how to make a vintage chevron sign

This weekend, a dear friend of mine had a baby shower for her second {surprise!} little girl coming their way really soon. So what did I do for a gift? I decided to make it. And in the process of making said gift, decided you might want to see a little how-to of the process.

I guess you knew it was coming…with the super trendy chevron patterns all over the place, you knew I had to do something in the painting realm with it all. I usually try to stay away from something super trendy, but, well, if it has an antiqued edge to it, if it looks like it was literally salvaged from an old sign, or cut from the side of a piece of wood, I usually consider it okay to at least try, right? And I confess: I’m kind of obsessed with Chevron. I held out until now, until I could bear it no longer. But thought I would put a little twist on it, all the same, with its varying widths, three color pattern and distressed finish.

random side note before extensive tutorial: check out this rockin’ stump table they had outdoors in their garden partay set up. LOVE.

Wanna see how I did it?

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know I’m kind of obsessed with MDF. In all the materials in all the land of home improvement, MDF is my best friend. So I had a piece already cut to size in my garage. But if you wanted the same, all you have to do is go to your local home improvement store, and ask them to cut it for you. I went for the super thin {.25 inch} and this one just happened to be a 25″ square.

Side note: I also used some old paint for the base coat, that just so happened to be in the bottom of a paint can. It looks just right for that old painted look, because you can literally gloop it on, nice and thick. You can use nice normal paint, of course, but the older paint worked for me.

Taking my t-square across the board, I measured out every five inches, across, and marked it. I then marked, from the other direction, to make sure each piece of tape came to a point, evenly, on the sign, at the cross hairs. This was my initial, and larger chevron pattern. {the one you see in dark green.} Side note: apparently said measuring works better with lime chips and guacamole. And diet Dr. Pepper.

I eyeballed the board, for my smaller shape. I then marked it with my t-square all the way across, and measuring the first distance between the two, repeated the same pattern with more marked areas for me to follow across the board. I taped it off, accordingly.

how did I get that tape to that perfect chevron-esque point? I simply took an exacto and cut where they overlapped in the appropriate area, once both pieces were down. {No, I don’t really cut all awkwardly like that. This is me being a dork and illustrating it for you. Feel special.}

It was actually pretty easy once I got started {cue surprised face}

Then for the fun part: I busted out the paint colors.

Because of the pencil marks on the board after it was taped, I went back over it once more, with more white. {This will be because of the steps listed below.}

When it was dry, the greens were filled in, alternating each shape. Here you see where my two shapes {varying widths of tape} came into play. Emily is going with pink and green for her nursery colors, so I decided to go with two different shades of green-the green being easier to integrate if she changes her mind later on in color schemes for Nora’s big girl room. {Don’t you just love that name?}

I waited a few minutes {all of this varies, I waited about three, depending on the temp of your home, from the time I started the first stripe, to the last one} but I then took a rag and wiped away parts of the center of each stripe. This way the paint was semi dry, and gave a natural, crusty effect when I wiped across.

No rules for this-just wherever you think it looks nice. The white was still there, from my first coats, and when it was dry… I lined it up with my projector.

Once I positioned the words where I thought they would look nice,  and the letters were traced, I painted them in and again, removed some of the paint. Once those letters were dry, I broke out a lighter shade of stain, and going a bit heavier on the sides, did the whole wipe on wipe off bit with my finish.

This gave it a subtle, aged look, and also brought out some of the wonderful no-rules-have-at-it aged look in the white paint. Just a little added production note: make sure you have at least an entire day and a half for your stain to dry completely before wrapping it up for that someone special. I may or may not have had that problem, as I ran out of time before hand.

As always, if you try this one, let me know! I’d love to see it.

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Responses to how to make a vintage chevron sign

  1. Necole says:

    I love this idea. I am thinking pink polka dots!

  2. Pat says:

    Love this! All sorts of variations could be done also as I sit here thinking that I have a piece of MDF in my storage. Thanks so much for sharing!


  3. Shannon Reagan says:

    I know Emily LOVED it. It’s beautiful, classic and fun just like her. Now I can add that to my growing list of things to make.

    • hey shannon!

      shoot me an email with pics re: the last thing you wrote me. I’m sorry for the slow response. They just tend to get buried, in between me, my projects, and the never ending piles of laundry. 😉

  4. Emily W. Thames says:

    Such a great gift! I love having a one-of-a-kind piece to hang in Nora’s room. Every time I look at it, it makes me sigh. You are a talented lady, friend. Thank you SO much!

  5. Karen says:

    What a BeAuTiFuL sign!!! I think this is getting added to my (ever-growing) list of summer projects. It will be PERFECT for the very large blank wall in my 7 yr old’s room!

  6. Holy Amazing! Love it. Love the chevron, love the vintage and adore the name.


  7. Amy says:

    Hey girl can you share the font you used for this? I’ve gotten a projector and all the schnazzieness I’ll need for making this. Going through my fonts now and none satisfy. I’m loving this one :) Thanks!

  8. Yeah! I made it! I used my Silhouette for the first time to make the letters since I couldn’t get my hands on a projector. And, I just realized I messed up – I wasn’t eating chips and guacamole while I was making my sign, which explains why mine isn’t as nice as yours. :)

    Here’s the link to the blog post:

    Thanks so much for the tutorial!

  9. Mandy says:

    I love this! I am going to try to make one similar for my son’s room but would really like to know what font you used. I really like it and would like to use it if possible.

  10. Tiler Grossman says:

    What font did you use for the name?

  11. Amanda says:

    I just made this for my friends daughter. What fun! It really turned out great. Thanks.

  12. Janelle Gawarecki says:

    I just discovered your website! This is exactly the sort of projects that I love to do! Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. Ashley says:

    Loved this so much I had to try my own! No kids though, so I made it a family sign. :)

  14. terri Baker says:


  15. firehead4 says:

    I just adore this!