One of my best friends is getting married in September and wanted a guest book that wasn’t a book. Specifically, she liked this Rustic Laurel Guest Book from Peachwik. However, for the size she’d need for her all her guests to sign, it would have cost near $100, which was out of the budget just for a guest log. But I knew I could make it cheaper anyways.
The original was a canvas print made to look like wood. My DIY is an actual board but coated.
I started with a 20-inch by 30-inch piece of scrap plywood my dad had in his barn. (Thanks, Dad!) Then, to cover the ugly old plywood pattern, I bought a roll of adhesive paper (like you use to line drawers and shelves) in a pretty, rustic pattern. I did two long strips for the front, making sure to line up the edges well like wallpaper, with about an inch wrap-around to the back. I used the edge of a plastic ruler to smooth out any bubbles.
The back probably didn’t need to be covered, but I used the scrap pieces to cover it anyway to keep it from scratching the walls or whatever other surfaces it will be on.
Once the board was prepped it was time to paint. In InDesign or another design software of your choice, I made a stencil for the center logo of the board. The clipart laurel wreath is pretty close to eight inches in diameter, then I download the typeface Wreath via Font Squirrel to write the names and date.
Print the stencil on cardstock/heavy-weight paper. Then, use clear packing tape to cover both sides of the paper. You may want to do multiple layers where there are tight corners. Carefully, use an Exacto knife to cut out the stencil (remember to leave connectors so the stencil doesn’t fall apart on things like “o”s). You can paint in the gaps freehand after.
Since the covering of the board is vinyl in texture, I use a bit of gluestick on the back of where the stencil had writing to keep the letters from shifting. Then, I taped down the edges of the stencil with painter’s tape in the center of the board.
Then, paint away with white acrylic craft paint and a fine point brush. You’ll likely need two main coats before removing the stencil and doing a third coat with touch ups. If you mess up, nail polish remover on a cotton swab can help, just test the back of the board first to make sure you won’t strip the color from the adhesive paper.
For the larger leaves, I made a rough stencil about 2-and-a-half inches long and 1 inch wide, but also free handed ones. I chalked out the outline of where the branches would go first to make sure there would be enough spaces. On the final project, there are about 150 leaves give-or-take a little.
Again, it will likely take two full coats of paint, plus a third of touch-ups.
Lastly, I gave it a good spray down with Mod Podge Matte spray to seal it and make the paint a little easier to write on.
After everyone is done signing, I’ll probably have her give it back for another coat of spray, too, to protect the signatures.
Lastly, on the back side, hammer a sawtooth hanger in each of the top corners.
Now, the countdown to the wedding is on.
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