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DIY Rustic Sign & Holiday Tray

We have completed some great DIY projects and found some fantastic buys during the holiday season to add to our collection!

Today, we are sharing our DIY Rustic Sign + Holiday Tray.

We like to add rustic items as well as some modern festive touches to our decor as seen in our previous holiday posts here. You can find some great DIY projects there as well as lots online and inexpensive decor items from your local Dollar Discount and Home Decor Stores.

Here is how we made our DIY Rustic Sign:

For our template, we went into Word and created a letter using “Word Art” in a preferred font and enlarged it to ideal size for the sign. I am absolutely obsessed with reindeer and antlers. So, when I came across this idea for a stenciled doormat (so cute!), we decided to add this look to our sign with our initial. For the antlers, my husband drew them freehand to the size for our sign.

My husband built the sign from scratch and here is how:


Measuring tape

A slab of “rough cut” pinewood we purchased ours from Home Depot (they can be purchased at various lengths and widths)

A pencil

Stain (we used MINWAX): Dark Walnut & Classic Grey

A can of Varathane spray (sealer/wood protector)

Table Saw (optional)

Palm Sander + 80 grit sandpaper

Hand saw

Stencil of your choice

Initial letter Stencil

Paper for stencil

Exacto knife

Tape for back of stencil

Spray paint (we used a white interior oil-based) & paintbrush for stencils

Optional: White paint + primer (to fill in stencil)


1. Once you have set up your work station and you have your pine wood, select the best looking part of the wood, keeping away from the ends of the wood because they usually split easily.

2. Mark the length of the piece of wood at 20 inches. TIP: Cut it to length with the hand saw as this gives the rough cut rustic look. Our sign measures 12 x 20 inches.

3. Next, to create slots for the illusion that it is 3 separate pieces, mark 4 inches in, then 8 inches and then 12 inches. You will need a table saw to create the slots. Only cut through half of the wood so that the back is still in a full piece.


4. Next, use a palm sander (ours is DeWALT) with 80 grit sandpaper to give it a smoother finish – both sides and all edges.

5. Apply the stain – we wore gloves, a mask (it is very strong smelling) and used an old rag. We used MINWAX in Dark Walnut and Classic Grey. Let it dry for about 24 hours. Then apply the Varathane which is a sealer/wood protector. They have different finishes. You can paint or spray it on. For ours, we used spray in satin finish.

6. For the stencil, my husband drew the antlers and we chose a font of our preference for the initial, enlarged it, printed and traced it.

We cut them out to make the stencil, taped it on and lightly sprayed the sign. OPTIONAL: You can then fill it in with an artist brush and some paint if you want it more defined. We like the look of drifting-like snow.

We added a thin rope wrapped around the top. We really like the the rustic look of the sign.

We added some brown paper wrapped gifts that my husband wrapped and decorated (soOoo amazing!) along with these cute Plaid Gift Tags from Craving Some Creativity (love anything plad) and some ribbon, bows and acorn bells from the Dollar Store.

The sign is a great addition to our holiday decor, and we plan to display it yearly, throughout the remainder of the winter as well!

For our DIY Rustic Tray, my husband built this from scratch and stained it as well (we had purchased some pine wood from Home Depot.

We added some Christmas ornaments (we had on hand previously), greenery, pine cones, tree and a mini owl candle to it from the Dollar Store. We already had the lantern in our decor collection.

The gorgeous deer with the chrome antlers are from Bouclair and the reindeer candle and birch candle are from William Ashley – and bonus they are flameless and have timers as well!

The holidays are a great time to add some of your personality to your home and decor – so have fun with it – it is YOURS TO DEFINE :)

We hope that you enjoyed our DIY Holiday Decor projects and favourite finds and hope we have inspired you to add some simple and festive elements to your holiday decor and if so, we would love you to share and let us know below!

For more of our simple holiday decor projects, ideas and finds, find them here!

Happy Holidays!

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