This past September, one of our good friends from college 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 seriously magical. When they asked me to help out making signs for the reception, I was completely giddy! I love Harry Potter and love making things for my friends and family, so I was very excited!
One of the signs they asked for was a directional sign. I had seen several of these on Pinterest and had always thought one would be fun to make – especially if it was Harry Potter-themed! We came up with a list of the places we wanted to include from the Harry Potter world, and then I needed to figure out how to make it! At first I thought it would be nice, and inexpensive, to cut my own wooden boards for the signs. They could be in the shape of arrows and I could make them all from the same type of wood. This would have worked well, except I didn’t really have the tools or equipment necessary to do this.
I decided to do the easiest thing and buy pre-made wooden signs. This was actually really fun to do! The kids and I did some R&D (research and development), which they found really exciting, and scouted out Michaels, Joann Fabrics and Hobby Lobby for wooden signs. We found a different wooden sign for each location and tried to match the feel of the sign to the place. I love that all of the signs are totally different and a complete mod-podge. It seems to fit the world of Harry Potter really well.
The best finds were 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.
After finding all of the signs, I created a design in Photoshop. I laid out all of the signs on the floor and snapped a picture. This was uploaded into Photoshop and sized to scale. Then I added all of the designs for each location to each sign. It worked so well creating the design in Photoshop because I then had patterns for each sign that I could either print off or turn into an SVG cut file to use with my Cricut Explore cutting machine.
I love how this sign turned out! It was a labor of love, and once the design was created, it took two weeks of nap times to create :) 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’d share how I made each sign and how we assembled this massive thing! 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! :)
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. There are SO MANY images online from the movies and from Universal Studios, that it was easy to figure out the look each sign should have. It was a little tricky finding the right fonts to use, I’ve tried to include the fonts in each sign description. I purchased an SVG file from Vertical Designs Photo that included the SVG files for Olivander’s sign and the Gringott’s logo. The pack also came with SVGs for a few other Harry Potter locations, but they didn’t quite fit the sizes of my signs.
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 simply traced it with a Sharpie and then filled it in with black acrylic paint. Super easy! It had a rough look which was not perfect, 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 matte and from a 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, painting seemed like the right way to create 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 haven’t been there personally, but there are TONS of pictures online. That is where I found most of my inspiration for these signs.
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 :)
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 rectanglar board and lightly painted it in white. 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 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.
So that covers the first five signs! In the next post, 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. I’ll be back soon with Part 2!
** Update: Harry Potter Directional Sign Part 2 is now up :)
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