DIY · DIY Rustic · painting projects · tutorials

Doing Some Creating of the Rustic Kind

I’ve shared before that about a year ago we purchased a Little Cabin in the Big Woods. It’s a wonderful little place to retreat with family and friends and make sweet, sweet memories (of which we have made a lot already!). But, with the purchase came projects…lots and lots of projects. Some big DIY projects, like ripping out all the carpet and putting in wood floors, laying down 13 tons (yes, you read that right!) of river rock for outdoor French drains, dry walling, priming, hanging barn doors etc. The list goes on, but we’re making it our own cozy, little place. It just seems to be taking much longer since it’s several hours from where we live and we can’t always make the trip.

Sometimes I just need a fast project to help me through those long, difficult ones that seem to go on forever! Is anyone with me on this? So, I decided to create this easy rustic sign which cost me next to nothing!

My Supply List:

  • Wood Panel Piece
  • Sand Paper/Sanding Block
  • Hammer
  • Distressing objects: nails, chains, chisel, screws
  • Damp Cloth
  • Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint (Colors: Curio and Linen)
  • Paint Brush- 1 Large and 1-Tiny for Lettering
  • Computer Print out of Saying of Choice
  • Measuring Tape
  • Scotch Tape
  • Chalk
  • Pencil
  • MMS Hemp Oil and Rag
  • A Vacuum or Shop Vac
  • Picture Hanger

Here is what I did:

  • I found a tongue and groove pine panel in the garage (the previous owners left a lot of things behind some of which is usable!).
  • Sanded down the rough edges to give them more of a rounded look
  • Then I distressed the panel by hitting it with a hammer, chains, and whatever I could find in the garage.



  • Created fake “worm holes” (you can see them better in the picture below) by tapping a nail into the wood in little clusters. I also used a chisel to hammer in long grooves and pounded in a screw placed on its side.
  • Lightly sanded with a 220 grit sanding block  over the entire surface, vacuumed off the sawdust, and followed up with a damp cloth
  • Painted a wash (2 parts water to 1 part milk paint powder) of MMS Milk Paint, (Curio Color) over the entire panel, and let dry.


  • I mixed a small amount of 1:1 milk paint (in Curio again) and went back over the grooves and distressed parts with the darker color. I let it sit for a few minutes, then wiped off the excess paint. I did this anywhere I wanted a darker look.


  • While the board was drying, I measured my area and decided on my saying “Something Beautiful is on the Horizon.”
  • I created the words in Microsoft Word and had to tape letters together since they were longer than 8.5 X 11″. You’ll have to play with this a bit and measure out according to your saying and sign dimensions.
  • I positioned words on the dried board. If you want utter perfection use a ruler/yard stick for positioning. I was going for the rustic cabin look 😉
  • Then I lightly taped them in place on the top and bottom of each word.


  • Starting at the top of the board, I untaped the top of the word (“Something”) and rubbed the back entirely with the side of a piece of chalk.
  • I carefully flipped the word back over, pressing down the tape, and then outlined each letter using a pencil. Once completed, I carefully took off the taped word. You should have a chalk outline of each letter.


I did this for each word working from top to bottom.


  • Then I mixed a 1:1 ratio of MMS Milk Paint in Linen, and painted in the letters (I also added a little design and arrow free hand)
  • Once dried, I lightly sanded with a 220 grit sanding block to slightly distress lettering, and wiped clean
  • I finished with wiping on a coat of Hemp Oil using a rag
  • Then placed a picture hanger on the back and hung!


* A little side note:  No deer were harmed in the process of the antler arrangement.  We found the antlers in the front yard :). Another freebie!

Helpful Hints:

  • If you don’t have a tongue and groove pine panel hanging around, you can use any piece of wood…old doors, sides of crates, or new wood from hardware or craft stores. I’ve seen a lot of  DIY paint stick wooden panels on Pinterest too that would work.
  • I used a small sample of MMS Milk Paint. It was much cheaper at $6/ bag and I have more left over for other projects. You may want to ask if your MMS Milk Paint retailer has sample sizes.
  • The really great thing about printing out your own saying is that you can use whatever font, size, italics etc. that you want. You can customize it so much easier than store bought stencils. The possibilities are endless!

Something Beautiful IS on the Horizon

Not only out my window, but…

 “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11 a




3 thoughts on “Doing Some Creating of the Rustic Kind

  1. oh my, this turned out just beautiful!
    this is going on my list of things to do.. for sure.
    thanks for sharing your tutorial. 🙂
    i used MMS curio on my coffee table base and
    was pleased with how easy the application and waxing
    finished the piece. i used all of ONE tablespoon of MMS..
    a little goes a long way.

    would dearly love to see more pictures of your
    Little Cabin in the Woods. 🙂 pretty please?

    1. Thank you, Sherry. I’m glad it has given you some inspiration to create a sign of your own. I’d love to see what you have created when you are finished! Yes, MMS milk paint does go far. I found a little French shop in town which sells the bags as well as the samples. You know you’ve been in to visit a lot when the shop owner says, “In for more paint…what are you working on this time?” 😉 Our little cabin has a much bigger list of projects of which none seem completely finished. All in due time! We try and not load our visits there with all work and no play. 🙂

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