Monday, November 2, 2015

Welcome to the Dead & Breakfast Inn

Multi-post-splosin! I am both out of my mind AND really behind!

Our outdoor presence the last couple of Halloweens has been a little lack luster in the props department. We have our scary windows, but nothing else to really help the spook factor.

Continuing our new tradition from last year, we of course had our zombie hands and green lights.

(Image from last year)

This year, I found some inspiration that looked easy enough to make myself. The blog Daybreak Living had a post about this cool house with lots of outdoor decor. What caught my eye most was the sign post.

I knew that we had a yard light that had been ignored for a while, so I thought I could make use of it for this DIY challenge.

I removed Old Glory before attaching a scrap piece of wood to the light to make a temporary sign post. There was no other way of attaching it other than using zip ties, but this method seemed to work pretty well (I just knew it wouldn't hold much weight).

There was a small nub on the side of the light that I was able to hammer the piece of wood onto to hold it in place, too. I did have to make a hole for it first, though.

Then the wood was painted and attached. Next came the sign itself.

I purchased a $5 piece of pink 2x2 insulation foam from Home Depot and cut my shape into it. I then printed out my design for the words and laid it all out.

I attempted to use some wax paper to keep the pencil from going through the paper, but was less than successful. I ended up just being careful and tracing my words lightly after lining up the paper with the edges.

When it was completed, both sides had been dented with my lettering.

I then used a ballpoint pen to retrace them quickly so they were easier to access later.

The next parts of this sign making journey were inspired by a post that my friend Ann did. She gave me some tips and a step by step on how they created really cool realistic tombstones for her front yard. I used parts of her technique to complete the sign.

She had mentioned using a wood burning tool to carve in the letters (or any images) that you might want set into your foam. I used a wood burner and very carefully went over my words. I followed this up with a paint brush and a nice coat of white paint as a primer. I had been warned against using spray paint directly on the sign for fear that it would eat the foam, so I wanted to try to add a protective layer of an acrylic paint first.

I then proceeded with a stone texture spray that you can purchase at any hardware store. Casey had mentioned that it would probably work since I wanted to use a spray paint anyway, so I gave it a try on a piece of scrap before giving the sign a once over with it. It worked beautifully and gave me a very satisfactory look.

The only thing left were the words.

They were given some detailed attention with some black acrylic craft paint and a craft brush. Being inset already, they were not difficult to color in. This only took one coat.

Remember, all of these steps are for both sides since it's a swinging sign, but one side if you're making a tombstone.

As with many of my projects, this one did not need to be perfect. The imperfection of the letters and numbers gave this an old, worn feel that I was really jiving with. I covered the whole thing with three coats of clear spray poly on each side to help defend it from the weather.

I then used two small eyelet hooks and screwed them into the bottom of my wooden arm. The sign was hung with a couple of black zip ties (that took the form of a chain). This was nice because it was adjustable and it also kept the weight down.

When it was hung up, it really looked awesome.

I was a little fearful at first. What if the wind grabbed it? What if some neighborhood hoodlums decided to destroy it? What if the zip ties ate through the foam and dropped it?

Thankfully, none of those things happened. Here in Kentucky, we get some pretty big rain storms in the Fall, but the sign stood strong. I had a couple of compliments from the neighbors on it and it seemed to do really well all 30 days it was outside.

I feel like a lot of these techniques can be used for all kinds of Halloween projects, from creating a fake foam stone wall to some tombstones for your yard. You could get really skilled and probably pull off a pretty convincing wood grain, with the right paint job and wood burning pattern. The possibilities are endless!

Does this inspire you to open your own Dead & Breakfast next year? Hopefully so! Make your reservations today!

1 comment:

  1. Never too late to plan for next year. Good job!