Backyard Fire Pit Subway Sign

At our house, we love spending cool Summer evenings and warm Fall nights snuggled in blankets around our firepit. A few years ago we replaced the dilapidated cinder blocks, left from the previous owner, with roman pavers. Enlarging the circle around the fire pit and adding wood benches makes spending time in this area of our yard much more enjoyable.

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.

Fire Pit Subway Sign In Backyard

How To Make a Backyard Fire Pit Subway Sign

Materials List

  • 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

DIY Fire Pit Subway Sign Materials

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 the picture below)  

    DIY Fire Pit Subway Sign

    Step 2: Aging New Wood

    Vinegar and steel wool wood aging solution

    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.
    Tip: You can quicken the process by leaving in the sun.

    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.
    This is what mine boards looked like after three coats (see picture below).

    New wood to look aged for Fire Pit Subway Sign

    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).

        Transferring graphic onto wood fire pit sign

        Step 4: Painting The Sign

        Painting graphic onto wood fire pit subway 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).

          DIY Wooden Fire Pit Sign

          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 down when you're trying to hang the sign.

            D-Ring Picture Hooks installed on DIY Fire Pit 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.

              Easy no measure way to hang signs with D-Rings
              • 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!

                Hanging a sign using masking tape

                I think this calls for a bonfire, S'mores and a bottle of wine this weekend.  

                Backyard Fire Pit Subway Sign

                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!

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