This is one of those craft projects I’ve been wanting to do for like …FOREVER… and finally got around to doing it! I’ve seen a few versions on Pinterest and at local craft fairs and I was so excited to have one of my own. Isn’t it gorgeous? And the chalkboard sign just makes it for me – I can change it out whenever I want!
It really didn’t take that long either, except for the trip to the Home Depot. I don’t shop in the lumber department very often, and it always takes me forever to decide what exactly it is I’m looking for. Plus, I took all my kids with me, which always seems to derail my train of thought every few minutes… But here I’ll break it down for you so that hopefully your shopping trip is a lot shorter than mine!
You will need:
- 1 4×4 ~ I bought an 8 ft. piece because that’s what they had. I used Douglas Fir because I was going to paint it, and it was cheaper! Have them cut it in half for you. You’ll only need a 4 ft. length for this project.
- 1 12 x 1 ~ I used pine, again, for the price. They had a 4 ft piece. I used it to make the base and the sign and still had some leftover.
- 1 wood shelf bracket
- 1 1 x 2 ~ I found a pre-cut piece of poplar that was only 3 ft. I used almost half of it for this project. (actual size was .5 in. by 1.5 in.)
- 2 hooks
- 2 eyelets
- 1.5 inch screws (I bought a small box for about $2 – I only used 2 screws though!)
- 4 inch lag screw
- Post cap ~ the cheapest one I could find had a solar light in it for about $5. Sometimes they have flat wood caps for about $0.97, but my store didn’t have any in stock that day. The light adds a fun touch anyway!
- Black spray paint
- Chalkboard spray paint
- Garland to decorate it (get it from just about any craft store)
- Wood glue (optional)
You’ll also need a saw, drill, screwdriver bits and drill bits, and some sandpaper – a palm sander is handy too!
The wood sizes are nominal sizes, so the actual measurement of your piece might actually be a half inch to an inch smaller.
The whole project cost me about $45, but I almost had enough supplies left over to make a second one. With the garland, you could probably make two for about $60-65.
First, cut your wood.
- The post is a 4 ft. length of 4×4. If you didn’t have the hardware store cut it for you, you’ll need to make that cut too.
- The base is 11 x 11. I used a radial arm saw to cut an 11 inch length from the 1 x 12 pine board. (which was actually .75 in. x 11 in.)
- The sign is 11 x 8. Again, cut an 8 inch length with the radial arm saw from the 1 x 12 pine board.
- The arm is 17 x 1.5. Cut a 17 inch length with the saw from the 1 x 2 piece.
Sand all your pieces smooth!
Next attach the post to the base.
To find the center of the base, just draw a straight line from corner to corner so you have an X. Since I was using a lag screw, I wanted to counter sink it so the base would stand flat. I used a counter sink bit, but you could just use a regular drill bit that is slightly bigger than the widest part of your lag screw. Drill just far enough into the wood to sink the screw – don’t drill all the way through! Screw the lag screw through the base until just a little bit is sticking out the other side – you’ll need it poking out just a bit so you can place it correctly in the post!
Find the center of your 4×4 post using the diagonal line method described above. Line up your lag screw (that’s already partially screwed into the base) with the center of your post and continue to tighten the screw until the base is flat against the post. This was the hardest part of the whole project I thought! When you’re done, you should be able to stand up the post on the attached base.
Now we’ll build the arm for the sign!
I first attached the shelf bracket to the post. Just screw a single screw into the center of one side of your post, near the top, the same way you would hang the bracket if it were an actual shelf. The bracket should have hardware already attached to hang on your screw. Slip the bracket onto your screw. At this point, straighten the bracket so it is lined up with the post!
Next take your sign arm piece and place it on top of the bracket as shown in the above picture. Pre-drill your hole through the arm and down into the center of the bracket. Attach the arm with a screw through your drilled hole. Your arm will still wobble at this point – if you want, go ahead and glue it in place. I didn’t end up gluing mine – the post cap kept it from falling off, and I was impatient when I painted and the paint helped it stick in place (oops!).
Next I measured where I wanted the hooks on my sign, and where I wanted to line them up on the arm. I attached my eyelets to the sign about 2.5 inches from each side on the top edge (I painted the sign before I attached the eyelets). I marked on the arm where they would meet up and screwed in the hooks. My hooks were gold, and my eyelets silver, so I decided I wanted to paint my hooks black along with the rest of the post.
Now it’s time to paint! I took the whole post out to the side of the house where I wouldn’t paint anything I didn’t want to be painted, and sprayed the whole thing. I also sprayed the sign with chalkboard paint, first on one side, let it dry and then sprayed the other side.
I decided to distress my paint a bit on the edges – just sand all the corners and edges with sandpaper to get this look.
Once the paint is dry, attach the post cap to the top of the post. Now just decorate with garland, write a fun note on your sign, and you’ve got a cute new porch decoration!
Have fun building your porch sign post!