas Drop Cloth cut to ~50 x 34 (enough to cover the inside of your sign)
- Letter Stencils for the word BOO (or, you can just free hand this part if you don’t have stencils on hand).
- Black Craft Paint (or paint of any kind, really) for the letters.
- Kreg Pocket Hole System (which includes jig, drill bit, square bit, and Kreg screws).
- Kreg Face Clamp
- Staple Gun
- String of Halloween Lights
- D-rings for Hanging Frame
Step 1: Cut your wood
First, make your 45-degree cuts using your miter saw. I cut two pieces with the long (outside) edge 54″ long, and 2 pieces with the long (outside) edge 40″ long.
Step 2: Stain your wood
Next, sand and stain your pieces. Since I went with the rustic look, I didn’t do any sanding and just dove right into the staining.
For my sign, I ended up using two coats of stain+poly and let them dry overnight.
While these were drying overnight, I stenciled my drop cloth and allowed it to also dry overnight. See Step 4 below.
Step 3: Build the frame
Now put the frame together using your Kreg Jig, and some staples.
Grab your Kreg Jig and drill bit and set to the appropriate dimensions (in our case, ¾-in. since this is the ACTUAL thickness of a 1 x 6).
Next, clamp your Jig to one end of the 45 degree cuts you made on the longer pieces. Once secure, drill two pocket holes.
Do this on both sides of both long frame pieces.
Next, grab your shorter pieces, set in place so corners align, and drive two screws into your pocket holes to secure boards together.
Do this on all four corners.
For added stability, I also drove in several staples along each corner seam using a staple gun.
Step 4: Stencil “BOO” onto your canvas drop cloth
While the stain on the boards was drying overnight, I stenciled the word BOO onto the center of my piece of canvas drop cloth and allowed it to dry overnight.
Step 5: Add lights
Using a staple gun, carefully secure lights to the back of your frame along the inside edge. Make sure the staple straddles the cord (rather than going through it).
Be mindful of where you place the plug (preferably on one of the lower corners) to make attaching an extension cord easier.
Step 6: Add canvas backing
Next, attach your ‘BOO’ canvas to the back of your sign … behind the lights. Make sure to first center the word, then pull the canvas taut as you staple it in place on the back of your frame.
Step 7: Add D-rings and hang!!
Finally, attach your D-rings to your frame.
Be mindful of where the studs are in the wall you’re hanging your sign on. Our studs were at 24-in. centers, but slightly off-center. I hung the two D-rings 48-in. apart on the back of the frame, but closer to one side instead of being centered to allow me to hang it in the center of my bench.
The sign is perfect for a festive party, hides the ugly side of the shed. When Halloween is over, I can just remove the lights and BOO canvas and replace it with a more year-round friendly sign. I’ll either use another piece of stenciled drop cloth or painted and stenciled plywood.
See more of this patio decorated for a Halloween party here on The Home Depot Blog.
Katie Stahl and her husband, Matt, live just outside of Minneapolis with their three little boys. Katie is always looking for ways to be a more creative, healthy, and happy mom, and shares what she has learned along the way over at View From The Fridge.