The Pallet Sign Class

I cut back my hours 18 months ago because I felt like I was investing all of my time and energy in other people’s lives and at the end of each work week, I was too short on both to truly invest in my own.  I wanted time with my husband, my family, my dogs, my friends and yah, it sounds selfish, but I wanted more time for me, too.  I wanted a clean house, folded laundry and a green garden.  I wanted a date night.  I wanted to go more places.  I wanted to take classes, learn new things and fill parts of my brain that have nothing to do with the nursing profession.  Life is short, create the life you want and truly live it, right?

I saw this pallet sign class in Februray and had to giggle when the only dates available just happened to be on 3 of the 8 nights I had already been scheduled to work that month.  Oh, the irony!  

I caught a short message on Facebook yesterday that there was still room in the class for last night. So I signed up.  A quick text to a friend and I’d found someone willing to give it a try with me — even though she had no idea what I was talking about when I said it was a pallet sign class — and even after learning that it was a two week class and neither of us could do the second class.  I can’t stress how important it is to have at least a couple friends who can “wing it” on impulse and at the last minute with you.  It helps turn life from a scheduled event into an adventure!

Katie Homann is the smart, articulate and crafty genius behind the class.  She brings an energy into the room that is fun, spirited and knowledgeable. I love being around people that love what they do. She has a community page on Facebook named Reflection with her projects and classes through (Redmond’s Park and Rec).

I think she’s pretty amazing and I love what she creates out of scraps and leftovers.  The class was AWESOME!  She called earlier in the day to make sure she brought the right supplies for me to create exactly what I wanted that night.  When I told her that my friend and I could only make it to the first class; she was cool with it, totally improvised and brought some extra stuff to send home with us so we could finish up our projects at home, even offering her own time and shop to us if we wanted it.

So, because I’ve had more than a few people messaging me about the pallet sign specifics, I thought I’d go over some of the details here – but I still think Katie’s class is the best choice for locals.  She will even do private classes for groups of 5 or more for $40 per person.  Her tips, insight and help is worth the cost of the class alone.  She’s absolutely great — and knows her stuff!

The Basic Instructions:

It’s a little difficult to show you the steps with a mostly finished product but I did my best to “recreate” the moment for you.

I borrowed this pic from her page to show you how she arrives in class.

We started with premade sign boards built from ripped pallets.  Katie went over all the specifics to teach which pallets to look for, how to tear them apart and how she assembles the individual signs.

(Heat treated pallets, a rip saw, a staple gun and a saw to cut everything to length and sander – though she said she’d created the same sign with just a hammer, nails and handsaw and sandpaper.) 

Did I mention she’s amazing?

I can’t get over the hanger.  It’s made with a keyhole router bit and I can’t wait to get one of my own! Until then, any picture frame hanger would work, too.

After choosing our premade sign boards, we chose the paint color for the back ground and learned some dry brushing techniques to maintain the rustic character of some of the wood.  Paint samples, a paint brush and paper towel is all we needed.

Katie also prepared some printed pictures with our names in different fonts to give us options for our design.  She uses a word processor and regular printer.  In class, we flip the paper over and coat the back with regular #2 pencil graphite.  In theory, we created our own transfer paper.  We cut up the designs and taped them to our boards the way we wanted them. We then used a ballpoint pen to outline the design, creating light transfer lines on our boards. Easy peasy but a little time consuming so it was nice to be able to finish up at home.

I was a little surprised that Katie prefers using a Sharpie to fill in the design.  She has also used a tiny paintbrush, but after seeing several samples of each and knowing my patience level with painting straight lines, I was all about using the Sharpie.  It gives the lettering a nice sheen and was pretty easy to use.

When the ink or paint is nice and dry, I went over it lightly with 150 grain sandpaper to give it a bit of a distressed look.  (Remember to go with the grain so you don’t mess up your beautiful art!)
You can stop here if you’d like.
I almost did — but I really like the aged and weathered look that glazing gives a piece, so I went on.  I applied a light coat of glaze with one rag and quickly wiped it off with another dry one to keep the coat light.  
And … drumroll please:
I love it and think I might get a group of gals together to host one of Katie’s private lessons — with wine drinking and cheese nibbling.  Who’s in?
One last pic just to show some size perspective to those who were inquiring.  
Lol – The next time you see this wall it might just be covered — ooooohhhhhhh!  Think of all the wonderful wine quotes that could fill this spot…  I think my imagination just exploded with ideas.  If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the shop, er, I mean garage…

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