DIY Hand Painted Stall Sign

DIY Hand Painted Stall Sign

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!


35 thoughts on “DIY Hand Painted Stall Sign

  1. I *LOFF* it! I’m totally going to decopauge the Fancy Pony on one, because there is just no way to freehand that look! 😉

  2. OMG. I know what I’m doing this weekend. Though I will not be able to paint a portrait of my horse like that. She’ll just have to make do with rainbow lettering or something.

  3. I love that it’s homemade!! Makes it that much more special. If I had any drawing ability beyond stick figures, I would totally do this myself!!

  4. This is lovely, and I think your Simon portrait is fabulous! Don’t forget about the transfer method using tracing paper. I know a lot of people did that in art class in grade school, and it’s fabulous for transferring text onto a design. I actually use it a lot in my hand-done designs. It makes things so much straighter, uniform, and more professional looking. Of course, you end up drawing the same design about 6 times and your fingers ache, but it’s so worth it. 😉

  5. Love it! Have you seen some of those “pinterest gone wrong” photos? That would totally be the outcome of my attempt- I’m totally uncrafty and get lazy when a project requires detail work. Perhaps I should give it a stab just for the laugh of seeing a photo of yours next to mine :). Nice work!

  6. Great job! I think it looks really good! If I tried to paint any animal, it would look like a blob! LOL…

    I’ve always wanted to try painting letters on wooden signs – I keep seeing all kinds of cute quotes….maybe that is a good winter project. I’m sure I could always sand my little sign and start over if I don’t like it!

    I have a little brass-like plaque for Spencer and my in-laws made me a nice wooden sign. My mother-in-law painted Spencer’s face and my father in law carved Spencer’s name in the wood. Only problem is that they attached antique sleigh bells to the bottom and my horse is afraid of the sound! It is sitting unused in my tack room right now… :-/

  7. I am soooo jealous of your mad talent! You made exactly what I have been looking to get for all of mine! You have a new biz and I should be your first customer 🙂

  8. You did a great job. My friend also hand painted our stall sign. She’s not artistically inclined so I love it for being so different from everyone else’s

  9. This is great! I can’t wait to do it for my horse. And I’m gonna make one for my friends horse when we leave for college 🙂 Also, your horse reminds me of mine! They have similar markings, just on the opposite side of the nose.

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