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Not all party decorations are created equal. Some are really easy to make and set up. And others take some extra time, but make a huge impact.
That’s the DIY category I would place a wooden directional sign post in. Although it takes a little extra time to make than some other party decorations, I promise that it’s worth the effort.
My favorite party about a directional sign post is that it adds a very pretty touch to an event. When placed on a blank party landscape, it can boost the rustic charm, elegance or whimsy (like the one we made for our fairy tea party) of your celebration.
Also, a well placed wooden directional sign post can be useful. When you place the arrows pointing in certain directions, they can show guests where the party games, food and even restrooms are located.
You can display this party decoration at lots of different kinds of celebrations. I have seen them used for weddings, birthdays, school events and baby showers.
I made this directional sign post for our woodland fairy tea party. It made a whimsical decoration transporting guests to a fairy hollow. The imaginative locations listed helped guest get in the mood to have tea with the fairies.
It also works with a variety of party themes. You can create one for your camping party, county fair, circus, western party, Harry Potter gathering or Alice and Wonderland tea. They are even fun to use as a holiday decoration. A well designed sign post can showcase locations for a Halloween party or be used as a sign when guests arrive at the North Pole.
Before starting to make your directional sign post project, it’s important to plan out how your sign will look. Once you choose a theme, brainstorm the locations that you would like to use on each arrow.
Think about places that guests might really need to find – such as the name of an activity, the food table, photo booth or restrooms. You can even come up with creative ways to name these locations. A western party might have “Outhouse” for restrooms or a circus party could use “Concessions” for the food area.
You can also make your sign strictly a decoration and use locations that match your theme. For our woodland fairy tea party, I used places like Pixie Hollow and Sunset Meadow. A Harry Potter themed directional sign might include places from the books to bring your event more to life. An Alice and Wonderland sign might have arrows with playful words such as “Up”, “Down” or “Over There”.
Also, think about how you would like each arrow to look. Do you want to paint the arrow, stain the wood or keep it natural? I made each of my arrows a different pastel color to give this sign post a more whimsical look that fit the fairy theme.
Consider how you would like to design the text on each sign. I kept my sign simpler and painted on the words. When creating each sign, I tried to vary how the words looked – script, lowercase letters, all capital letters. Choosing different types of text for each arrow makes each one unique and your final directional sign post more fun.
If you don’t want to paint your wording on, you can also apply vinyl lettering to the arrow. You can find detailed instructions to applying vinyl to wood here.
Another idea is to use a stencil for your lettering. I find stenciling doesn’t have the handmade look that I like on a directional sign post, but it might work for your event.
Lastly, plan how you would like each arrow placed on the final directional sign post. For my sign post, I chose a more flat design with all of the arrows laid out on the front of the wooden stake. Decide which direction you want each arrow to face on the post. This determine how you will add the writing to the sign. If planned incorrectly, you can end up with the final writing upside down.
When placing the arrows all on one side of the post, you can make them lay straight or place them at different angles. How you decide to lay out your arrows should match your party theme. A whimsical party such as a fairy, Alice and Wonderland or Harry Potter celebration might have arrows quite askew. But the arrows on a sign for a western or camping party might lay straight.
Another layout idea is to place the arrows on different sides of the post to make the sign three dimensional. This is a great idea if your directional sign post will be placed at an intersection space at your event and be used to direct guests to different event locations.
The best part, though, is that a directional sign post isn’t that hard to make. You just need a plan, some wood and a bottle of glue. And time… you will definitely need a little bit of time. Especially drying time.
You Will Need
Wooden Arrows (You can purchase pre-made wooden arrows (affiliate) or make them yourself. It depends how handy you are. I looked at the pre-made version first, but realized that they wouldn’t get here in time to make the directional sign post for my event. So, I broke out the saw and cut them myself using a board of wood from the hardware store.)
Paint or Stain for Arrows (unless you decide to leave them natural)
Vinyl Cut Outs of Locations (optional – only if you don’t want to paint them on)
Wood Glue (affiliate)
1. Sand the wooden arrows. If you make the arrows yourself, sanding them so they are smooth and ready for painting is important. If you purchase pre-made wooden arrows (affiliate), check to see if they’ve been sanded upon arrival. They might feel a bit rougher. If so, be sure to go over them once with sandpaper to make sure they are ready for paint.
2. Once your arrows are smooth, paint them. You can also stain them with a wood stain or leave them natural. Let them dry.
3. Add the wording to your arrows. You can paint the words on using different styles of text. You can also add little illustrations or other fun elements to your sign. If painting isn’t your thing, add the words using vinyl cut outs. Check out ideas for applying vinyl to wood here. Another idea is to stencil the letters on if you don’t want hand lettering.
4. Arrange the arrows on the wooden post. For the wooden post, use a long piece of wood. It can be thinner or a bit wider – whatever you have on hand. We had a long piece of wood from another project, so I used that. Just make sure it is long enough to stick into the ground.
When arranging your arrows, start at the top and work your way down the wooden stake. Be sure to leave at least a foot at the bottom of the post to have enough space to put the sign post into the ground.
5. Glue the wooden arrows onto the sign post. Let dry.
Display your directional sign post as a decoration at your event. If the sign post is meant to be functional – such as pointing guests to different even locations – then be sure to place it in a prominent location so guests can find it. The directions won’t help any one if they are placed off to the side or can’t be seen.
I have been wanting to make a directional sign post for an event for years. I am finally glad that I hosted a party where I could use one. It’s a fun way to add a bit of creativity and joy to the celebration. And I can’t wait to create my next one. I promise you. They aren’t too hard to make!