Easy DIY Thanksgiving Paint Project Gets an Update

The Halloween decorations are packed away.  No more scarecrows, witches or bats. No more candy corn.  Just fall decorations left. (Oh I forgot, there is a bag of Snickers and M & M’s left.) Three years ago, I decided I need something new for the mantel so I got my creative juices going and came up with my own easy DIY Thanksgiving paint project.

I love Thanksgiving. I love planning, preparing and of course, eating the Thanksgiving meal.  The smells, turkey roasting, pies baking, dressing and cranberry sauce. I love leftovers: white turkey meat on toasted white bread (The only time during the year I have white bread in the house.). The only thing about Thanksgiving that is challenging is the lack of decorations.  Yes, plenty of pumpkins.  But it’s hard to find much more.  Over the years, Sweet Shark and I have collected a decent amount of pilgrims, Indians, and turkeys, but I’m always looking for more. Sometimes we just have to get creative.

I knew I wanted wood. I knew I wanted letters. I wanted a seasonal word that had meaning and significance. I wanted an easy DIY Thanksgiving paint project that wouldn’t take all weekend and I wanted one that wouldn’t be too expensive. You can take a look at that project. So 3 years ago I made a sign. And then last year to was time to revamp that sign and give it a new look.

Easy DIY Paint Thanksgiving Project Gets an Update

I had seen signs with blocks, in fact we have letters on our mantle that spell our name ~ when it’s not a holiday. But I wanted something more substantial for the mantle. And I wanted something that was easy to put up, store for the other 11 months of the year, and take down. And so I had to make an easy DIY Thanksgiving paint project all my own.

Supplies for this Easy DIY Thanksgiving Paint Project

My word was thankful, well, because it’s the perfect word for Thanksgiving. Some chip letters from Hobby Lobby was the first step.  In order to spell out “thankful”, I had to use three different letter styles. But that was O.K. because it was more interesting than just one style and size ~ and because I had no choice if I wanted “thankful”.

Next I headed over to my neighborhood Lowe’s.  Did you know that Lowe’s keeps scrap lumber? Pieces left that other people didn’t want? I found a piece of plywood behind the wood cutting machine.

Here’s my motto: “Never leave scrap wood at Lowe’s. You never know when or how you could use it in another project.”

I asked the nice man in the lumber department if I could have the scrap piece of wood. I don’t think he understood my project even when I laid my letters out on the floor.  That’s the Lowe’s man’s toes in the picture.  He was studying this real hard.

Thanksgiving DIY wood sign

This piece of scrap wood was the right length, but too wide. The piece was 14 inches X 48 inches and I needed just 10 inches wide. So I smiled real big (We Southern girls know how to flirt when necessary.), and asked the nice man cut it down for me. He cut the wood and told me the wood was free. (Hot dog!) I thanked him, gave him another big smile and got the heck out of Lowe’s.

Making the Sign

Being plywood, the piece was a little rough around the edges so I lightly sanded and wiped it down.

Thanksgiving DIY wood sign

I didn’t want just a plain piece of wood, so I divided the board into about thirds horizontally and drew a line with pencil.

Thanksgiving DIY wood sign

I used Frog tape to create lines that I hoped would look like wood planks from a distance. I said we have to get creative.

Thanksgiving DIY wood sign

For paint, I used all leftover Annie Sloan Chalk Paint since at that time I had plenty of colors on hand.  I used Coco to paint the little lines. After doing an inventory of paint last summer, I threw all that brand away since most of it had either dried up in the jar.

Thanksgiving DIY wood sign

Thanksgiving DIY wood sign

When the Coco was dry, I removed the tape, and painted the entire board with Old White, wiping the paint off right after I brushed it on.  This is one of my favorite techniques.

Thanksgiving DIY wood sign

While the board dried, I laid the letters out to determine the order of paint colors. Next, I started painting the letters with chip brushes.

Easy DIY Thanksgiving Paint Project. How to make a creative decoration for Thanksgiving using chip letters, plywood, and chalk paint.

My colors were: French Linen, Chateau Grey, Duck Egg Blue (Don’t tell Sweet Shark; back then, he thought I painted everything Duck Egg Blue and I did at one time.), Coco and Paris Grey.

Thanksgiving DIY wood sign

After the letters were dry, I placed the them on the board and then used my glue gun to stick each one on.  And that was that.   Perfect for the living room mantle. And I was so happy that my little project turned out so well.

Thankful sign DIY

Thanksgiving DIY wood sign

Thanksgiving DIY wood sign

Thanksgiving DIY wood sign

The Finished Easy DIY Thanksgiving Paint Project

Here’s what the mantle looked like the first year ~ with Pilgrims and Indians, mini white pumpkins and faux fall leaves.

And here is what it looked like in 2016.  It’s not very different.

How I Decorated Our House to Enjoy for Thanksgiving. Sharing our Thanksgiving vignettes of turkeys, pilgrims, and pumpkins on a little home tour.

Updating the Thankful Sign for 2017

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience to products that I love, use and recommend. If you should purchase any product, I may receive compensation, but you don’t pay one penny more.

Last year I wanted something a little different. I was tired of the neutral letters and I wanted a bolder look for the wood sign. So I decided to paint the letters black. First, I used Frog Tape around the letters as much as possible to keep the black paint off the board. Since some of the letters are script and curvy, I didn’t completely tape them off. It is a little tedious.

Thanksgiving DIY wood sign

I used Amy Howard at Home One Step Paint in Black to repaint the letters.

Thanksgiving DIY wood sign

I started with a flat 1~inch wide brush on the flat side of the larger letters; then I switched to a very small brush for the curvy, thin letters and small places on the letters.

Thanksgiving DIY wood sign

Thankful sign DIY

Thankful sign DIY

Since One Step Paint dries so quickly, I was done with the letters in about 30 minutes.

Thankful sign DIY

Decorating the Mantle with my Updated Thanksgiving Sign

Continuing my use of aqua and turquoise in 2017, I left my sea glass bottles on the mantle (they’ve been there since September) and added one cotton stem branch and  1 sprig of fall berries. I then added  3 of my turquoise glass pumpkins from Hobby Lobby, and a couple of tall  pilgrims. And just because I found 2 orange candles in my Thanksgiving stash, I placed those on the 2 tall candlesticks. It’s simple, but definitely says Thanksgiving season is here.

Thankful sign on mantle

Thanksgiving DIY wood sign

I think the “thankful” sign had so much more presence than the previous pale chalk paint letters. I really liked the bolder look. I hope you liked my easy DIY paint project for Thanksgiving. The first one and the update. It didn’t really cost me anything since I already had all  the supplies on hand. You could make this easy DIY Thanksgiving paint project today.

So what I’m going to do for this year’s mantle? I’m working on it as we speak. Stay tuned.





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  1. Hi Carol! Love your Thankful sign and its transformations over the years!!! I like to smile big at the sweet men here at our Lowe’s too. Works well and the best part ~ Lowe’s Texas doesn’t charge for cuts like the one’s in California {Here that, Calif??!}. I have some letters to work on a Christmas sign I ought to pull out…

    Thanks for the sweet ideas and of course I pinned to several boards, <3
    Barb 🙂

  2. Carol, I love this sign! I know exactly what you mean about having to sweet talk and smile prettily to get some help from the gentleman at home, LOL. But you are much nicer than I am, I tell mine if you want dinner I need some wood cut, LOL. Dinner won’t taste the same if I happen to be missing a few fingers! 😊

  3. I love your sign with the different sizes and fonts. They make it much more interesting. Both versions were pretty with your mantel decorations.

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