I needed a project for my parents anniversary last spring. They really love receiving handmade, sentimental gifts so after a little Pinterest cruising I decided to do an 'important dates' sign. So I searched for my favorite 'important dates' sign.
This is my method for seeing what everyone is doing. I get to cherry pick the best designs and make my own hybrid or sometimes I fine the 'perfect' version I just want to copy--like the entire Arhaus catalog--or most of Ballard Designs and Pottery Barn, usually.
My favorites were these, which were both Etsy listings so if you like the look of handmade but don't have the time or inclination for it hit these links and support these artisans!
I knew I wanted more of a 'banner' style with separate pieces, which added a lot of work and expense (I used chains and eye hooks) so if it isn't important to you that your project includes free-hanging pieces then I recommend sticking to a single board like the one on the left.
I used 4" cedar fence pickets I purchased at Lowe's for less than $3 each. I trimmed the corners off but you could leave the rectangular shape if you would rather have it simpler like the example on the left (or if you would rather not have to make as many cuts!) I made mine about 18 inches wide.
I then sanded the boards a bit so they weren't quite so rough and stained them CeCe's Kukui Stain & Finish. **If you want to skip sanding and like the look of the example on the left then buy 'finished' wood at the lumber store and you won't have to do as much sanding or prep.**
After the stain was dry I painted them Simply White by CeCe Caldwell's Chalk + Clay Paints. When the paint was dry I sanded it until the boards were as distressed as I wanted them to look.
While the paint was drying I used my Silhouette Machine to cut vinyl for the signs. I used the approximate dates (as much as they could remember) for their first date, engagement and wedding anniversaries. You could draw dates with pencil and go over with a fine brush and paint or use a Sharpie Paint Pen or buy letter stickers in the scrapbooking section of a craft store...so many possible ways to do this part!
After applying the vinyl to the boards I sealed the project with a Matte varnish designed for outdoor use because I wanted them to be able to hang this on the walk-out patio which is covered by a deck but would still be somewhat subject to the elements. Use whatever sealer is appropriate for where your sign will be displayed. CeCe Caldwell's Paints Products makes several finishes with different looks and durability.
Once everything was complete I installed eye hooks on each board and cut chain and attached it at even lengths to each board so they would hang freely. This could also be done with rope or by drilling holes in the board. Again, so many possibilities!