How to Make a Driftwood Sign with Lyrics

I'm sharing the tutorial for a DIY driftwood sign, not only how to create a driftwood plank look with brand new wood, but also how to add the lyrics to the sign.

driftwood sign
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When I shared my office and craft room reveal with you recently, you may have noticed this custom sign hanging on the wall.

You've probably heard the song Oceans by Hillsong United. Every single word in it is a reminder of how much God loves me, and how He cares for me. It inspires me to call on God when I'm feeling like a situation is out of my control; to be at rest when my mind and soul are going a million directions; to trust when I'm afraid. If you've never heard it, you can listen to it here.

I knew I wanted to find a way to include some of these lyrics in my home office.

I had an empty frame that I scored from the thrift store for just a couple bucks. I had been using it to frame a chalkboard and you might remember seeing it when I shared a burlap printable for fall.


I decided this would be the base of my DIY sign, so I painted the frame white. My office has lots of beach-y blues, as well as texture from various baskets, an antique window, and more. Beach-y blues remind me of driftwood and I decided to create a driftwood sign and frame it with my empty frame.

Here's how I made this rustic driftwood sign.



Directions for Creating a Driftwood Sign

Let me say right from the get-go that this project was fairly complicated.

Not the driftwood part, that was easy. However, I had a few craft fails with the lettering. First I cut it out too small, then I accidentally folded the vinyl upon itself and it stuck, ruining the letters. Aaargh! It was not going well, but I persevered and am so happy with the way it turned out! Some projects are just like that, right?!

Step 1

I purchased a 2' x 4' piece of pine plywood from Lowes (just under $10). I could have left it in one piece, but I wanted the look of weathered paneling so we had them cut it into pieces for us right there in the store. When I got it home, I sanded all the edges and top with my palm sander so they were nice and smooth.

raw pine

Step 2

I mixed the two wood stains together to create a color I loved, and wiped the stain onto each wood piece with a rag. You can use a stain straight from the can or bottle, I just took an extra step to create a rich color I was happy with.


Step 3

When the stain was dry, I dry-brushed some white chalk paint across each piece of wood. If you haven't done this before, it's easy.


Dip the tips of your brush in paint, then wipe most of it off on the edge of the paint can. Further remove paint by brushing across a paper towel a couple times. Now it's ready to take to your wood. The nearly dry paint on your brush will keep produce visible brush strokes, giving a distressed look with some of the wood showing through. Swipe your brush across the wood in long strokes. Apply more paint as needed.

dry brush over stain

Step 4

Attach wood pieces together to create one solid sign. I didn't get good pictures of this step because Mr DIY did it for me! He used wood glue to glue long wood shims across the backs of the cut pine, perpendicular, making sure the shims crossed each piece of pine. Because he had no way to clamp the shims, he set bricks on top while it all dried. The result is solid and smooth.

create sign

Step 5

With all 5 pieces glued together, I lightly sanded the sign smooth. Next I added a gray wash to soften the whites and blend all the layers of color together. I simply added some water to some leftover gray paint, mixed it well, then dipped a wet rag into the paint and rubbed it into the wood. I did two coats, which gave me the weathered look I was after! If you add too much paint, just wipe it off with a clean wet rag!

DIY gray wash


DIY driftwood technique

Step 6

Now that my driftwood sign was ready, I created my lyrics in PicMonkey (set the page dimensions to the size of your project for a foolproof - and mathless - way to measure). I uploaded the saved jpg into my Silhouette machine, adjusted the sizing and cut it out. I had to make three separate cuts because the sign is bigger than the paper that would fit through my die cut machine. If you need more help with this step, please email me separately!

create stencil

Step 7

After removing the letters, I taped my templates to my driftwood board and then applied black acrylic paint with a stencil brush. You want to be careful you don't add too much paint. Pounce a lot of the paint off before taking it to your project. If you don't, the excess will seep under the stencil and your edges won't be sharp (trust me, I learned this the hard way - you can see a couple letters below that bled!)

paint stencil

Step 8

Once the letters dried, I stapled my driftwood sign into my frame using one of my most-loved tools, my Power Shot staple gun. The heavy duty staples ensure that my projects stay put!

staple sign to frame

DIY driftwood sign with song lyrics

I love the warm texture that the driftwood adds to my office!

driftwood sign

And I know I'm going to love reading those inspiring Oceans lyrics while I'm working at my desk!

inspiring sign

home office craft room

A driftwood finish is not that difficult to achieve! It's basically adding layers of paint to get depth, warmth and character. I hope you decide to try this project!

Adding a driftwood finish to a white piece of furniture is easy as well, the steps are just different. You can view my driftwood painted nightstand here for the full tutorial!

Learn how to give new wood a distressed, driftwood makeover! I'm sharing the tutorial for my DIY driftwood sign created from pine planks, as well as how to add lyrics. You'll find the tutorial at diy beautify!

Are you ready to bring a little DIY driftwood into your home??

Disclosure: I'm a DecoArt Blogger and some of the paint in this project was supplied by DecoArt.

In other news: Congratulations to Kristin, who won the Delta In2ition Showerhead!!

bringing beauty to the ordinary,

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This blog's content is for entertainment purposes only and is not professional advice. By reading this blog and attempting to recreate any content shared on it, you assume all responsibility for any injuries or damages incurred. Read my full disclaimer here.


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