How to Make a Rustic Sign from Paint Sticks – Part One – Sign Base

I am so excited to show you part one of a series of posts for how to make a super easy, super inexpensive sign for your holiday decor! In today’s post, I am going to show you how to make the base of the sign that you can decorate in any way that you want. Over the next few days, I am going to show you different variations of signs that I have made to give you so inspiration for holiday decorating.

All you need for this project is a hot glue gun, some paint or stain, scissors, string or twine, and 10 standard paint sticks. My husband did a lot of painting over the past few summers, so we had a lot of paint sticks at our house that I wanted to use. This project turned out to be the perfect way to use up all of these extra paint sticks while making something cute.


  • 10 Standard Paint Sticks – You can pick these up from the paint department of any store that sells paint by the gallon.
  • Hot Glue Gun and Glue
  • Paint or Stain
  • Scissors – You will use the scissors to cut the paint sticks. If you are not comfortable using your scissors to do this, you could also use garden clippers or a band saw to cut the paint sticks.
  • Twine or string in a coordinating color


Using 8 of the paint sticks, lay the sticks horizontally with the back side facing up towards you. As you lay them down, alternate their directions so the part of the stick with the cut-out portion is on the opposite side (see picture below).

Using your scissors, cut the two remaining paint sticks so they can be laid over the other eight paint sticks without any overhang. Use your hot glue gun to attach these two pieces to the back of the eight paint sticks like shown in the picture below. You want to use plenty of glue and push down firmly to make sure that the support pieces are attached to each individual paint stick.

Paint or stain both sides of your sign with the color of your choosing. For the sign below, I used white chalk paint. I needed to put two coats on each side of the sign to adequately cover the wood. If you are using chalk paint, I recommend using a brush with bristles so you have a paintbrush texture, unlike a sponge brush would provide.

Use a small dab of hot glue on the back of the sign to attach twine or string in the area where the cut-outs in the paint stick handles are located and wrap the twine around the sign until you have covered up most of the gaps in the sign. For the sign below, I used white twine.

Now it is time to decorate your sign! Over the next few days I will be posting several signs that I have made using this method with instructions for how to duplicate them. There are so many different ways you can decorate this basic sign base for an inexpensive, rustic addition to your decor.

If you want to hang your sign up, you can simply attach some additional string or twine to the back of your sign using your hot glue gun. You can also lean your sign up against the wall to display.

I hope this tutorial has inspired you to make your own rustic sign, and I look forward to sharing my designs with you over the next few days. If you have any questions or suggestions, let me know in the comments below.

If you decide to make your own sign using this method, I would love to see it! Be sure to tag me on Facebook or Instagram using @onecraftatatime so I can see what you make!

Happy crafting!

~ Candace 🙂