So I have been making and selling these for about four years now. They're very simple and straight forward, if you can use a drill you can make one! I've shied away from making them recently because essentially you have to go GI Jane in order to separate pallet boards from their base and it just wasn't worth the energy. BUT then my mom decided she wanted one, and I figured I owed her for a few things, so I thought I would walk you through the process!
So the first step is my least favorite, and that's separating the boards from the pallets. I usually use a crowbar and a hammer to pry them off. I also try to use pallets that, if the board is long enough, I can use a saw to loosen up one or two of the ends and then only have to deal with the nails in the middle. I like nail holes in the boards, just not the actual nails.
Next step is making all of your boards approximately the same length. I like the staggered look, so they don't have to be perfect, but if you're lining everything up you may have to try a little harder. Lucky for me, my dad has a table saw that makes this super easy. Christmas present anyone? Too soon?
Then I line up all my boards how I want them arranged, and then flip them over so I am looking at the back side of everything. I screw in each horizontal piece into the vertical board.
I've tried several hanging methods, and this one is my favorite. I screw in two screws halfway into the vertical boards and then wrap metal wire (you can get this in any picture hanging section of a hardware store) and then wrap it several times around the screws twisting the ends. It allows you to hang two nails into a stud (If not please use anchors!) and then adjust it from left to right to get it perfectly centered.
Then we stain it. I like the dark stains, but I've done everything from honey to red, and have even white washed a few. I recommend letting it dry a full 24 hours before doing your lettering. Even if you think it's dry when you're leaning all over it, you'll realize it might not be as much as you think.
Now if you're one of those people who has beautiful handwriting and can just freehand everything, I hate you. I, myself, write like a second grade boy. It's unfortunate, because there is so much more I could do with some good handwriting! Alas, that leaves me to stencil. I recommend tracing the letters with a white colored pencil onto your boards, or painting directly onto your stencil. I do both. I will say I usually start from the bottom right and work my way up, that way I make sure the letters all fit!
And that's it! I have wooden signs all over the house. I have a few ideas for some new ones, but again, I may be bordering on obsessive. So for now I wait. I would love to see what projects your working on, don't forget you can submit your latest DIY to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured on my page! Can't wait to see what you've been doing!