DIY Christmas Sign and Tips for Choosing Joy

I'm sharing how to make an easy and inexpensive DIY fence board Christmas sign with or without a Silhouette or Cricut machine and some personal tips on choosing joy this holiday season.

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Now that Thanksgiving is over and the Christmas festivities are in full swing, I'll be sharing all my Christmas home decor, ideas and projects with you.

This easy DIY Christmas sign is made from an old fence could use a new one, but old ones are perfectly weathered and free! Free brings me JOY! So do Christmas songs! Songs like 'Joy to the World', and 'O Holy Night' remind me what Christmas is truly all about.

Sure, I love Santa and decorations and lights and all the fun activities that surround Christmas, but it's also important to find some time to slow down and prepare your heart and just think about Jesus. If we can make Jesus the center of the holidays, our hearts will be filled with joy!

Some of us struggle to find joy during the holiday season. 

Do you believe that you can experience joy even during difficult circumstances? When nothing is going right and your life is a mess? Or there's sickness. Or you're grieving. Or (fill in the blank).

For me personally, while I love the holiday season, it can also be a time of great sadness and even loneliness. In my 29 years of marriage, I have never lived in the same city as family. Our family celebrates most holidays alone.

We just returned from being with Mr DIY's family over Thanksgiving (the first time we've seen them in a year!) and while it was wonderful and filled my cup, there is the tendency to feel some sorrow as I anticipate a Christmas season spent without the extended family that I grew up with.

My parents have both passed on, and my family lives far away in Canada. We don't get to do life together, and that can be hard. It can steal my joy if I let it!

The truth is that JOY isn't a feeling, it's a choice! I can choose joy even when my heart is hurting. I can choose to feel joy even when I'm lonely and missing family.

How do you choose joy?

I'll be the first to admit that choosing joy in the midst of difficult circumstances isn't easy and it certainly doesn't come naturally! While there are so many things to celebrate during the Christmas season that make me smile and bring happiness, truly feeling joy in my heart comes with concentrated effort.

Here are 5 ways to choose joy this holiday season

  1. Take the focus off your circumstances If you are constantly focusing on what isn't going right, you'll never be able to get to the place where you feel joy in your spirit
  2. Be intentional Turn that frown upside down! It's helpful to keep a daily gratitude journal or speak your blessings out loud when you're feeling down. Choosing joy takes some work but it's so worth it!
  3. Remember the good times but make new memories Whether you enjoy looking back through old photographs or watching family movies or just sharing memories, do that. But don't stop there. Create new memories and traditions, even if you're all alone!
  4. Give to others The act of service always lifts the spirits. Find some ways that you can serve others this holiday season, whether it's visiting a retirement home and spending time with older folks, or serving homeless in a soup kitchen.
  5. Fill your mind with positive thoughts Listen to uplifting music, choose not to dwell on unhappy or toxic thoughts, spend time reading God's love letter to you (the Bible).
Philippians 4:8  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

It's always helpful to read the story of Jesus' birth in Luke 2:1-20. The circumstances surrounding Jesus' birth were far from pleasant and perfect!
  • Mary got pregnant while engaged to her fiancé Joseph - talk about awkward!
  • they had to travel hundreds of miles to their birth place while Mary was ready to give birth - I'm sure it was an uncomfortable trip for them both!
  • they couldn't use an Uber or call ahead and book an Airbnb - no modern luxuries!
  • they were dependent on the kindness of a stranger, who put them up in his smelly stable, where Mary ended up giving birth - no doula or midwife by her side!

Jesus, who would grow up to be the Savior of the world, was born into these less than pleasant circumstances. Now I have a couple personal birth stories that are far from perfect, but nothing that rivals what Mary and Joseph experienced!

Despite his less than ideal birth story, Jesus' birth brought JOY to the world...not just for a day or a week...but for eternity! If you're not a Christ-follower and would like to know more, please send me an email. I'd love to talk to you about how Jesus' love has changed my life!

DIY Christmas sign from a fence board

As I was planning on how to add Christmas decor to my front porch, I got the idea for this sign. I love Christmas music, but the songs that bring a tear to my eye are the ones that focus on Jesus. On his birth. The Joy He brought to the world. I think about how different our world would be without Jesus.

I wanted to create an easy and inexpensive sign that declared JOY TO THE WORLD and was easy to make, whether you own a Silhouette or Cricut machine or not! Here's what you'll need to create this DIY Christmas sign.


*If you don't own a die-cut machine, it's still very easy to create this sign. Just follow the instructions in this post to transfer printed letters to your sign board

Step 1: sand board

Start by sanding your fence board. I like a smooth surface along the top, bottom, edges and even the back so that I don't wind up with splinters!

Step 2: paint board

Paint board with 2 coats of red paint. I used acrylic paint but you could also use chalk paint or even leftover house paint! Use what you have on hand.

The fence board has grooves that have naturally weathered over time. I was careful to get a good coat of red, but didn't paint in all the grooves so that it looked more weathered.

Step 3: prepare stencil

I wanted my sign to read JOY TO THE WORLD but you can choose whatever saying you like. I created my words in PicMonkey to the exact size of my board, then uploaded it into my Silhouette design studio and cut it out. I'm sharing a free pdf of my sign further down if you want to use that.

You don't need a die-cut machine to make a sign! If you don't have one, you can use pre-cut stencils or just use your printer and make a stencil onto copy paper. I share detailed instructions for making your own stencil in this post. I made my own DIY signs for years using this method and it always worked out.

Step 4: arrange and paint letters on sign board

If you're using copy paper, be sure to use some painter's tape to secure your letters to the board so they don't shift while you're painting them.

Grab your stencil brush and have your white paint ready. Dip the tips of your brush into the paint and dab off a little before taking it to the board. Paint in an up and down pouncing motion and always work from the outside of the letters to the inside. This will ensure you get nice clean lines.

Also, this is a weathered sign so don't be too worried about completely filling in the letters to perfection! A little of the background showing through looks just fine.

Step 5: add shadows

To really add dimension to the sign and make the letters look like they're popping off the board, add shadows with the black paint and the fine precision brush. You can see the difference this makes.

Once your sign is painted, let it dry and then hang it up. Mr DIY used a couple of small nails to secure the sign above our front door.

I love the bright color (red is my happy Christmas color) and how great this DIY Christmas sign looks on our front porch. I'm sharing the full tour of our porch, including some DIY wired ribbon that I made, in a few days!

Find all my Christmas DIYs in one place right here!

As always, I appreciate any shares, Pins, comments and more! Send this to a friend who you know loves to craft.

(note: you'll need to resize it to stretch out and fill your fence board)

Pin it to remember

bringing beauty to the ordinary,


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  1. Oh, Cindy! I am so sorry about your feelings of sadness and I do understand. I'm not great with words at all...but, I am sending hugs and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers over the holidays (really!). xo Also, I love your Christmas sign. It is perfection.

    1. Thanks so much Mary Beth, just trying to be authentic and offer hope to others who are struggling! Thanks for your kindness ❤

  2. Thanks for such good instructions! Love the rustic look.

  3. I enjoyed this post. I too love the Christmas season as a chance to celebrate the birth of our Savior and I like the way you presented His story. Hugs to you as you celebrate away from your extended family. I hope you are able to FaceTime or connect over the phone with them at some point this Christmas.
    I also want to say thanks for making this DIY project sound so doable. Too often I get overwhelmed and never try to make these projects for myself.

    1. Thank you Mel, I appreciate your kind words! I hope you have a blessed and joy-filled holiday season! I'm so glad this project seems doable for you, I hope you try it!


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