DIY Genre Shelf Signs

Ok, so I’m not entirely sure at the moment what I want to dub this little DIY project as, but I think genre shelf signs will be sufficient for now. I came across this idea while scrolling through Instagram. The Centennial Jr High School Librarian posted some similar signs that were super cute which you can check out here.

After seeing her’s and reading some comments, I couldn’t figure out exactly how she did them, but I knew I could recreate them my own way (and with the help of my husband because he is awesome inspiration!). I showed my husband the pictures so I could figure out the size of the piece of wood I would need. Turns out, we had plenty of 1×4” pieces of pine in the shop. He cut them into different sizes, some 15″ while others begin 21″ in length, with a chop saw. I then took 150 grit sand paper and sanded them a bit to make them smoother. I then grabbed the quart of chalk paint I had that was by Rustoleum and painted about three quick coats on. I had a huge fan going in the shop and I think that helped with dry time, because when I would be done with the first coat for all pieces, I was able to continue on with the second and then the third. After they dried for a little while (maybe an hour or two), I used 220 grit sand paper and smoothed up the paint. Then I hit the top with a paper towel and rubbing alcohol. I don’t think this step is necessary per say, but I think it helps when you go to add the colored heat transfer vinyl (HTV).

Sander and wood
Palm sander for the initial sanding was a must!
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Really digging this chalk paint!

Speaking of HTV, that is the next step. I ordered a huge pack of HTV in tons of colors off Amazon. Now, I will say, this ended up working, but I don’t know if this brand would be my go-to in the future. It got the job done, but I had some slipping and it took trial and error when heating it onto the wood. Anyways, I cut the colors into 3″ strips width wise and then cut them a little shorter in length depending on the length of the piece of wood (if the length of the sign was 15″ then I cut it 14″). IMG_0974.JPG

Here comes the tricky part. I have a clam shell heat press and therefore it wouldn’t really work for the thick wood. I have a friend who lives Nextdoor who has a Cricut press and that came in handy, but wasn’t what did the job the best. What was best? My iron. Yep. I put it on polyester setting (my cotton settings steams) and I used my teflon over the HTV and pressed in short 5 second intervals in sections that were iron width. I did this several times-think 4-5 passes over the whole thing (so 20 seconds total per pass). I then peeled up the plastic that is on top of the vinyl and repeated a few more times. Sometimes the HTV started to come up when I was peeling the plastic layer off, BUT that’s okay! It actually seemed to lay better when that happened and I would simply let it cool for a minute and then press it. IMG_1033.JPG

To heat transfer the lettering or not? I did it both ways-white HTV for the letters and just plain on sticker vinyl, both worked but I think the sticker vinyl was easier and looked better overall. I used my Silhouette machine to cut my letters (I made them about 2.5″ tall) and transfer vinyl to get them on. That’s it!

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Mystery and Scary Stories were HTV lettering and Fairy Tales was just sticker vinyl.

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I do think I will Modge Podge over them so they will hold up for a while and I plan on velcro-ing them to the tops of my bookshelves so they don’t fall over.

I had fun making these! Where there frustrating moments? Uh, yeah! But that’s okay…if it doesn’t challenge you, then it’s not worth it, right? 😉 Let me know if you have any questions! I did make some smaller labels to go on the fronts of each shelf in that genre, but those are just colored paper and white sticker vinyl-easy peasy! ❤️

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Again, all questions are welcome!

11 11❤️ Tara

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