Looking for a great Father’s Day project?
Look no further, I’ve got you covered!
Today I’m making this great distressed wood “Man Cave” sign with an attached cast iron bottle opener.
I’ll be using the PVPP (Paint Vinyl Paint Peel) method with cream colored lettering on top of a distressed wood background, and using a stencil of my “Man Cave” SVG design I made using my Silhouette Cameo vinyl cutter.
Note: I decided to go with my “Man Cave” for this project but I do have a “Dad Cave” Svg file available as well.
DIY MAN CAVE SIGN
- 1×4 dimensional lumber (4 pieces 17” long)
- 1×2 dimensional lumber (2 pieces 12” long)
- 8 – wood screws 3/4” long
- 1 cast iron bottle opener (I got mine here on Amazon)
- Paint color(s) for background (I used Apple Barrel Burnt Sienna, Nutmeg Brown, and Antique White)
- Paint color(s) for lettering (I used Apple Barrel Antique White)
- Foam paintbrushes, large and small
- Makeup sponges
- Painter’s Tape
- Poly Sealer (like Polycrylic or similar)
STEP 1 – Prep The Sign BOARDS
Cut your lumber to size, if you haven’t already. I’m using pine and I recommend using the best grade of lumber you can get.
Sand the pieces well – I use 120 grit to start, and then finish the big faces with 220 grit for a satiny finish. Wipe the boards down with a damp cloth to remove all dust particles.
Paint your boards with your sponge paintbrush.
What I did for this Man Cave sign was do a very thin coat of Burnt Sienna (darkest brown) and then very lightly brushed on tiny bits of the other color, making sure to brush with the grain of the wood, to give it a bit of a variegated look.
Once the paint is dry, sand the boards lightly again just to distress them a bit and help the wood grain show.
Wipe down the boards with a damp cloth again and assemble your sign.
STEP 2 – ASSEMBLY
Put your 1×4 boards face down in the arrangement you’d like.
Pre-drill the holes in your 1×2 boards so that there would be a screw for each 1×4.
Screw the 1x2s onto the backs (which are face up) of the 1x4s. Make sure the 1×4 boards are tight together.
STEP 3 – PREP THE STENCIL
Cut your stencil design out of your chosen stencil material.
I prefer using Oramask 813, but you can use regular vinyl and some people even have luck using contact paper.
If you are using my Man Cave design, for this sign I made the design 15” wide and put it inside a weeding box that was 16.5” (which left me about a quarter inch space on each side so I could center it properly).
Weed your stencil, apply the transfer tape and adhere it to the sign.
Note: If you use my Man Cave sign SVG, make sure during placement that you put the “beer is always cold” part above the crack between the boards otherwise it might look odd.
Position your stencil. I use a weeding box which is just literally a box around my design about a half inch smaller than my sign length and width.
One of the benefits of using a weeding box is that you can do most of the positioning work within the stencil itself before you even cut. Then, once it’s cut, all you have to do is line up the corners and you won’t end up with a crooked design once it’s all finished and done.
Make sure the stencil is adhered really well and tightly to the boards. Burnish it really well before removing the transfer tape carefully, peeling back at a sharp angle.
Tape off the edges of the stencil and the bottom area that will be unpainted. I just used some extra pieces of transfer tape for the bottom and painter’s tape for the sides.
STEP 4 – PAINT THE LETTERING
First, we will need to seal the stencil edges to prevent leakage.
Using a foam brush or a makeup sponge (my tool of choice), “pounce” your background color (in this case, dark brown) paint very lightly on the letters.
I like to do two thin coats of the sealing paint. Wait until the first coat is just barely dry to the touch, and then re-coat.
Now, it’s time for your final color. Using the same pouncing process, lightly sponge on multiple thin coats of your lettering paint. I let them dry a bit between coats – just until it isn’t shiny anymore – but I don’t let it dry all the way. I did four light coats of this Antique White color for my lettering.
Once you are finished with the last coat of paint on the lettering, it’s time to remove the Man Cave lettering stencil! This is your moment of truth.
STEP 5 – REMOVE THE STENCIL
You definitely want to do this while the paint is still damp – if you wait until it’s completely dry, it may come up when you pull off the stencil. The paint should be just barely set – not shiny and wet anymore, but definitely not fully dry.
Start by removing the painter’s tape. Then, starting at a corner, gently start peeling back your stencil.
Go slow and steady and don’t be afraid to tear the stencil. I like to use tweezers to grab the edges of the stencil in all the parts, and then pull with my hands.
Remove all the parts you can with tweezers, and then work on the rest. The small inside parts of letters and tiny details you may need to pull off with a pin.
Just stick the pin into the vinyl carefully, and loosen an edge. You just need to loosen it enough so you can grab it with your tweezers and pull it off.
Once your stencil is removed, pat yourself on the back for being so totally awesome. Your man cave sign is gonna be the coolest thing!
And then let it dry. I give mine a day or so.
STEP 6 – SEAL THE SIGN
Once the sign is fully dry, you’ll want to coat it with some kind of poly sealer. Even if I’m using a sign indoors, I always seal it just because it seems to collect less dust and is easier to clean.
I’m just using a generic poly spray sealer, similar to polycrylic. Brush on sealer is fine, just remember you might have brush strokes. Re-coat the sign with sealer as per the instructions and allow it to fully cure.
STEP 7 – BOTTLE OPENER
Once your sign is sealed and cured, you can attach the bottle opener. Can’t have a real Man Cave sign without a bottle opener!
I got mine on Amazon Prime (aff. link here) and it’s a gorgeous rustic cast iron. They do also have stainless steel and a few other colors available.
Center your bottle opener onto the sign. I use a pencil to mark where I will put the screws. Pre-drill the holes for the screws (just a little way, not all the way through the wood).
Now, screw the bottle opener on to your sign and once again, pat yourself on the back for this awesome project you’ve completed. Go out and show everyone, and don’t be surprised when they say “Hey I need my own man cave sign! Can I buy one from you?” 😜
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