Monday, June 14, 2010

Signs of a Fake

I have three confessions: 1. I have a serious thing for vintage metal sign letters.

Look at all that chippy goodness.

I would put this in my kitchen tomorrow.

You know I want the “H.”

If I could dig through a pile like this, I’d be a happy camper.

2. I’ve gotten impatient about finding the letter I want - “S” - in the color I want - blue, yellow, or red – in the size I want – 12 inches or smaller.

3. Even if I find the magic letter, I’m fairly certain it would cost more than I’m willing to spend. In case you haven’t figured it out, this girl is cheap when it comes to her vintage finds!

So, I decided to fake it.

First, I picked up a white woodish letter “s” at Ben Franklin. It was only a few bucks.

Next, I sanded it a bit and gave it two coats of metallic silver spray paint.

I let that dry for an hour, and then mixed up a beachy blue/grey/green using my acrylic paints.

After two coats dried, it looked like this.

Now for the fun - beating it up and making it all chippy!

First, I took a sanding block to it. This gave me some scratchy streaks and let some of the silver paint show through. I also sanded all the edges fairly well.

After this, I took a wet paper towel and wiped a few spots with a fair amount of pressure.
Because the top coat was acrylic, the combo of water and force completely removed the colored paint in these areas. I kept repeating these steps until I liked the look.

I wanted a fairly beat up patina, but you could be gentler and just add a few scratches.

I think this is going to look awesome on the gallery wall I have planned for the stairwell!

Have you ever faked a vintage find?

I'm linking this to:

Thanks for hosting, Gina!

And Frugal Friday, thanks for hosting, Wendy!



The Sisters 4 say MORE is more said...

I want to try this! SO fun.

Tracy said...

I love the colors you chose for this. Cute!

Cara said...

LOVE this!

EvaForeva said...

Totally brilliant! I have an old DIY on my blog on how I "faked" vintage looking hair pins :-)

Christen said...

Very cute! I want to buy some patterned letters from anthropologie that spell out "eat"...

the thrifty ba said...

coming from shabby chic cottage...loving this idea!

Suzanne said...

I didn't know that about acrylic paint and latex~I'll have to try it.

Your S looks great~a very convincing fake!

Nice and Easy Antiques said...

As awesome as the "real" ones!!

Brambleberry Cottage said...

Great idea, Hattie! And economical too. I would love for you to link this post to my Time Travel Thursday or Tips & Tricks linky parties.

You can join in on the fun for all three of my linky parties:


You can get the details here:

Each party runs for six days, so come on by!

Hope to see ya there!
Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage

Sparta Savings said...

I have been trying to figure out to do just what you did for an S, too! Thanks for sharing!

Katie @ {Cowboy}Phraseology said...

love it!

Frau said...

I love it ...I'm always on the hunt for letters and never find what I want. Great idea and I think I can do that.

Theresa @ 612Riverside said...

That is amazing! You did a fantastic job making it look like the real thing. I have a thing for old rusty letters too, well letters of any kind really! Theresa

Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage said...

I love this! I fake signs on barn wood boards. Love the shabby look too!

Elyse said...

love this idea!

way to go.


Yanet @ 3 Sun Kissed Boys said...

Looks cool! I adore big letters as well. The older, chippier, peely looking, the better!!

Elisa and Dusty said...

Thanks for posting this! This is a great idea, I am going to have to copy this. I love the vintage letters, this is extremely cool!

Bonnie@Creative Decorating said...

I am traveling over from Transformation Thursday! I like the fake chippy look! I love the price even better!

Sherrie said...

I am trying this project this weekend!!! Thanks for sharing the instructions. i will show you how it turned out. Thanks.

Sherrie said...

One more comment. How is the s hanging on the wall? Thanks.

Santa's Gift Shoppe and Ideas said...

Love this!!Hi..I’m Barb….I am from Thurs. Trans... I am your newest follower. I hope you will get a chance to visit my blog @
& get inspired by something for your family/home. I hope you will follow me as well. Nice to meet ya new friend!!!

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

This looks fantastic - thanks for the tutorial.

Hattie said...


The letter came with a small carved out hole in the back for it to hang easily on a nail. If it hadn't come this way, I would have probably used strong glue to attach a sawtooth hanger to the back.

Good luck with your project!


Anonymous said...

I, too, love vintage metal signs! Thanks for sharing your "fakery" -- I may have to give it a try!


Stephanie Cameron said...

Great idea for making it look metal! I believe it!!

kirstin & jordan said...

LOVE this- what a terrific way to vintage-ify your letter!
we have a friday fun find party- we'd love it if you'd link to this!

Erin said...

Great idea! I'm not very paint-savy so I love seeing how you do this. Thanks for sharing.

Michelle Vandepol said...

love this! am so doing this!