I anticipated summer break more than ever this year, and wanted to honor the joy it brings with a Hand Painted Hello Summer Sign. What does summer mean to me? I do like the popular lemon motif. Ice cream is always good. Watermelons and beach buckets are classics too, but are those things the essence of my summer? No, not really. When I’m not at a softball tournament, or cleaning the Airbnb next door, or swimming and sunbathing with friends, what do I enjoy doing? I can’t wait to curl up in the recliner with my dog and a good book, and watch the world go by (at least until I have to start ordering school books in July).
For inspiration, I put a straw hat on my 10 year-old and told her to grab her favorite summer reading book, and sit in the recliner. I wanted to capture the idea of a person who is all dressed up for summer, but not at the pool or beach. She isn’t at the pool, because she can’t tear herself away from the great book she’s reading. Making sandwiches and packing the beach towels will just have to wait. Her faithful Morkie (Maltese + Yorkie) remains at her side for the duration.
- A sign with a blank back side, or a plain piece of wood
- Hello Summer printed in your favorite font/fonts (font size 200 on Microsoft Word)
- paint colors that fit your favorite summer motif or activity- I used Apple Barrel Caribbean, Black, Petunia Purple, Pure Pink, and Candy Pink as my main colors.
- clear acrylic gloss sealer spray
- 1″ sponge brush, small angle brush, small liner brush
- a photo or picture of your summer theme or activity
I like to make things that are multipurpose. Reversible sewing projects kill two birds with one stone, as do reversible signs. I made an Easter sign with a heart pine floor board we had left over from 10 years ago, when my husband and his dad toenailed our heart pine floors. Why not turn it over, and make a summer sign on the back as well?
Paint the sign with the 1” sponge brush and several coats of Apple Barrel Caribbean. Use a hair dryer to hurry things along. Chose a photograph or picture of your favorite summer activity. Select the paints that coordinate with your photo. I usually buy Apple Barrel. It is readily available at Walmart.
I penciled in the main elements of my photograph, not being overly fussy about things. Paint each section with the small angle brush and solid colors, like a coloring book, as you refer to your photo. With acrylics, you start with the background, or the thing your eye sees last. After you get a solid paint base on the main elements, you add in the details. Photographs, in my opinion, are easier to paint than real objects. You can see the light and shadows more easily.
You can’t always paint things exactly like the photo. I had to shorten the legs and shrink the feet of my “model,” instead of using the actual size in the photograph. I also made her shorts longer, shortened the elbow on one side, and added bigger head rests on the sides of the recliner, so that my chair would obviously look like a recliner, and not a beach chair. I also had to make the arm rests the same size, even though the perspective made them look different in the photo.
For my sign wordage, I chose two different fonts on Microsoft word, selected size 200, then printed them with the landscape orientation. Play around with font types and sizes, until you capture the spirit of what you’re trying to convey.
Rub colored chalk (that contrasts with the sign color) on the back of your printed words. Once you place them on your sign, you may want to tape them in place. I eyeballed mine for placement on this sign, because the painting in the middle made it easy to center everything. Normally, I have to measure to get things exactly right. Trace the letters with the pencil, filling in the centers as you trace. When you remove the paper, you will have a beautiful pattern to paint.
Paint the letters for Hello with the angle brush and Apple Barrel Black. I used the liner brush for the word Summer, because the letters were thin. You may need to paint more than one coat on the letters.
Next, I painted my beautiful dog. I used the small angle brush and a tan base for his basic shape, then made hair with the liner brush and black, off white, and white acrylic paint.
Last of all, I used a mixture of pink and purple paints to paint a starburst around the S in summer.
You’re almost done. Take the sign outside, and spray it with clear acrylic gloss sealer. Unless you’re using gloss acrylics, you need a satin or gloss sheen on top of painted projects when you’re using acrylic paint. Otherwise, your painting will look dry and flat. Acrylics are not the same as chalk paint, which is supposed to look matte. Dry acrylics may photograph okay, but will look dull up close and personal if you don’t apply some type of sealer (do not use matte sealer- it has no sheen).
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