How to Make a Rustic Longitude-Latitude Sign
It all started with a 11.5 x 36″ board. My dad is an arborist (tree guy) and has boards milled out every so often, so I like to “shop” his barn for pieces. I love the saw marks and character that rough cut wood always has. It isn’t truly old or “reclaimed”, but it has a lot of the same characteristics. It’s also free… which really can’t be beat!
We lightly sanded the board down with 80-grit sandpaper. I didn’t want to remove the saw marks or the patina.
Next I gave it a coat of stain- Early American by Minwax. It brought out the colors beautifully! I wiped it away quickly because the wood was dry and thirsty and I didn’t want the board to be too dark.
Next I googled the longitude and latitude of our favorite vacation spot. I typed them into a photoshop document sized to 8.5 x 11″. I used the “Pottery Barn” font, and sized it to 4″ tall- or 350 pts. As you can see, I tried to maximize paper usage.
After printing, I cut out the pieces of the numbers and arranged them in order.
The next step only really worked out because this was pine, which is a soft wood. I traced the outline of numbers with a pencil, pressing down, which left an imprint of the number in the wood. The grain of the wood naturally pulled the pencil in certain directions, so it wasn’t precise. Also, if you were using hardwood, you would have to cut out a stencil with a machine like a Silhouette, or purchase number stencils.
After I left an imprint of every number, I began to paint using some leftover white chalk paint. I chose chalk paint because it’s thicker, and watery paint would have absorbed into the wood grain. Even the chalk paint absorbed quite a bit!
I outlined the numbers first, then filled that in with paint. I was intentionally going for a rustic look, so I wasn’t too worried about making it perfect. If you like a more streamlined look it would be better to have a completely sanded board and a classic stencil.
This method was a little bit more time consuming than a stencil, but ultimately still a quick project. I was going for “free” by using what I had on hand, and I succeeded!
I am so happy with how it turned out! It’s the perfect rustic accent for our mudroom and reminds us of a favorite family spot!