DIY Holiday Wood Yard Decorations
This DIY Tutorial Is Complete and I hope it helps you create beautiful holiday pieces, and other unique projects this DIY can be applied too.
For years my sister always purchased beautiful yard decorations like these for every holiday. Spending an obscene amount of money on each one. Taking months to be made and then shipped. Having them arrive damaged due to poor packaging and/or shipping carriers. She would make comments, or ask me if I would ever make these. I have my hands full with what I currently handcraft was always my reply. This year, after her last experience that required my help in fixing the sign she received, I finally gave in and decided that I would help her out. In the process I’ll make myself a couple somethings and decided it’s time to help others who are interested in saving money, or who may just be looking to add a new fun project to their week.
Just in time for the holidays!
Items To Have:
- Projector (Can also be free drawn)
- Killz Primer (Kills 2 Multi Surface or Killz Severe Weather)
- Exterior Paint In The Colors Needed (See note below)
- Paint Pens (I like Sharpie Oil Based Paint Pens in jumbo)
- Paint Brushes
- Jig Saw (Or Router if you prefer)
- Jig Saw Scroll Saw Blade (For the detail cuts)
- Clear Polycrylic Spray Paint
- Wood - optional types mentioned below.
Wood Options - Keeping in mind all these gets sealed with many coats of primer, exterior paint and a sealer you can choose your preference of medium from the list below.
You can use metal, or corrugated board if you prefer, but wood is my medium of choice. When selecting wood you can’t go wrong but some of these will last longer, or require more prep work then others. I am using the MDF Premium. It is smooth and tightly pressed not allowing for as much moisture to get into the wood naturally. Regular MDF and Plywood requires some sanding prep work (you will need to sand with a low grit paper (60-80) and then smooth it with a high grit sand paper for finishing (240+).
Paint Options: Exterior paint will not require sealer. If you are able to strictly use exterior paint from start to finish you will not need to seal your sign. However, in my case I will seal it due to the paint pen of choice, Sharpie Oil Based Paint Pens.
I have used a lot of different paint in my line of work, but they are not created equal, and some are better suited for certain jobs then others. Since we are priming the board we can save on how much paint we use, and we won’t need to use the most expensive paints on the market. I really like both the Behr and Valspar brands. I personally use the Seasonflex in Tintable Satin from Lowe’s, but I am using a lot of Behr Paints as well. You can use any brand, even Apple Barrel Multi Surface if you’re sealing your sign. Just don’t forget that typically you won’t want to mix water and oil based. Both Valspar, and Behr are water based acryclic paints. Killz primer is designed for either water or oil based so just let it dry completely before using water based paint and you will be fine. The paint pens I use are also oil based, and work perfect with no cracking, but there are other options out there if you prefer.
Step 1: Set Up
If you are free drawing your design, you can skip this step.
If like me you decide to trace your design you will want to set up your projector. Every projector works a little different so play with yours prior to this project so you can quickly and easily set yours up. I bought a cheap one off Amazon. Side Note: It’s been a huge hit for backyard movies with the kids as well.
This doesn’t need to be any fancy set up, as shown in my own image below.
Step 2: Outline Only
Some people prefer to paint their boards prior to drawing out their first outline to cut. Due to the weight of the full sheet of wood and to save on paint I will paint after we have cut out the initial outline.
You will want to situate the design on the board to the size you want your sign to be. I want mine to be 6’ tall by 4’ wide. Once we have it exactly how we want it, we trace the images outline only. Use a pencil. If you use a sharpie or other pen you will have to be sure to primer well to hide these so they don’t bleed through your paint and show on your beautiful sign.
Step 3: Cut It Out
Now you have your outline, you can now cut this out using a jigsaw or router. I’m using a jigsaw with a scroll blade. If you have cut outs in the middle of your sign just drill a hole or two to allow your blade to get in between this section of the board.
Step 4: Primer
In this step I am painting the front in the White Killz Primer. If you have done this you can skip this portion of step 4. Let it dry 4 hours.
Next you will paint the backside, and the edges in black exterior paint. I am using the Seasonflex Exterior because it also has a mildew protection in it. Black absorbs color, so when it’s outside it won’t reflect light onto other parts of your yard or decor. We also paint this to protect the wood so it will last many years.
Let thoroughly dry for 2-4 hours.
I like to use a foam paint brush for the sides so I don’t get any on the front white portion, and better control on the sides, but this is completely your preference.
Step 5: Details
Now we will trace the details onto the front. This is creating our coloring canvas like a page from a paint by number coloring book. Make sure to take the time and realign your image to perfectly match up with the cut out. Make sure this is in pencil.
Now your ready for the really fun part.
Step 6: Paint by Number Style
Now we paint. You can use your artistic style here painting to copy the original, or change it up and use your color choices. You will color each area. Don’t worry about the detail lines yet. This comes later. Use whichever brushes your most comfortable with. I use a variety of size and styles. I keep a brush on hand for every color I’ll be using, and a cup of water nearbye. I paint each section by color type. Example, I do all the black first, then all the pink, then all the pale pink, etc.
Step 7 Details Details
Once you have finished painting in the colors of the design your making it will look rather boring or plain, missing something. That’s why this simple step will make a night and day difference. See photos below.
I prefer to use a paint pen, I like the Sharpie brand Jumbo Oil Based Pen, I have no issues using it over the acryclic water based paint as long as it is fully dry. I now trace all my pencil markings or free hand where the paint fully covers the markings. If you can’t free hand, no problem, simply set the projector back up and trace those details on. Lastly, I trace around the entire design along the edge. This gives it a crisp, clean look. This is the most important step because it makes the image truly POP! You can choose to use a paint brush, but I only recommend this if you have a study hand and are handy with a brush, because the lines need to be crisp and clean.
Step 8 (Optional): Weatherproof
Now, if you used the Killz primer, and completely used exterior paint you really don’t need to seal this if you don’t wish. I seal everything I put outdoors to be safe after all that work, so it lasts a lifetime. This step would need to be repeated every year or two if you want it to last a lifetime.
I like to use Minwax Polycrylic Spray Sealer. It is as simple as coating the design in a nice even coat, and letting it fully dry. Follow the directions on the can. This can be bought at any national housewares store (such as Lowe’s or Home Depot)
Now you have completed your project and can sit back and enjoy the beautiful piece of decor you created to celebrate the holiday or seasons. Enjoy!
Note: We are not selling these, nor are we making any financial gain off this DIY Tutorial. We are not endorsing any particular brand, the brands mentioned where just what was used for this project. We were not compisated for recommending these brands. We are not affiliated in any way with any of the brands, or licensed trademark companies. This is for personal use only.