To this day, whenever something breaks in my house, I will call my dad for help or advice.
Because I’ve always been able to count on him to fix things and make things right.
Flat tires. Crashed computers. Busted appliances. Fights with mom. Even a broken heart, once upon a time.
He’s stepped in and fixed them all. Or at least he’s tried. Because that’s what good dads do. They fix things, whether they’re handy men or not. They build strong families and lasting legacies by their presence, love and actions.
In honor of my dad, my husband, and all the truly great fathers out there, I created some chalk art for Father’s Day on a very unexpected surface.
Yep, that’s a vintage hand saw, painted and turned into chalk art that is perfect for dad’s man cave, workshop, the garage or his office.
The words, “It is better to build strong children than it is to repair broken men,” is from Frederick Douglass.
I ran several quotes about fathers by my husband, and he picked this one. I think it’s a great testament to a father’s most important work.
Now, let me show you exactly how I made this unique chalk art sign.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, but I only recommend products and companies I love. Read my full disclosure policy here.
Vintage Saw Chalk Art Supplies
- vintage hand saw
- DecoArt American Chalky Finish Paint in Relic
- Paint brush
- White chalk
- Drawing paper roll or printer paper
- Sharpie oil paint makers, medium point and fine point
- sand paper
- wood stain
Vintage Saw Chalk Art Instructions
I thought I might have a hard time finding a vintage hand saw, but turns out they’re more readily available than you’d think.
Check out yard sales, especially those that list tools for sale, or antique stores or secondhand shops. You should be able to find one for $10 or less.
Wearing work gloves, I gave the saw blade a good cleaning with TSP and water.
If you’re planning to stain the handle, I would recommend sanding it at this point, to open up the wood grain.
Next, I painted the saw blade with two coats of DecoArt Americana Chalky Finish Paint in Relic, a dark gray that mimics the color of a chalkboard.
I contemplated using actual chalkboard paint, but I really didn’t want to prime. And I was worried about how it would adhere to the metal saw blade. But I know Chalky Finish will stick without chipping and peeling over time.
This next step was definitely the most challenging of the project. I had to figure out how to fit the quote on the saw and also sketch out the chalk lettering.
I’ve been trying to learn hand lettering, so I sketched the quote out by hand. (I’m no Dana Tanamachi, as you can see, but I’m learning. And I think most dads, like moms, appreciate the effort you put into a handmade gift. So I won’t apologize for the imperfections.)
If you want to give chalk lettering a try, I recommend The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering by Valerie McKeehan. She provides lots of font examples, practice projects and helpful tips.
I made a mockup of my saw on paper and created the layout that way. This also served as my pattern template, as you’ll see later in the instructions.
If you’re not comfortable with hand lettering, you could print out the design using chalkboard fonts, like these recommended by Nest of Posies. Yellow Bliss Road also has a great collection of chalkboard fonts you can download. You don’t need Photoshop or other fancy programs to use these. They’ll work with your computer’s word processing program.
Once I was satisfied with my layout, I cut out the template and placed it on my saw.
I ended up cutting the pattern into smaller pieces so I could tweak placement as I worked.
Want to know my secret for transferring the letters onto the saw blade?
Just rub a piece of white chalk on the back of your pattern or printout.
Then flip the pattern over and use a pencil to gently trace over the letters. It will leave a chalk outline on the blade.
It’s such an easy, low-cost solution that works as well as transfer paper on multiple surfaces, including wood and metal. If you make chalk art or hand painted wooden signs, you’re going to love this trick.
I do find that it makes sense to work in small sections. For this project, I went line by line.
I just went over the chalk letters with Sharpie oil paint markers to make them permanent. You could also use permanent chalk markers for this, or even a paint brush and white paint, if you have a really steady hand.
I used two to three coats of the Sharpie paint, just depending on the effect I wanted on the letters.
Once the painted letters have dried, you may need to wipe away the excess chalk with a damp cloth.
As a finishing touch, I stained the saw handle a dark mahogany.
To hang the sign, just use two large nails, positioned some of the handle rests on them.
Since it’s almost Father’s Day, and I’m honoring my dad, I thought you might enjoy seeing some projects he’s helped me with, and also a few of his favorite recipes.