Tuesday, April 5, 2011

“Family Motto” Sign

Last year I attended a workshop that talked about families. One of the speakers brought up the idea of having a family motto and displaying it in your home. The idea of a family motto is to have something that you really want your family to incorporate in their lives and live by. That being said, it needs to be short and easy to remember.

Without going into details about each one, she offered a couple of suggestions:
1) “Communicate and Broaden”
2) Learn, WOrk, SerVe, RespEct.
Notice in the second one the highlighted letters spell out “LOVE”?

I loved the second one and was completely drawn to it. So I went home and discussed the matter with my husband. What did we want to emphasize teaching our children that will help them in their lives? We came up with our family motto, but then came the hard part of how to display it in our home.
Should I do a printable? How big? Where should I put it? Etc.

I’m happy to admit, that the solution finally presented itself. Here’s what we came up with:
LEARN: Knowledge is power and we really want to stress learning all our children can, both temporally and spiritually. By learning we grow: academically, creatively, emotionally, etc.
ENJOY: POSITIVE ATTITUDE and being happy. Life is too good to be sad or hold on to negativity. Hopefully, our children can be a positive influence for others and radiate happiness everywhere they go, enjoying this precious gift we call life and living it to its fullest.
SERVE: Helping others. When we forget about ourselves and try to help however we can, we are happier and also bless others. This incorporates a truly selfless attitude, and also institutes hard work. Serving to the best of our abilities and at every opportunity possible.
RESPECT: Always being kind and respectful. Practing good manners and etiquette. Living with honor. Watching our thoughts, words, dress, and actions. Living appropriately.

And last, everything should be done with LOVE, the most important trait of all.

These are just the thoughts my husband and I had about these words, and obviously, we have a lot to work with as we are teaching, but it’s simple enough for our children to remember.

So would you like to make a sign for yourself? The design of mine was inspired by this sign from Cheri of I Am Momma – Hear Me Roar, with a few minor changes that I’ll share with you.

I started out with a piece of 20”x24” piece of plywood, and gave it a good sanding to remove splinters and smooth it out.
Then I painted it with some leftover paint I had on hand – Valspar Mark Twain House Olive. I followed Cheri’s recommendation to water the paint down so the grain of the wood would show through.
Cheri free-handed painting her words on her sign. I am not that talented, so I’m going to share with you two different ways you make stencils.
**Both of mine were done with my Silhouette, but you can certainly do this with an Xacto knife if you don’t have a cutting machine.**
1) Making a stencil with contact paper.
2) Making a stencil with vinyl.

Determine your desired words and letters. I used Garamond font and my letters were all about 3.5” x 4”, except the letters in “Respect”, which were about 2.5” x 3”.

Place a sheet of contact paper on your green cutting mat if using a Silhouette. Smooth out any bubbles. I used a credit card, which worked great.
Run it through your cutting machine. I used the blue cap and set my speed to 3-5 and thickness at 7. It will cut through the paper in some spots, but that’s ok, it’s mostly just important that the contact paper gets cut through everywhere.  Apply transfer tape to the top.
Smoth out any bubbles with your credit card, then flip it over and remove your cutting mat.
Go ahead and remove the paper on the back of the contact paper.
Remove the letters, being sure to leave the little pieces of letters like “A” and “R”.
Arrange the letters on your board.
Remove the transfer tape and you have your stencil, ready for you to paint. Repeat with remaining words.
Now I’ll be honest with you. I did not particularly enjoy working with the contact paper. It was flimsy and difficult to line up because it was clear, but it’s cheap to buy.

I prefer vinyl, however I realize vinyl is more expensive. I needed (5) 8” sheets to make all my stencils, which is just shy of 4 feet of vinyl. I’m pretty sure you can buy vinyl at craft stores like Roberts for about $2/ft. I had some vinyl on hand of colors that I knew I would never use, so I cut some stencils with my Silhouette to proceed.
These are the paint colors I went with.Paint-colors
And got to painting.
Remove all your stencils. Much better than anything I could ever freehand.
I wanted my sign to have a more rustic look to it, so I grabbed my Ralph Lauren Tobacco glaze and applied some. If you don’t have glaze, Cheri gave the recommendation of watering down brown paint and brushing it on top.
The last thing I did was add distress ink to all my edges.
And it’s done!
I’d love to see if you make your own sign or family motto! Hope you guys have a great day and I’ll see you back here tomorrow for a room makeover.


  1. Love your family motto and your "tut" is fabulous! Well done! It is beautiful!!

  2. this is so great! i love it!!!

  3. Great message and great presentation!

  4. I love this and it's a great tutorial too!

  5. I love this! Thanks heaps for the turorial!

  6. I love the idea of a family motto! Thanks for sharing yours and giving me a springboard to jump off and create my own.

  7. love it.....and thanks for the great tute.

  8. It looks so good and is a great motto. I have been talking to my hubby about coming up with one since the beginning of the year. Never quite got it short and easy enough.I love yours. ;-)

  9. Beautiful! I have been tinkering with this all year and love the way your wood grain looks. (I have been using canvas, but you have converted me!) Great color choice!

  10. I just found your blog and am your newest follower. Thanks for creating such an amazing blog full of inspiration. I'll be back often (and I LOVE the sign)!

  11. Your blog title says it all! THIS IS so dang cute!

  12. You definitely have me wanting to make one. I love the mottor you chose, especially that you included LEARN because I never would have thought to, but it's so good! Looks so good! I'm excited to see it on your new shelf :)

  13. Hi Tam! I've put together a round up of awesome sign projects on Craft Gossip today and included your post. :) You can see it here

    If you would like to share the Craft Gossip love and show your visitors you've been featured, you can grab a button here!

  14. I love this sign Tam! You did such a grea job!

  15. Hi,
    I was wondering if you had any problems with bleeding letters? I have done this same technique with vinyl and have found that it frequently bleeds a bit. Any tips? Did you have to retouch the paint after you sencilled?

  16. I am IN LOVE with this project!!
    When I get the guts I am SO going to try this... Will keep you posted! ;)

  17. BRILLIANT. Tell me, any suggestion how can I get a letter guide large enough to be worthwhile without the fancy dealiejobber? My writing leaves a lot to be desired and I need the help. IDEAS????

  18. ps our family motto is (sort of, at least I say it is!) LIVE WELL.

  19. WOW! I just ran a cross your blog and I absolutely luuuuv this project as well as the family motto. My husband and I have been trying to come up with a family motto for our blended family and never really could come up with something simple...although it included all of what you included. Hope you don't mind if I copy this for my family as well :-) It truly says it all. I love the way you creatively displayed it. Ingenius!

  20. This is awesome! Might have to try this one out for my new living room :)


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