Learn how I created this Harry Potter directional sign for a friend’s Harry Potter-themed wedding. I created the signs using paint, vinyl, cardstock and stencils.
Hello Crafty Friends! This past September, one of our good friends got married and they celebrated with an all-out Harry Potter-themed wedding! It was beautiful! It was held in the evening at a huge library and they had so many incredible details throughout the wedding. From bouquets made from Harry Potter book pages to individual wands for everyone, the wedding was magical.
When they asked me to help out making signs for the reception, I was super excited to help. They asked me to create a Honeydukes sign for the desert table, a Three Broomsticks sign for the bar and finally a large directional sign for the lobby.
Overall I love how this sign turned out! It was a labor of love, and once the design was created, it took two weeks to create all of the signs during my baby’s nap times. My husband helped figure out how it would stand up – it ended up being 8 feet tall! – and how we would transport it to the wedding – which was out of town.
I thought I would share how I made each sign and how we assembled this massive project. I’m splitting this up into two posts so it isn’t as long – but even so, these are two very long posts, but there are lots of pictures! Enjoy!
How to Create a Directional Sign
Choosing the Places
The first step was to come up with the places we wanted to include on the sign. I worked with my friend and his fiancée to create a list of places from the Harry Potter world. The list included more places than we intended to include so I had some flexibility when it came time to making them.
Below are the places we ended up including in our directional sign:
- Hogwarts Express
- Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes
- Personalized Wedding Sign
- Knockturn Alley
- Quality Quidditch Supplies
- Diagon Alley
- Gringotts Bank
Pre-Cut Wood Signs
Next, I needed to find wooden signs to decorate. I had seen several directional signs on Pinterest with different themes and most looked to be made from hand cut wood in the shape of arrows. I didn’t have the tools or equipment to cut my own wooden signs, so I deciHP Dded it would be easiest to purchase the pre-made wooden signs.
I’m SO glad I went this route of using pre-cut wood signs. I went to Michaels, Joann Fabrics and Hobby Lobby searching for wooden signs. When I made this sign, years ago, they didn’t have as many wooden blanks as they do now. Most of the signs we found were seasonal painted signs that I painted over.
Using pre-made signs meant every sign was completely different and unique. The result was a mis-matched, hodge-podge, directional sign that I think fits perfectly in the world of Harry Potter.
I found the best wooden signs from Michaels! We found two Halloween signs on sale that were perfect. One had a spinning element that I thought would be great for Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and another had a broom attached to it – perfect for Quality Quidditch Supplies.
Creating a Plan
Once I had all of my wooden signs purchased, I arranged them on the floor in the order I thought they looked best. I took a picture and uploaded this into Photoshop and scaled it to size. I was then able to add the text designs on top of the picture in Photoshop to and create the designs and eventually the patterns I would print or turn into SVG cut files.
You do not need to use Photoshop and could instead just take measurements and size your patterns and cut files to fit the size of your signs in Microsoft Word or in your cutting machine software like Cricut Design Space.
These are the main supplies I used to create my signs. I used different methods for creating each sign that I describe under each sign’s section of this post.
- Cricut Explore
- Cricut Stencil Vinyl
- Acrylic Paint
- Printer and pencil for “pencil transfer method”
- Cardstock and chipboard
- Signs: random wooden signs from Michaels, Joann Fabrics and Hobby Lobby
Preparing the Signs
After purchasing all of the random wooden signs from various craft stores, I needed to paint them and, in some cases, alter them a bit. The wooden witch sign I bought needed to have the legs removed. I had found a bag of 2″ wooden planks from Hobby Lobby which needed to be glued together to create the Hogsmeade and Knockturn Ally signs. After the signs were assembled and made into the right shape, I painted some of them using acrylic paint.
Each sign was created a little differently. For some of them, I used my Cricut Explore and either cut the wording out of vinyl or cut it out from stencil material to then use with paint. A few of the signs I made by simply printing out the design onto printer paper and using a pencil transfer method.
If you are wondering where the designs for each sign came from, I created almost all of them in Photoshop using different fonts. It was a little tricky finding the right fonts to use, so I’ve tried to include the fonts I chose in each sign description. I purchased an SVG file from an Etsy shop called, Vertical Designs Photo, that included the SVG files for Olivander’s sign and the Gringott’s logo. (*this SVG file is no longer available on Etsy)
For the Hogsmeade sign, I created the stencil by cutting out the design from cardstock on my Cricut machine. I had to do this in two pieces and then tape them together to make the stencil – at this point I didn’t have a mat long enough to cut the whole thing at once. After the stencil was made, I laid it on the wooden sign and traced it with a Sharpie. I then then filled it in with black acrylic paint. Super easy! It had a rough look which was exactly what I wanted for this sign. I purposefully tried to be heavy handed with the paint in some areas and lighter in others.
Fonts Used: Athelas and Avenir
For the Hogwarts Express sign, I cut everything out of Cricut vinyl. The vinyl worked well on this sign because the wood was smooth. I used scraps of vinyl I already had in my stash so the white and black vinyl on this sign were actually outdoor vinyl and a little glossy. The gold vinyl was from a Metallic Cricut Sampler Pack.
WEASLEYS’ WIZARD WHEEZES
Font Used: Lumos Latino (I added the stars to the “W”s)
This sign was SO FUN to create!! I hadn’t originally intended to include Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, but when I found this Halloween sign at Michaels, it seemed perfect! The little wooden square in the sign turned around from “IN” to “OUT”. I changed it to go from one side of the Weasley logo to the other.
After removing the witches legs, I painted the sign orange and kept the black border. Since I didn’t have purple vinyl, I painted this sign. Transferring the pattern onto the wooden sign was done using the pencil-transfer method. I printed the wording out onto printer paper, covered the back with pencil, and then traced the wording onto the wooden board. You can see this method used on my DIY Watermelon Sign – it works really well and is inexpensive!
After transferring the words, I painted the sign using purple acrylic paint. I added a fun border to the top and bottom of the sign that I saw on a lot of the Weasleys’ posters and products from Harry Potter World.
I created the spinning logo by cutting the two sides of the logo out of orange and purple cardstock on my Cricut and then gluing them down.
The arrow was also created using my Cricut. I cut the arrow out of chip board, painted it purple, and then adhered it to the sign using foam tape so the arrow was raised.
This is one of my favorite signs. I love that the sign is not a perfect rectangle and has so much personality. I never would have been able to create a shape like this or have the spinning logo if I hadn’t found this Halloween sign. It worked out so well! And now I have two wooden witches legs I’ll have to find a new home for :)
Personalized Wedding Sign
Font Used: Qaskin Black
I thought it would be fun to include a directional sign for the wedding with the couple’s name on it. For this sign I used a plain rectangular board and lightly painted it white to look distressed. The inspiration for this sign was Fleur Delacour’s wedding dress from the movie, which was white and black.
I created the words using my Cricut and Black Cricut Vinyl.
Fonts Used: Anglican Text
The Knockturn Alley sign turned out to be trickier than I expected. I couldn’t figure out how to create the hand on the end. After a little trial and error, I ended up finding an image of a pointed finger online. I used the Print then Cut feature on my Cricut to cut this out of white cardstock. Using the general outline of the pointed finger, I then cut out 8 layers of chipboard. I glued the layers of chipboard together, adding the white printed image to the top, and then glued this entire thing to the top edge of my wooden sign.
To cover the seam, I placed the cuff over it that I created from painted chipboard. The words “Knockturn Alley” were cut from off-white vinyl using my cutting machine.
Continue to Part Two
This post covers the first five signs. In the next post, Directional Sign Part Two, I’ll show how I created the final five signs and how we assembled everything. If you’ve read this entire post so far, you can probably tell how much fun I had creating these signs. I don’t often work with wooden signs, so it was a nice change of pace. My Cricut Explore also got a good workout and I became more comfortable using vinyl and stencil material with my machine.
Continue to Harry Potter Directional Sign Part 2