Houseware Crafts, Tips and Resources, Tutorials, Use What You've Got Projects

Easy DIY Vintage Sign and a Pie Distraction

There were big plans.  Big, organized, stay-on-schedule PLANS!

I made a bunch of frames for Further Adventures in Spite Crafting.

I was gonna get all of them done and present you with a Spite Extravaganza!

And it was to be glorious!

But then I thought, “all this organized productivity is super.  Why don’t you throw a wrench in it?!”

So I did!


Please meet Pie.

For years friends have been saying, and I have been agreeing, that I should get a dog.

I just never quite got around to doing it until, well, now.

He’s from a shelter of course.

(he wears the “Cone of Shame” due to a slight, um….adjustment he experienced before I could bring him home.  Please don’t tell him about it)

He’s  a stray with no known history. They think he’s between 1 and 2 years old.  A mini pinscher mix.

Crazy sweet-natured.

If you sit anywhere near him he curls up in your lap.

This has caused a slow-down in production but a decided uptick in happiness!

However,  I did get around to a bit of my plan – just not the glorious, overwhelming part (stay tuned.  I’m totally sure that’s coming).

I really liked the look of the Spite Photo Display (the link will give you the full tutorial on how I made it)but, being just relentlessly me, I just felt it needed……wait for it!……OK, say it along with me……TEXT!  GRAPHICS!!!!!

Crazy idea right?  You never saw it coming.

I’ll give you a moment to compose yourself and we’ll resume.

I played around a bit, mixing and matching from the supply of images I’ve done previously – just to see how it would look.

And I liked it and thought I’d do another.

This one would have a solid back (rather than the slats) so I came up with a simple, black and white design.

I reversed it, printed it out on my laser printer.

The backer was a scrap piece of Luan Plywood that I had painted with basic white acrylic paint and allowed to dry thorougly.

I applied the printed  image using the Polycrylic Transfer Technique (again, the link will give you the basics of how to do it – so easy!)

And, after letting it dry overnight rubbed away the paper with a damp cloth.

This technique works almost too well if, like me, you’re going for a vintage look.  

I needed it to be much more distressed and faded.

In the past I’d tried sanding it which was fine but always looked sorta, well, sanded rather than actually aged.

So this time I went back in and, with the same damp cloth, rubbed again, fairly hard, but across the grain of the wood.

Much better!

And just before I put it together (using just some wood glue and pin nails to attach it to the frame) I had a last minute idea to paint the inside and outside of my white frame black.

(You should have seen the precarious, silly, set up I made to take that picture.  It involved bricks, a cardboard box and fishing line….I had to snap all the pics super-fast before it fell over.  I’m terrible at this “vignette” thing that everyone else seems to do so well.)

My intention was that this would be another photo holder.  The design would serve to make it look good whether or not you had photos to hang.

But is it just me or is a Camera Shop Sign photo holder a bit too…… on the nose?

I’m thinking maybe instead I should put hooks or something on the bottom and make it a key holder or some such thing.


  • If you wanted to do this yourself any thrift store frame would work.
  • I used latex paint for the backer and milk-paint for the frame.  I’m loving milk paint and it would have worked for the backer as well – I just had the latex handy
  • I did a quick hand-sanding of the frame after I painted it just to give it a bit of distress to match the sign.
  • If your image is too large to print on your own you can break it down into pieces and assemble it like a jigsaw puzzle or (easier) take it to a copy shop and have them print it out.  Plain copy paper works great.  Nothing fancy needed.
  • The backer could be anything sturdy enough to handle the paint and the damp-cloth rubbing.

OK, Pie needs a walk.

I actually think that, far from messing up my schedule, Pie may actually force me to be on a much better structured schedule.  Good stuff!


18 thoughts on “Easy DIY Vintage Sign and a Pie Distraction”

  1. Who doesn’t love pie? How big is he? Sorry, but a Min-Pin? Have you seen a Min-Pin?
    The camera framed piece is great… you are much too hard on yourself! I don’t take the best photos but my trick is to lay a piece of beadboard flat on the floor and then my sign lays on it’s back on top of it, along with other props.

    1. He’s about 22 lbs. Little guy.
      The shelter said he was a min-pin mix. Could be beagle, could be rottweiler, dachshund….basically, mom had a reputation if you know what I mean.
      I like the idea of min-pin. because when I take him to have his toenails clipped the mini-pini will get a manni-pedi.
      I also like the idea for your photos! Smart!

  2. As soon as I saw Pie thought he was Rottweiler, his Mom must have really gotten around. He has such a sweet face, must love you to pieces for taking him home. They are so grateful to be loved and taken care of, be part of your family, even if family is just two of you.
    Our dog is a rescue, got him at 1 yr. approx. He had been at 4 other shelters. He’s black lab/ border collie, what a personality and so smart, like a person.
    We were on our way to pet adoption fair when our grand daughter called to say she had found our dog for us. He wasn’t exactly what we were looking for but so glad we took him. He’s now over 8 yrs. old and can’t imagine where the time has gone.
    We also have an approx. 15 yr.old orange striped cat who showed up in our back yard in KY one Saturday afternoon, made it obvious he was staying. Since I love orange stripe cats That was ok. he is so wonderful also, hard to see him getting older. Also have 4 chickens given to us. Had 5 but one died few weeks ago. Altho didn’t like her habits, mean, cried over her, am nut for animals.
    When our kids were growing up I was one who kept bringing puppies and kittens home. The kids would say, “oh Mom, not another one.” My Mother in law once told me I loved our dog (was mini black cocker at time) more than I loved my kids and they were grown up by then.
    Sorry I digress. Love your sign and talent making it and the frame. Is one of my favorite things to make once I figured out how to do letter spacing, duh!. We used to live in San Diego areas, for 21 yrs. til we moved to 20 acres in MT for 7 yrs.. Have lived in KY (5 yrs.) after that and now western Co since Aug/2004), few miles west of Grand Junction. Hubs says we’re too old to move again.
    Will print out your tutorials for sign so I can maybe get better at it. Do you sell your signs or enjoy them in your own home? If you don’t sell your signs will be surprised.
    Hope you had wonderful Easter

    1. wow! that’s a lot of moving around – you have truly seen the country. I had, in my minds-eye, pictured getting lab of some sort – Pie kinda took me by surprise (and yes he’s very rottweilery looking I agree).
      If you do do some signs send pics! I will (try to) sell the ones I’m working on now at upcoming, in-person handmade shows and fairs. I always use those to sell, along with coasters, the more one-off, unique stuff that I don’t want to either mass-produce or struggle with shipping.

  3. Congrats on becoming a proud papa! Your life will change (for the better) in ways you could have never imagined. And very soon, you will forget what life was like before Pie. And really who can live without pie! Perfect name. LOVE the camera sign. Please, please, no hooks, no twine, it’s a fabulous piece of art all on its own.

  4. Congratulations on Pie!!! Love all the ways you can use the name in a funny way, “Who doesn’t love pie?” Cute. Tell us more about how you named him. Someone once said, “If you want structure and routine in your life, get a dog.” So true. They keep you on track and can tell time better than an atomic clock. Our adopted dog, Sophie, was from a shelter also. She is the light of our lives and makes us laugh every day. We are so blessed to have her in our lives. Again, congrats!!!!

  5. What a cutie pie! ❤ And the frame looks great without pics, though I personally wouldn't balk at black and white pics being attached somehow. I like how you made that frame. Seems to me one could use a picture frame and a sturdy wooden backer to make a tray too….hmm…

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