Route 60

I've been wanting to make a big wooden sign and finally had a reason... my dad's 60th birthday!

I have been loving all the wood signs on Pinterest and was thankful to come across this great tutorial on My Pink Life. Great blog by the way -- Aimee paints signs on old barn doors and they are one-of-a-kind!

First step was to find a piece of wood. In my head I envisioned being on HGTV and going to this really cool "salvage yard" in Cape Cod where I'd find a perfectly imperfect weathered plank with chipping paint and a ton of character... 

Then I remembered I live in Cleveland and drove to my local lumber store.

No beautifully weathered planks, but a ton of inexpensive scrap wood on the project cart. Fair enough.

I chose this cedar plank.

It had a little bit of character to it but I really wanted something that looked old and worn. Time to bust out the chains!

I can't remember where I learned this but you can add character to wood by beating it with metal chains and other random objects that look like big screws but I really have no idea what they are. Here's a before and after:

I forgot to take pictures of the next few steps, but basically I followed this tutorial. I painted the plank with a very light coating of white semi-gloss paint, then let it dry overnight.

For the message, I knew I wanted it to say "Papa Henry" and somehow have the number 60 on it. After some brainstorming I decided to include some type of symbol that represented his love of motorcycles. I chose to do the infamous "Route 66" sign but swap out  the 66 for 60.

I printed my message out on paper then traced it onto the wood plank using carbon paper. I then painted the  tracing using basic acrylic craft paints ($1 per bottle).

I started to sand it down (letter A) but realized I should take a pic. Here it is before I sanded the rest of  it down for extra distressing.
Did I say "before I sanded it down?"
I of course forgot to take a pic after the final round of sanding/distressing, but here's a pseudo complete before/after:

Happy birthday dad! 


  1. GREAT job on that sign!!! I'm glad my tutorial was helpful!

    1. Hi Aimee! This response is a year and a half late!! OMG - I can't believe I missed this resposne from you. I was actually reflecting back on where the blog started and this is one of the first DIY Projects that came to mind so I was re-reading it and looksie here there is a comment from you! I've continued to use your tutorial on a number of projects and am so thankful for the knowledge -- and thankful that you were willing to share it!

  2. You did a great job. I've been reading Aimee's tutorial and want to make a sign so bad but I can't figure out how to use the font program. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi - I'd be bappy to help. What questions do you have about the fonts?

  3. Thank you for helping. :-) I did learn how to download the font I want to use into my Microsoft Word program. But, I'm wondering if you want to make a large sign like Aimee has on her blog.. how would you get the lettering that large? My font size goes up to 72 which is not very large. I can increase it large enough for a small project and still see what I've written on the screen. But, if I make the fonts any larger then I cannot see the entire word and therefore I have no idea how it will look. Any ideas?

    1. Hi -- Your list of font sizes only goes up to 72, but if you place your cursor in the editable window that shows the font #, you can edit it to whatever you want (try 200?). You may have to do one letter per sheet of paper. I believe that's what I had to do on this "Papa Henry" sign I made. then you loosely cut around the letters and lay them out on top of your wood the way you want them to look. Does that help?

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