Distressed Christmas Signs

Hi everyone! It is such a pleasure to be visiting here today at Practically Functional! My name is Jamie and I blog at anderson + grant sharing my passion for creating and designing. Transforming your home does not have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time, and I enjoy finding unique projects and ideas to share with my readers to help them make the best out of what they have. I’d love to have you stop by and see the projects and inspiration that I post on my blog!

Are you as excited about the approaching Christmas holiday as I am? It is really a magical time of the year and is my favorite season for decorating. Finding ways to make my home warm and cozy is very important. A simple throw over the arm of a sofa or the smell of gingerbread coffee brewing in the kitchen make a house inviting to your guests and enjoyable for yourself. I’m a big fan of things that look worn and old and try to incorporate that into a lot of my creations and decor.

Create perfectly distressed Christmas signs or artwork using this easy tutorial!

Today I’m sharing an easy project for making some rustic and distressed art for your Christmas walls. This project looks a little complicated because of multiple steps requiring different coats of paint to dry. But is is quite simple and doesn’t take much actual working time at all to create.

Ready to learn how to create art work like this yourself?


Distressed Christmas Signs

Here’s what you need for this project:

  • Boards with routered edges (The number of boards you need will depend on the word that you want to spell)
  • Wood stain (These were stained with American Walnut from Rustoleum)
  • White, Tan, and Charcoal colored paint (I used Fusion Mineral Paint in Casement, Bedford, and Ash)
  • Clear candle
  • Painter’s tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Carbon Paper
  • D-hooks or sawtooth hooks for each board

Someone gave me these boards already cut with a rounded edge. If you are handy with power tools, you may be able to make ones like this yourself. Cut and routered boards are also available at any craft store.

Since I was given four boards, I chose to spell the word NOEL, and hung my signs in a square. For your project, you can create any word (for any season) that you’d like. You could hang them in a row vertically or horizontally, or even just lean them staggered on a shelf!

Distressed Christmas Signs - Boards
If your boards are new or bare wood, you’ll want to stain them first so that the distressing doesn’t reveal light colored wood. Older wood may not need to be stained.

Rub a clear wax candle over the corners and edges of your board. This will allow the dark layer of paint to chip away and reveal the stained wood below when you sand the final product.

Paint the entire board in a dark charcoal colored paint.

Distressed Christmas Signs - Paint

When that coat of paint is dry, use the candle to once again rub over the edges and anywhere you want to see the charcoal paint showing through when the white is distressed.

Use painter’s tape to mark off the square space that needs to be painted. This step is optional if you are really good at painting a straight line, but is worth the little bit of extra time it takes in my opinion. Paint enough coats of white paint to get a complete finish. (It took three of the Fusion brand paint.)

Then I dry brushed a little bit of the tan colored paint around the edges of the white paint. This gives the finished look a bit more dimension and age after everything is sanded.

While the coats of white paint are drying, you can sketch out the letters to transfer onto your boards. You may be most comfortable designing letters on a computer. I decided to sketch mine out using a ruler for straight lines.

Christmas art - distressing

When the last coat of white is dry, transfer these letters onto your boards by using carbon paper under your sketch.

Paint the letters with the charcoal paint. Don’t worry too much about painting your letters perfectly. The beauty of distressing is that it hides all the minor imperfections in what you paint.

When the letters are completely dry, use heavy grit sandpaper to heavily distress the boards and painted letters. I wanted my signs to look as though they had been weathered and aged over many years.

Distressed Christmas Art

Attach a D-hook or saw tooth hook to the back of each board for hanging. Both types are available at hardware stores, craft stores, or places like Target.

Distressed Christmas Sign
And now your project is done and ready to be used for decorating your home!

This is the type of craft that can be completely customized according to your style and decor. While I did mine in a neutral black and white theme, you could paint yours in any color that you’d like. If a distressed look isn’t your thing, skip that step and leave your paint looking neat and clean. Use plain slab boards rather than ones with the rounded edges. And as I mentioned earlier, you can paint any word that you’d like, and find a unique way to hang the letters on the wall.

Distressed Christmas Artwork
Distressed Christmas Signs
The most important part of making anything is that you enjoy the process of creating, and incorporate the style and techniques that you enjoy and are comfortable with.

So, put on some Christmas music, brew yourself a cup of that gingerbread coffee, and get crafting! Let your own passions and style guide you through creating some custom art for your space.

Distressed Christmas Artwork
Thank you so much for letting me share with you today. If you’d like to see more projects for decorating and crafting this holiday season, you can find all of my Christmas projects here. I’ve got a lot of exciting things planned for the next month including a house tour on November 30 that you won’t want to miss!

In addition to following my blog, you can keep up with what is happening at anderson + grant on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. Have a wonderful day!

Want to share this tutorial with your friends? Just click any of the share buttons on the left to share with Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.!

If you liked this project, check out these other simple Christmas projects!

Jessi Wohlwend

I believe that anyone can do crafts and DIY projects, regardless of skill or experience. I love sharing simple craft ideas, step by step DIY project tutorials, cleaning hacks, and other tips and tricks all with one goal in mind: giving you the tools you need to “do it yourself”, complete fun projects, and make awesome things!

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