I love hanging metal art and wooden signs along the fence in our backyard but I had nothing suitable for hanging in our new fire pit area. That's when I decided to make my own Backyard Fire Pit Subway Sign from cedar fence boards. What I love most about this sign is that a) it cost me nothing and b) it has that rustic timeworn look.
How To Make a Backyard Fire Pit Subway Sign
- 2 cedar fence boards
- 1/2-inch wood screws
- Apple Cider or White Vinegar
- #00000 steel wool
- Black tea bags
- Rubber gloves
- Chip Paint Brush
- Lidded glass jar or plastic container
- Graphite or Carbon Paper
- Craft paint in the colors White, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green
- Black Sharpie Marker or paint pen
- 2 D-Ring Picture Hanging Hooks
- Laser or Inkjet Printer
- Graphite or Carbon Paper
- Ballpoint pen
- 80 or 120 grit sanding block
Step 1: Building The Fire Pit Sign
- I built this sign with slats (boards) and uprights (battens).
- Cut a cedar fence board into four slats 19-inches wide.
- Cut two pieces 2" x 29" (as pictured below)
- Line Up the slats from top to bottom
- Lay the uprights on both sides
- Secure the uprights to the boards with wood screws (as seen in picture below)
Step 2: Aging New Wood
How to make Aging Solution
- Pour either apple cider or white vinegar into a lidded glass mason jar or plastic food container.
- Submerge a piece (pad) of #00000-grade steel wool into the vinegar
- Cover the container and let it sit overnight. The longer the solution brews the darker the stain.
Staining with Tea
- Brew a pot of dark tea using two tea bags. Let cool.
- Using an inexpensive chip brush, paint the tea onto the wood and let dry.
Staining with Aging Solution
- Wear rubber gloves or your hands will smell for days.
- Rub the steel wool pad onto the boards and let dry.
- Repeat this step until you have the aged patina you prefer.
Now the fun part...
Step 3: Adding the Subway Art
- In PicMonkey I created a graphic. Press the image below for your FREE DOWNLOAD.
- Enlarge the graphic to fit the wood sign. You can do this two ways, either upload it at Blockposter, resize the image, and print. Or you could save it onto a USB Stick and have it printed somewhere like Staples.
- Lay the graphic onto the wood and tape in place.
- Place a sheet of graphite or carbon paper underneath the graphic and simply trace over every element using a pen (see example below).
Step 4: Painting The Sign
- Using craft paint and artists brushes or paint pens, paint the graphic. Create shadow lines with a black Sharpie and/or white paint pen.
- Once the paint is dry take an 80 or 120 grit sanding block and lightly rub over the entire sign to distress the graphics (as pictured below).
Step 5: Installing picture hangers
- Mount D-ring picture hangers on the top center of each upright.
- Tip: Place the D-hook so the bottom rests against the upright. This stops the hook from flopping downward when you're trying to hang the sign.
Step 6: An easy way to hang the sign without the need of a measuring tape
- Run a piece of masking tape across the back of the sign and over the D-hooks, ensuring it is nice and straight (as pictured below).
- With a pen mark the very tip of each D-ring where the nail will rest (as pictured below).
- Remove the masking tape and begin the next step.
- Place the masking tape on the wall (in my case the fence) where the sign will hang (as pictured below).
- Use a level to make sure the tape is straight.
- Hammer the nails or screws where the two dots are on the tape.
- Remove the tape and voila, you're ready to hang your sign!
I think this calls for a bonfire, S'mores and a bottle of wine this weekend.
Do you have a spot in your backyard for a Fire Pit Subway Sign?
If you don't have a fire pit, you could create a Summer or Fall themed Subway Sign. The possibilities are endless!