As crafty as we think we are, we know that when it comes to getting the DIY scoop, it’s best to turn to a professional. And our go-to gal in Memphis is Stephanie Jones, the wizard behind me & mrs. jones, a studio and store in Cooper-Young, plus a demo bar and store in Germantown. In both locations, Stephanie offers the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Miss Mustardseed Milk Paint lines, as well as uncommon and vintage finds, including drawer pulls, fabrics, décor and more.
With football season kicking off, we turned to Stephanie for a quick and easy DIY project–and she offered up a subway sign that celebrates Southeastern Conference schools. What better way to show your team spirit at home, or bring as a hostess gift to a tailgate party?
“We carry subway sign stencils in a variety of patterns,” says Stephanie. “SEC schools, cities, inspirational sayings, etc. The stencils cost between $45 and $50.” Stephanie says custom templates are available, too, at a cost of about $75, and she carries “blanks”—wood panels ready to paint—for $3 each.
Let’s get started! Welcome, Stephanie!
Begin with plywood panels cut to 12 inches by 18 inches, however, many of Stephanie’s customers purchase these subway sign stencils and use them on old barn wood, reclaimed cabinet doors and more. The stencils also fit nicely on standard 14-inch by 18-inch pillow covers made of canvas or burlap.
A base coat of Old White Chalk Paint® goes on first, for depth and texture. “We love using Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan for projects like this, since it dries quickly, comes in terrific SEC-ready colors and gives a lot of great texture to a surface with just one or two coats,” says Stephanie.
Next, a coat of Barcelona Orange is laid on with a natural-bristle brush moving in all directions. Stephanie says to not make it too perfect—a rough-hewn look is the idea!
Once the base coats are dry, load a stencil brush with just a bit of paint. A good stencil brush is nice and soft, with a flat-bristle head. Offload the brush by swirling it onto a folded paper towel … now you’re holding a “dry brush.” This prevents paint from seeping under the stencil and blurring the pattern. Pounce the paint into the openings of the stencil.
Remove the stencil, give the paint a few minutes to dry, then sand the edges and corners to distress the paint a bit, using a medium-grade sandpaper like 180. Really round the corners down to give the impression of wear and age. You might also pass the sandpaper gently across the stenciled surface to soften the lettering a little and fix any areas that might have gotten too heavy.
Finally, a coat of antiquing wax, such as Dark Soft Wax by Annie Sloan, seals the paint, mellows out the colors and adds a slight stain to any bare wood that might be peeking through at the corners of your panel. Drilling holes for hanging with wire or twine is optional!
Thanks for the tutorial, Stephanie!
Not sure you are ready for this project on your own? Worry not! Stephanie offers a “there’s your sign” workshop in October. Subscribe to her newsletter to get notice of the dates. The workshop lasts 2 1/2 hours, includes all of the supplies and costs $95. Stephanie also has ready-made signs in her store for $40 to $65, and she will offer them in her booth at the Cooper-Young Festival, taking place September 19, and during the fall Urban Barn Market, taking place October 2-4, at the Woodruff-Fontaine House Museum.
Fall football season in the SEC is just getting started. Take part in the water cooler talk by upping your SEC game with our handy guide for SEC beginners!
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