Pallet Signs; How I Create My Artwork

One of the most popular questions I get asked is “How do you create your artwork on your signs?” Well today I am going to share with you just that. My way isn’t exactly a beginner way of doing things, but I like my signs to have a hand done quality that I believe gives them more of a personal touch. I have really enjoyed making these signs. It combines my love for graphic design and home decor!

I first create my artwork on the computer. My favorite piece of technology I use is a Wacom tablet. It allows me to create flowing type and helps me illustrate art a little faster. I do all of my illustrating in Adobe Illustrator. This is a custom sign that I did for a wedding. She wanted something that incorporated the fall leaves from her invite, some love birds in a tree and a flowing script font for their last name. Here is the digital artwork I created to show her before I began painting.

Design from Computer

Next I usually take a pallet apart and use the boards to give a rustic worn look. I connect my boards with mending or bracing brackets. I usually get my brackets at Wal Mart or Home Depot. Basically any hardware store would probably have them.

For this specific sign I ended up purchasing the wood at Home Depot (BTW they will cut it there for you too!) It is difficult to find actual pallets that have wood nice enough to stain. I bought pine boards that I distressed with a hammer and other heavy tools. This part was way too fun!

After my boards are all put together, I transferred my artwork by chalking it out on the board. This gave me the freedom to mess up a little and still be able to erase it. If you saw my handwriting, you would understand why this step is necessary. My handwriting is somewhere along the level of a 2nd grader. Maybe even younger. HA!

The artwork that ends up on the board isn’t an exact replicate of the digital version, but I like the line quality it gives drawing it out by hand.

Chalked pallet sign

Finally, I paint over my chalked out lines with paint.

painting over the chalk

Here is the final piece! This sign is probably one of my favorites. Okay, my absolute favorite!! The warm, rich background along with the delicate type is a beautiful combination. I can’t wait for the couple to see it.


I am leaving a little gallery of some of the signs I have done. I have several more that I didn’t get photographed. I am trying to do a better job of photographing them to share. Thank you to all of my supporters! If your interested in your own custom sign, please feel to contact me in the comments below or at