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DIY Autumn Ombré Sign – Using the Pencil Transfer Method

Autumn | DIY Wooden Signs | Halloween | Thanksgiving | Vinyl, Foil & Stencil Material

Learn how to make a DIY Autumn Ombré Sign to display this fall season! Create an ombré paint effect to mimic the beautiful changing colors, then customize with your favorite autumn activities!

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DIY Autumn Ombre Sign in a yellow mum plant.

It’s autumn! My favorite season is here! I love the cooler weather and the fun activities we do in fall. Whether it’s raking leaves, picking apples or decorating pumpkins, there is so much to do in the fall! I’m in the midst of Christmas crafting but decided to stop and create this DIY Autumn Ombré Sign to put outside our house. It also gave me a good reason to buy one of the pretty mums I have been seeing everywhere!

Autumn ombre sign with fall words painted on it.

I found the sign itself already assembled as a summer porch sign at Joann Fabrics. Making a quick pass through the discounted decor aisles of Joanns has become a habit whenever I’m shopping there. I found this Porch Life sign 70% off, plus a coupon for an additional 20% off….so it was crazy cheap! It was actually a really cute sign as is, but I knew I’d like it more as an autumn or Christmas sign. Since I have very few outdoor decorations for autumn and LOTS of Christmas decorations – autumn won and I created this fun ombre sign to go with my new mum!

I could have created this with my Cricut Explore, either by creating a stencil to use with my outdoor paint or by using my Cricut Outdoor Vinyl. I opted to use the pencil transfer technique and save my vinyl supplies. This method a great alternative to making a stencil but does require a printer. I go over everything in the steps below!

DIY Wooden Sign for Fall

Supplies Needed for DIY Autumn Ombré Sign

  • Wooden sign
    • I found mine at Joann Fabrics. It was originally a beach sign on super clearance. I love buying wooden signs from the seasonal decor sections once they get to 70% off or more.
    • If you are handy with wood, you could definitely make your own.
    • You can also purchase unfinished wooden arrows or purchase an unfinished directional sign.
  • Outdoor Paint and paint brush – I used paint from my Deco Art Patio Paint Set. The colors I used were Geranium Red, Pumpkin, Marigold and a little bit of Sunshine Yellow.
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Access to a printer – at home or at a local printing shop. I used my Epson printer.

Step by Step Tutorial

Step One: Paint the wooden sign.

If you are handy with wood, you could build your own sign. Since I am not super handy with cutting wood, I purchased a pre-assembled sign from Joann Fabrics. Michaels is another great place to check for signs like this on clearance.

Beach directional sign that reads Porch Life is the best life.

To create the ombré effect, start by painting each wooden board a different color with the darkest color at the top and lightest at the bottom. I used my sign with a yellow mum so I had my colors ombré from red to yellow with orange in the middle. I painted my top board with Geranium Red, my middle board with Pumpkin (so perfect!) and my bottom board with Marigold.

Directional sign made up of three wooden boards; the top is painted red, the middle orange and the bottom yellow.

It took me three coats of paint to cover up the words printed on my signs. Then I added another layer of paint with the ombré effect. Add the ombré layer while the third layer of paint is still wet.

To ombré the boards, start by bringing the red paint down to the top of the orange board and the orange paint up to the bottom of the red board. Repeat for the other end of the sign by bringing the yellow paint up to the orange board and the orange paint down to the yellow board. Keep brushing the paint back and forth in long strokes the length of the boards until the colors blend. If the paint from the previous layer has dried, add more of the original color to the boards so you can blend. I did add a little of my lightest yellow color to the very bottom of my sign.

Red paint is applied to the top of the middle sign.

Below you can see my finished ombre boards. They aren’t perfect, but that’s okay! You can faintly see the words from the porch sign peeking through, especially on the yellow board, but once I added my wording, you really couldn’t see it.

The three part directional sign is painted with an ombre effect going from red to yellow.

Step Two: Add the wording to the sign using the pencil transfer technique!

First, use a program like Photoshop or Microsoft Word to write the words you want on your signs. Think of your favorite fall activities and use those! If you are handy on the computer, you can add arrow graphics you find online. Measure your boards and figure out how large your text needs to be. Print your text at that size even if you need several pages.

I used Photoshop to print my wording. After sizing it to 18.5″ in width (my boards measured 21″ wide) I printed it. When the print window opens up, I unchecked “Size to Fit Media” and “Center Image”. This allowed me to move the image around and print it in three sections.

Take note of the “Top” position so each time you move the image over to print it you can line them up. This makes it easier when you start to tape your image together.

Picture of printing box on computer screen showing how to uncheck the center and scale to fit boxes.

Use a ruler to make sure your words line up as you are taping them and don’t slant upward or downward.

Printed text is taped together using a ruler.

Figure out where the wording will go on your sign.

Printed text is taped to the directional sign.

Turn over each piece of paper with wording and, using a pencil, color over the back of the letters.

Pencil is drawn over the back of the printed text.

Lay the paper back onto your board in the spot you’d like. Use a small piece of tape on either side to hold it in place and trace over each letter with a pencil. As you press down, the graphite you colored on the back of the paper will be pressed into the wood, leaving a tracing of your letters!

DIY Autumn Ombre Sign - Using the Pencil Transfer Method

Below you can see my tracing on the first board! It’s a great method for transferring an image or wording!

The printed text is lifted up and text is left traced on the wooden sign in pencil.

Step Four: Use dark brown outdoor paint to paint the wording. Follow the guides you just created with the pencil transfers. I chose to use a fairly small brush so I had lots of control. Take your time and start by outlining the letters and then filling in. I did two coats of paint, letting the first layer dry completely before adding the second.

Dark brown paint is used to paint the letters on the sign.

Text is filled in with dark brown acrylic paint.

Yay, the sign is finished! Read the instructions on the paint you use to see when it is ready to be put outside.

Autumn directional sign is painted in fall colors; sign reads Apple Orchard, Pumpkins and Corn Maze.

Autumn ombre sign goes from red to yellow.

I stuck my sign into my potted mum and love how the golden yellow mum continues the ombre of my sign.

Autumn ombre sign is placed in a yellow mum plant.

I hope you enjoyed this fun autumn-themed craft! You could apply the same ombré painting affect and pencil transfer technique to any sign for any season. I have some fun Halloween crafts to start sharing with you so be sure to visit me again. Last week I shared a spooky Haunted House Slider Card. The new SVG file is now available in my shop :)

Happy Crafting! -Kim

DIY Autumn Ombré Sign.

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