I love my wood projects to be distressed, antiqued or made from reclaimed or pallet wood. This style just speaks to me! I wanted to incorporate the pallet sign design into my Valentine decor so I came up with this reclaimed wood chevron pallet heart sign and this is how I did it:
- Old wood or a pallet wood
- Miter saw
- Brad Nailer
- Jig saw
- Wood glue
- Heart pattern
- Deep Sea Coral Acrylic Paint
- Cool White Acrylic Paint
- 2 plastic/disposable cups
- bristle paint brush
- Belt sander, palm sander, or sand paper
Step One: cutting the reclaimed pallet wood
To begin, you’re going to need to get your hands on some old wood used pallets so you can take them apart and use the wood to make your sign. I have a great helper (my husband) that does this part for me. Thanks babe!
Pick out the boards that you like most. I’m kind of picky about the wood I use. The pieces have to look nice next to each other. I usually rearrange my boards until I have the pattern/design that I want.
After you have the layout that you want, you’re going to want to cut the ends of your boards at a 45* angle, using the miter saw. Cut all your pieces with out moving your saw settings so they all have the same cut.
Step Two: laying out your “V” shape to create the chevron pattern
Next, you are going to want to line up your boards to get your “V” shape. You are going to want to glue together each “V” and brad nail it near the point to hold it together. Repeat this with all your “V” and let them sit over night. (You don’t NEED to do this step I just wanted to make sure the seam of the wood stayed together nicely and I didn’t end up with a gap)
Now that your “V’s” are dried and secure, lay them out in the desired pattern. While keeping the pattern in mind, flip them over so the side of the wood you want to show on the front of your heart is now face down on your work surface. You want to do it this way, because you are going to glue and nail the back supports to your sign.
Measure and cut (no angled cuts) your back supports. 1 for the center support, and 2 for the outer supports. Once you have these measured and cut, place them on the back of your heart, which should be facing up at this point.
Once they are in place, flip the center one over and place a generous amount of wood glue on it, then replace it where it was. Using the brad nailer, secure it into place. Make sure your nails are not too long that they will come through the front, and make sure they are long enough to go all the way through the support and into the sign wood a little.
Let it dry over night before attempting to cut out the heart shape.
Step Three: creating and tracing the heart shape
While your pallet wood is drying over night, work on the shape of the heart you want. I did this by getting a large piece of paper and folding it in half. Then, I traced 1 side of my wood sign onto my paper, so I would know how much wood I had available for that part of the heart. Next, I repeated that step with the other side of the sign, only I traced it on the same side of the paper. That way, I was able to see how much wood I had available for both sides of the sign. I then proceeded to draw 1/2 of a heart on the folded paper, like I’m sure most of us have done at some point in our Elementary school career.
After I had the 1/2 heart drawn, I cut it out and made sure that it would fit in the area of the wood “V” I made for my sign.
Trace your heart onto your wood “V”. I like to use a pencil because it’s dark enough to see it but it’s light enough that if you go off the line, when cutting, it won’t be too noticeable.
Step Four: cutting out your heart shape and smoothing out the edges
Now, you are ready to pull out your jig saw and begin cutting out your heart! I think this part is so exciting because you are getting so close to seeing what it is going to look like. Plus, you’re getting so close to finishing it up!
This step was kind of tricky for me at first. I’m not real experienced with a jig saw, but it was quite easy I must admit. However, I did find myself going slower at some points, especially when I was cutting through two layers of wood due to the supports on the back. Anyway, you can do it too, I promise! I just started at an area where I would as if I was using scissors, and began cutting. You might need to adjust and cut at different angles at some point so you can get the exact shape that you traced.
After I cut my heart out, I used the belt sander to kind of smooth out and even up the edges. You DON’T NEED a belt sander for this step. It can be done using a palm sander or even just sandpaper instead, it just might take a little longer. I also sanded the front edges of the sign because cutting it out made some of the top edges jagged. It would not be fun to get to this point and get a sliver from this beautiful sign.
When I had my sign smooth and free of jagged edges, I struggled in deciding if I really wanted to paint it or not. It looked so beautiful just the natural wood. You can stop here and it is a gorgeous piece! It just depends what look you are going for.
Step Five: choosing and prepping your paint
Finally, I decided to paint my heart, but how and what colors? Decisions, decisions! I found a Deep Sea Coral paint, which color I loved, and decided it would work great. The Deep Sea Coral paint I chose, looked nice paired with a cool white paint. I even tested it out on paper before painting my heart.
In order to get the white washed look on the wood, I knew I would have to thin the paint down a little. Now, I do not have a formula for this step, unfortunately, but I just did trial and error until I had the consistency I wanted. You can always err on the watery side because you can always paint more than one coat to give it more color, but you can’t necessarily take the color off if the paint was too thick to begin with. True, you can always sand some off, but you might loose a some texture of the wood doing that.
Once I had my colors selected, (I chose 2 but do as many as you’d like) I poured some paint in my plastic cup. Next, I added some water and began stirring it. It was pretty watered down, but I liked the consistency I had. Now, repeat with the white paint.
When I added the water, I added enough to bring the top level to just below the black on the cup. If you look close you can see the rib line on the cup and the water level brought it to 1 rib line below the black.
Step Six: painting your heart
You are almost there. This is probably the funnest part of the whole project…finishing it!
Using your brush, very carefully paint every other board, on one side of the heart, the first color. Move on to the other side of the heart, and paint all the opposite boards you just painted. Wait about 5-10 minutes before painting the rest of the boards with the white. If the paint is not dry enough, it will run together and that is not what you want. When you think it’s dry enough, go ahead and paint the remaining boards the white color
If the paint is not as dark as you would like it, paint a second or third coat. I did 2-3 coats on some of my boards, while I did only 1 coat on others. It just depends on the wood and how strong you want the color.
**Please note** the paint looks different once it dries, so it’s important to let it dry before you change anything. A couple of my craft night attendees began to stress out when they painted their hearts and it didn’t look quite like mine. I reminded them that it takes some time to soak into the wood and to let it dry a little. Once they did, they were happy with the outcome.
Let it lay flat to dry. You don’t want the paint to run. Make any changes you might need, and then display it and wait for the compliments to pour in!