This project demonstrates a painting technique that creates the look of aged, rotten wood. The below project was actually used for a prop at a Beach Boys concert which we hosted at work in 2005. So while the actual sign reads "Dancing Area," it can easily be applied to Halloween decorations.

Material List:

(1) piece of scrap plywood, jigsaw, 2" paintbrush, small fan brush, brown paint, black paint, white paint. (1) 2"x2" board.

Step 1:

Using a sharpie marker or pencil, quickly rough out the desired shape for the sign onto a piece of scrap plywood. Using a jigsaw, cut out the design. Don't worry about making it perfect because the bad cuts will actually look cool when the sign is finished.

Prime the board with white paint and allow to dry.

Step 2:

Completely paint both sides of the sign with a base coat of brown paint, remembering to paint the edges also. Allow the paint to dry.

Step 3:

Apply a second coat of the brown paint. DO NOT let this layer dry. Move IMMEDIATELY to step 4.

Step 4:

Apply a large glob of your brown paint to a surface where you can mix paint. Now add a smaller amount of your black paint, followed by another small layer of the brown paint. DO NOT MIX THE PAINT.

Step 5:

Drag your 2" brush into the globs of paint. Again, make sure that you DO NOT mix the paint into a single color.

Here is a detail shot of how your brush should look. Notice how the brush shows both black and brown paint that is not mixed.

Step 6:

Apply the paint to the outer edge of the sign face. You will notice that it will be darker than the pure brown coat that you applied in step 3.

Step 7:

Drag the brush across the sign face, allowing it to naturally mix the darker black with the brown. The dryer your brush becomes, the easier it is to create the texture of old wood..

Step 8:

If an area appears too dark, apply more of the brown to the brush and drag it across the dark area until the desired look is attained..

Step 10:

Continue until the sign face is covered as shown above. Allow the paint to dry, then repeat steps 3-10 on the other side. After both sides are dry you can also paint the edges of the sign in the same manner.

Step 11:

Use your white paint and a small brush 9or your finger) to paint the message. I added a black shadow to the letters, but it's not a necessity.

(Note: You don't have to paint the letters on both sides since it will be screwed to a pole in the next step.)

Step 12:

Paint the 2"x2" pole in the same manner and then screw the sign onto the post. Your sign is now complete.

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Also be sure to check out my other personal pages called : The Blackboard! Its jam packed with fun and original stuff.