DIY Upcycled Wood Panel Quote Art

Posted by Dani on January 21, 2015

DIY upcycled wood panel quote art via
I love a good upcycle challenge, and when it’s a curbside find – even better!

This wood panel wasn’t actually a curbside find. It was more like an in-the-trash-behind-the-kid’s-school find. I was in the parking lot at the school one day and noticed this gorgeous, distressed wood panel IN THE GARBAGE. Can you imagine? It looks like it must have been used in the art studio. I rescued it pronto, knowing I’d be able to do something fun with it one day.

DIY upcycled wood panel quote art via

You can imagine how happy I was when Decor-Art asked me to use their Americana Multi-Surface Acrylics to upcycle a surface. This scrap wood panel was perfect for an art project. And I especially loved that it came from my girls’ school, which would make the artwork even more special.

DIY upcycled wood panel quote art via

I love the current trend of using graphics to create personalized art because you can choose a message that really resonates with you. I knew I wanted a song lyric, since we are big music lovers in my house. It was actually hard to choose – so many of the songs I love have beautiful lyrics. I settled on an old favourite, Van Morrison’s Into The Mystic. Because what suburban housewife doesn’t have some gyspy soul inside that needs a little rockin’?

Here’s what the wood panel looked like:

DIY upcycled wood panel quote art via

Pretty rough shape, right? Layers of flaking paint, screws, staples, stuck on tape – this wood panel had it all. And I loved it! I couldn’t have distressed anything this perfectly myself. So the background stayed as-is, and all I had to concern myself with was the lettering.

DIY upcycled wood panel quote art via

The Americana Multi-Surface Acrylics were perfect for this project. You may remember that I am an engineer by profession, but you probably don’t know that my first job was in paint formulation. So I know my paint! It’s especially important to choose the right paint for the job if you want it to last, and this well-used wood panel with caked on layers of paint was a bit of a challenge. The Americana Multi-Surface Acrylics sounded perfect because they could be used indoors or out, and applied to just about any surface without primer, including wood, glass, ceramic, plastic, fabric, and metal. I knew this scrap panel would put them to the test!

DIY upcycled wood panel quote art via

The paint went on beautifully, with great coverage. And it was very forgiving, which meant that if a painted line was a little crooked, it was easy to wipe up and repaint. All that was needed was a paper towel and voilà – the paint was gone. Which can come in very handy if it happens to spill on nice wood floors. Which may or may not have happened.

(Yes, I painted this in my living room. Don’t try this at home.)

I’m extra excited that this paint is suited for outdoor use. When the snow finally melts and it’s time to hit the patio this spring, I have a nice long wood wall along my deck that is just calling out for a little decorative touch. Not too many people find art that can go outdoors, but these paints are all you need. So I’ll be thinking of rocking my gypsy soul on the deck this summer!

I found some great tips tricks to make this DIY easier, which I share below so you can make one of these yourself. If you don’t happen to find some scrap wood behind your kid’s school, you can always buy some at your local home reno store. Let your kids go at it if you like the distressed look – I’m sure they know how to destroy it much better than you or I!


DIY Upcycled Wood Panel Quote Art

Scrap wood panel
Americana Multi-Surface Acrylics in Black Tie, Canary, Deep Turquoise, and Orange Sherbet.
Paint brushes, level, pencil, painter’s tape

1. To get some inspiration for your design, use an app like Word Swag to randomize some variations of the quote. This gives you a sense of layout, font type, and colour. Here are a few designs I looked at for inspiration:

DIY upcycled wood panel quote art via

2. Once you decide on a layout, use an app like Over or an online photo editor like PicMonkey to design your quote. I used Over to create the following template:

DIY upcycled wood panel quote art via

3. There are different ways to lay out the quote on your board. You can print your design to scale, cut out the letters, and trace them on with pencil. I happen to have a projector, so I projected the template and outlined the letters in pencil. I moved the projector closer and farther from the board until I got the size I wanted.

4. When you are laying out the letters, use a level to check the top side of the board. Mine was slightly off, so I propped up the bottom corner until the top edge was level. This was important to help get the lettering straight when I projected the quote. I used a level piece of painters tape as a lettering guide.

DIY upcycled wood panel quote art via

5. Once you outline the design in pencil, lay the board flat and paint the letters with Americana Multi-Surface Acrylic paint. I used 2 rough coats so the application was not uniform, which I thought looked best with the distressed look of the board.

DIY upcycled wood panel quote art via

6. That’s it! These paints do not require a sealer, so you’re ready to hang your work of art.

I was really happy with this paint and some of its features. It’s not toxic, self-sealing, and offers a durable hard finish. It has great coverage, and is really easy to work with. And I love the range of colours!

Americana Multi-Surface paint is available in Michaels. Visit the DecoArt Multi-Surface website for more crafting ideas and inspiration.

DIY upcycled wood panel quote art via



This post was kindly sponsored by DecoArt. All opinions, as always, are my own.


15 Responses to “DIY Upcycled Wood Panel Quote Art”

  1. Looks AWESOME!! I love the saying you chose, and all those colors!!

  2. I want that sign!!! How cool?!?

  3. Lian says:

    This is an awesome idea! I might use this idea for my upcoming wedding since my fiance likes upcycling and paint. Thanks, as well, for sharing the apps you used. You’ve given me so many ideas…Thanks so much!

  4. Terri says:

    this is awesome!! You need to make and sell these girl

  5. Fernanda says:

    Wow I love it! It turned out great =D I think I want to make one now.. I love crafts!

  6. That looks SO cool!! Now I have that song in my head though… which isn’t a bad thing….

  7. Shauna says:

    Wow, Dani, looks great! Love the saying too!

  8. Randa @ TBK says:

    This looks great, what a great tutorial. I have used WordSwag for inspiration as well, such a great app. I will try Over for this as well!

    Thanks again!

  9. Angela V says:

    This is SO cool! Love upcycled art, great work!

  10. Jenn says:

    What a beautiful piece of art! I love the idea of taking something ugly and making it BEAUTIFUL!

  11. Christine says:

    Now that’s a one of a kind piece of artwork! Yay for ”garbage” finds that aren’t garbage! The word art is perfect and I really like the colors you used!!

  12. Jenna Em says:

    Wow, you really made that? Fantastic! I think that some people are just born with artistic talent.

  13. What a great idea, it looks great and would grace most walls. Thanks for sharing.

    • Dani says:

      Thanks for your comment! I like that this is an easy way to create personalized art. Anything easy is always a big win with me 😉

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