While I used to love the plain, copper looking engraved stall signs lately hand painted stall signs for your horse seem to be on the rise. My absolute favorite ones are by Simply Equine Design. They are beautiful, and the woman who makes them does a great job. They are also pricey, but worth every penny.
Since I’m a) cheap b) somewhat artistically inclined, I decided to make my own. It’s not as fancy as the professional ones, but it was very cheap and I like it a lot! Here’s what I bought to start:
Total cost was around $12, although I already had brown paints and brushes.
I don’t have pictures of the first steps, but I started by coating my wooden plaque with two coats of the grey cheap acrylic. If you are not lazy (like me), I would prime the would first with a spray primer… but I just painted straight on. Priming is definitely better.
Then I took my burgundy and carefully painted only the beveled edge. This gave my nameplate a nice trim in my barn’s secondary color.
After getting my base color and trim down, I began to sketch out Simon’s portrait on the right hand side of my sign. This is the part where I have zero advice… because I just painted a little portrait of my horse as best as I could. If you are not artistically inclined, you could also decoupage a photo onto the wood… but I don’t know about durability. Here’s my finished portrait.
Once my Simon portrait was done, it was time to draw letters. Straight lines and letters are not something I’m good at, so I was very slow and careful with this step.
I took a mechanical pencil and sketched out each letter while studying a blown up image of the font on my ipad, right next to where I worked. The results weren’t perfect, but with some measuring I was able to get mostly even letter kerning and size.
With my letters all drawn out in pencil, I filled in very carefully with burgundy paint to match my trim. It takes two coats, so on the 1st coat I paint a thick application to hit all my pencil lines. The second coat is more for filling in the middle so none of the gray shows through.
After painting in my letters, I cleaned up some of the extra pencil lines with some gray background paint and let it dry overnight. The next morning, I sealed the entire sign with Testor’s Dullcoat sealer… but you can use a brand you prefer. I then let that dry all day, and the next morning applied my screw hooks.
I tapped them in with the back of my iPhone (I use tools… yay) and then hand screwed them down. If I were to re-make this, I would buy slightly bigger hooks. These aren’t going to be very sturdy. I would also do a better job of cleaning up my pencil lines… as you can see in this image spraying the sealer made them stand out more.
One screw hook I left closed, seen above. The other I opened it up slightly before screwing it to my sign. This way I will be able to detach and reattach the chain.
As for the chain, I split one of the links in half and then squeezed it over the closing screw. That side will always stay attached. The other side, I just cut the chain to the length that I wanted and then hook it into the open screw hook.
Voila! Stall sign complete. It’s not perfect and it’s very obviously home made, but I’m okay with that… and I think Simon is too!