Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, but I only recommend products I love and use. Read my full disclosure policy here.
I am not one of those bloggers who is a rockstar with power tools. But I can work a paint brush, and I’m a master with some craft tools. Those skills were handy when I was making this DIY Halloween sign for the Sleepy Hollow Halloween scene I created in our dining room.
This is one of those projects that actually turned out as I envisioned — and maybe better.
While my version looks just like wood, it’s light enough for a child to carry with one hand because I made it with two FloraCraft Styrofoam sheets. I used 2 sheets for mine; each measured 12 inches by 36 inches. I used hot glue to join the two Styrofoam sheets together.
Then I created a pattern out of paper and traced it on the foam board with a marker.
Next, I pulled out one of my craft tools, a FloraCraft Styro Cutter, and cut around my pattern.
I’ll admit to being a little afraid of the heat knife at first, since it heats to 410 degrees — hot enough to melt and cut through Styrofoam. I had visions of burning myself and setting my kitchen on fire, but those were unwarranted.
Just be sure to follow directions, watch what you’re doing, work slowly and use the metal stand when you put down the heat knife. AND DON’T FORGET TO UNPLUG IT!
Cutting out my sign made a little bit of mess in the kitchen, which was easily swept up. But I did move outside for the next step.
To make my sign look like wood, I had to use a special product called Smooth Finish, which is a paintable coating for Styrofoam. (You can buy it at the craft store or Walmart).
My recommendation is to spread it on like icing, allowing at least an hour — and sometimes longer — of drying time between each coat.
When the Smooth Finish is dry, use a sanding block or fine grit sandpaper to smooth and even the surface.
Next, I painted my faux wood sign with a few coats of DecoArt Americana Chalky Finish paint in Relic, a dark charcoal gray.
Finally, I used my Silhouette Cameo cutting machine to make a one-time-use vinyl stencil.
Did you know there’s a new Silhouette out? I’m dying to get this new souped-up version of my favorite craft tool!
(If you’re looking for a deal, the Silhouette Portrait, which is the smaller version of the machine I have, is on sale through the end of October.
You can buy a bundle, which includes the Portrait plus a whole bunch of specialty media, for $149.99. Just be sure to use the code ATTAGIRL at checkout to get the deal!)
For the letters, I used DecoArt Americana Multi-Surface Satin Paint in Cotton Ball. For tips on how to stencil using vinyl, check out this tutorial.
Because the spacing of my letters was a left a little more gray space than I wanted, I did add a decorative flourish. I also did a freehand outline of the sign, as you see in the inspiration sign.
With the handpainted sign…
…the spooky jack-o-lantern and the other details I added to my tablesetting, I think our dining room looks very much like Sleepy Hollow as depicted in Washington Irving’s famous short story.
Be sure to click over and check out the rest of our Sleepy Hollow Halloween decorations.