How a paint pen makes my life easier

Have you tried Paint Pens or Markers, yet? They are so easy to use and even stick to Polyurethane without primer. Awesome!

Last week was busy, busy. I made a couple new signs with my paint pen, finished a little shelf refresh in the laundry room, and have been building a little play diner for the boys. Blogging has seriously amped up by productivity and focus. I am finally dedicating more time to my ideas and loving the results. Thanks to everyone who’s been reading my posts! You’ve been so supportive and it really helps me stay motivated.

For years, I’ve been slowly moving through rooms trying to figure out what I think they need to feel ‘finished’. Last week, I finally ‘finished’ the first room in our house, our powder room. We have done so much work in this house, but I have mainly been working on big projects in different rooms and leaving the little stuff for later. I’ve decided 2017 is the year to finish some of the little stuff! The laundry and kitchen are very close to being finished too. I’m going to focus on them for the next month or so and hopefully move them to the ‘to-done’ list.


Disclaimer: Make sure to always read the directions for any products or tools you use while building. Always check for square and double-check those measurements too. Read the full disclaimer.

DIY Sign as kitchen decor
This sign not only fills in an empty space, but it also draws the eye up to the high ceilings and our beautiful new pantry cabinets
Check out these new signs

The kitchen was completely remodeled during the summer of 2016. It just needs a bit of decor and maybe a rug or two, at this point. The gel stain makeover on the counter stools was just the first step to pulling the room together. An all white kitchen is nice, but it can feel a bit cold without the right decor and pops of color.

So, I made a couple new signs for the kitchen to give the room some personalization and a little farmhouse style. The key to getting these done so quickly was the paint pen. I used an Elmer’s Paint Pen with a medium tip for the larger sign and another with a chisel tip for the smaller.

I mock up the font’s in Word or Powerpoint to get the look I want. Print that out and transfer it to the sign with chalk or pencil. Easy, peasy. Then you just use the pencil marks as a guide when going over it with the paint pen. What used to take an hour with paint and brush takes a mere 10 minutes with a paint pen. I love, love, love them.

Wood sign prepped for new quote
This sign looked great in his new home. It just needed a little quote to finish it off
DIY sign after using paint pen
A quick 10 minutes with this paint marker and the sign is ready

The first sign was simple. I had this stained and painted board in the garage just waiting for a new home. The hardest part was deciding what to put on it. I’m not sure why I spend so much time on things that are so easy to replace. I finally decided on a quote from Snow White.

It’s hopefully a little reminder to try to stay happy and positive when one of the kids (or hubby) is grumpy or tired. This parenting gig is hard work, yo. You really have to try not to scream into a pillow when you’re 3-year old has decided to spend the morning testing you. But if I handle it calmly and keep a smile on through it, it can change the attitude of the whole house to a happy one. And I’m definitely happier when I don’t feel like I’ve lost my temper with my little guy.

DIY pencil transfer method
You might remember this technique from art class. Print your text, shade the back of the print with pencil or chalk, trace over the text, and ta-da, your text has transferred to the sign
Wood is cut and ready for sanding
Wood is cut and ready for sanding
Sign after sanding
Front of sign sanded. Edges knocked down to soften the look
Stain applied to wood sign
Minwax’s Jacobean applied as a background effect

The second sign was part of a larger, unfinished board I’m using on the kids diner. I cut it to the size I needed with my Craftsman 10 inch Table Saw. Sanded down the edges and the front of the sign with 120 grit paper using my Dewalt Orbit Sander. I wiped away all the dust and stained the front and edges of the sign with Minwax’s Jacobean.

After a few hours of drying, I covered the front of the sign with Behr’s Latex in Squirrel and added stripes with Behr’s Latex in Polished Pearl. Once that dried, I gave all of the edges a light sanding with a damp sanding block. Wetting the sanding block helps remove the paint in lighter layers. This exposed the stain around the edges to give the sign a little farmhouse style.

After using the paint pen to add the text, I attached a small sawtooth picture hanger to the back. The best tip for using these is to hold the tiny nail with needle nose pliers while hammering it into the wood.

DIY sign painting
Painting is nearly done. I almost always use pencil to guide me
Attaching sawtooth picture hooks
Use needle nose pliers to hold tiny nails while hammering
DIY Sign using Paint Pens
Elmer’s Paint Pens for the win
DIY painted family sign
Farmhouse style painted family sign complete!
Laundry Room shelves get a refresh

Adding a few house plants to the laundry room shelves has given the whole room a fresh look. Plants are just nice. People love them. Moving nature inside seems to relax me. Does it work like that for you? Maybe it reminds me of relaxing times outside, soaking up the sun and fresh air. Maybe it’s just that green is such a beautiful and vibrant color. I don’t know what it is, but plants definitely make a room. I recently read an article about the hot home decor for 2017 and Ivy houseplants made the top 7. There’s your cheap and easy way to get that ‘2017 look’ in your house. 🙂

Laundry Room shelf decor
I’m loving the green of these houseplants with that blue!
Kids Play Diner

Making something for my kids is the best. I get to be creative and experiment with new ideas and colors. The kids always have great ideas to help me out too. Since I told Spencer, my 3-year old, about the diner he’s been talking about his ideas and making menus for me.

Spencer loves DIY. I can tell I have a little builder on my hands. He is always in the garage, trying to use my tools and stealing my wood. Yesterday, the little monkey grabbed his screwdriver and removed my license plates then dismantled a helpless Mickey Mouse Clubhouse bike. Luckily, he’s good at putting things back together and it keeps him busy while I’m trying to get work done. Though, I did have to stop him when he tried unscrewing part of my car’s wheel well. I’m not ready for that, yet!

I’ve framed out the diner with some scrap wood and finished it with mdf and trim. The painting is mostly done, so I am starting to add all of the fun details that will give it that diner look. I was even crazy enough to order a kinda loud bell. But you gotta have one to hit when yelling, ‘Order Up’, right?!

DIY Kids Play Diner
Kids diner project underway. Someone’s excited
DIY Kids Play Diner
Paint and trim on. Check out the finished Kids Play Kitchen.
How to use Paint Pens (markers) to make easy painted quote signs.
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Want to design and paint your own signs? Follow my steps to find, layout, and resize free digital images.

How to find, layout, resize internet images for your DIY art and furniture

Feeling inspired? Want to make your own paint pen signs? Follow the links above to get the things you’ll need from Amazon. Have fun and let me know if you have questions. Or post pictures of your work and tag Abbotts At Home on FB, I’d love to see it!

30 thoughts on “How a paint pen makes my life easier”

  1. I would never have thought to use paint pens for sign making, Stephanie–thanks for the great tip, and thanks for linking up with Vintage Charm!

  2. I have used chalk before but never the pencil. Pinned so I can to try it. Your painted sign is so near and tidy. It looks perfect. Congrats.

  3. What a great idea! I have tried many methods of lettering on my signs; vinyl stenciling, hand painting, etc. and still haven’t found one I absolutely love since there are pros and cons to each. I will have to try this! Thanks for sharing at My Busy Beehives #beeparty! Hope to see you again!

  4. I love your sign Stephanie, the wording is just perfect and it looks so authentic and professional too. I think I need to get me some of those pens, I always seems to mess my signs up when I try paint them.

  5. Love your sign and it looks right at home there! Will have to give this a try. Thank you for all of the great tips!

    Thank you also for sharing your tips with us over at Waste Not Wednesday 🙂

  6. I love paint pens too! So much easier to get lettering done than with a paint brush. Thanks for linking up to #HomeMattersParty

  7. Paint pens are the best! I love how your sign turned out! Thanks for sharing for I DIYed that!

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