DIY Halloween pallet sign: KEEP OUT!

Halloween is so fun to decorate for. I just love coming up with different types of crafts to make and use as decor. This pallet sign turned out pretty cool! I love how it gives the effect of a boarded up haunted house–which is exactly what I was going for! This sign was quite easy to make. Read on to see how I did it!


  • Old pallet wood
  • Black sharpie paint marker
  • Carbon transfer paper
  • KEEP OUT stencil (printable PDF found at bottom of post)
  • 1 yard of black chain
  • 1 large bolt
  • Roof nails or any nail with a large head
  • Hammer
  • Brad nailer or staple gun
  • wood glue
  • drill with a drill bit to match the size of your bolt

Step 1: Build your pallet sign

To begin you are going to cut your old pallet wood down to the sizes you will need. I used 6 boards total. (1–22″ length, 3–25″ length, and 2–24.5″ length) You can always vary this according to your needs. Here is a great tutorial on how to build a non-haunted house style pallet sign.

Once you have your boards cut to the sizes you want, lay them out on your work surface in a scattered order. Do NOT line them up all nice. Make sure they are crooked and straggling up and down on the ends.

Once you have them laid out in the design you like, measure and cut for 2 boards to go across the front. (mine ended up being 22″ in length) and the length of the lower board (mine was 18″ in length).

Lay the 2 boards you just cut on top of your sign and play with it until you get the exact look you want. Now pick up one of the boards and put a good amount of wood glue on the back and replace it where you got it from. Using the bradnailer, nail the top board onto the other bottom boards. Repeat this step with the second board. Once you have them secured into place you can move on to step 2!

Step 2: Tracing your pattern onto your pallet sign

Print your stencil from the ready to print PDF and grab your carbon transfer paper. Lay your stencil on your boards and make any adjustments you might need. When you like the placement of your stencil, carefully lift it up and place a sheet of carbon transfer paper underneath (shiny side down). Let the stencil fall back into place on top of the transfer paper.

Using a pen or pencil, trace over the outline of the stencil. Press firm enough so you can make sure the carbon transfer paper is transferring the image dark enough that you can see it. After you have traced around the whole design, it is now time to remove the stencil and carbon transfer paper. Make any touch-ups you may need using your pencil.

Step 3: painting your pallet sign

Now that you have your design traced on your sign, you are going to paint it. Give your sharpie marker pen a good shake to mix the paint up. Now begin painting your letters on your sign. (**hint** if you are having difficulty tracing the design on or painting it, you can always sand down the wood to make it more smooth and give a better surface to color on)

Step 4: Embellish you pallet sign with chains and bolt.

After you have your KEEP OUT painted on your pallet sign, you are going to decide where you want the chain and bolt. I played around with these in several different places before I settled on the spot I liked most. You may want to do this as well.

Start with the chain. I ended up taking my chain apart and having 2 pieces. One that was 2 feet long and another that was 1 foot (or less) long. Nail the first link of the longer chain to the back of your sign and bend the nail down over the link to secure it into place. Decide where you need the end of the chain to be secured and repeat what you just did, only with the last link of the chain. Now pull a place in the center or off to the side of the hanging chain and decide where you would like that to be bolted in.

When you have decided where you want the chain to be bolted up, use a pencil to mark where you want the bolt to go. Use a drill and a drill bit that matches the size of the bolt (Not bigger) and drill a hole all the way through your pallet sign. If you used the correct size drill bit, you should be able to twist the bolt (it may be tough but should be snug) into place with out having to glue or secure it with a nut. Don’t actually put the bolt in place yet.

Back side view of KEEP OUT pallet sign

Grab your extra 1 foot (or less) chain and the center (off center) link of the chain already secured to the pallet sign and pull them up to the bolt hole. Thread the both through the links of the chain and begin twisting the bolt into place. For me, this was kind of tough, but I was glad because then I knew it would hold better.

Once you have the bolt twisted in pretty tight and secure, color the head of the bolt with your sharpie marker so it matches your black chain.

Step 5: display your pallet sign

After you have finished coloring the bolt head you are finished. Stand back and admire what you’ve done! Display it in your home or yard and scare the kiddies away 😉

Click here to get the KEEP OUT! PDF so you can make one of your own!!

Happy haunting…I mean crafting!

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