upcycleddrawersign thumb1

I love injecting a little quirk in my home. I talked last week about the yardstick wall I installed in my mudroom that is a little quirky.  I am a lover of vintage signs… especially when they tell you what to do.  HA!  Signs like do not enter, exit, stop, and slow down are all signs you can find at flea markets but they can be pretty pricey.  I decided to replicate the look of a vintage industrial exit sign with a drawer front. Upcycling at it’s finest! Don’t hesitate to pull over to the side of the road when you see an old dilapidated dresser sitting on the edge.  Those drawer fronts are a perfect backdrop for cool signs.

upcycled drawer sign


Old drawer front

wood filler

primer and roller or spray primer

spray paint (I used Krylon Banner Red, Semi-Flat Black and White)

Silhouette Cameo machine with “exit” studio file

Vinyl and transfer paper

Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape

screwdriver, hammer, rubber mallet

sanding sponge

1.  Start by removing the old hardware from the drawer front with a screwdriver.

old drawer

2.  Next figure out how to remove the drawer front from the existing drawer.  I had to use a rubber mallet to hit the drawer forward to help the loosen the glue and staples.  But each drawer is different.

3.  Apply wood filler to the drawer pull holes.  Sand and repeat a few times until you have a smooth surface.

old drawer patched holes

4.  Apply primer to the drawer front.

DIY exit sign

5.  Once dry, spray the entire drawer with Krylon White paint.

6.  While that is drying cut out your vinyl stencil with your Silhouette Cameo machine.  Once dry apply the “exit” portion of your stencil.  Cover the remaining drawer front with paper and Scotch Blue tape.

vintage exit sign

DIY exit sign tutorial

Tip:  Spray your stencil with a quick coat of the white paint.  This helps with bleed through.  Now the color that will bleed is white instead of the red you will spray in the next step.

how to make a vintage exit sign

7.  Spray the stencil with Krylon Banner Red and remove the vinyl while still wet.  Let it dry.  Apply the vinyl triangles stencil to the left and right of the drawer front.  Cover the rest of the drawer front with paper and tape.

industrial exit sign

8.  Seal that stencil with a light coat of the white spray paint.  Once dry apply black spray paint.  Remove stencil white still wet.

exit sign DIY

handmade exit sign

9.  Once dry use a sanding sponge to scuff up the edges and make it look a tad worn.

how to make an exit sign

exit sign

10.  Flip the sign over and find the middle of the drawer front.  Use a pound-in sawtooth hangar on the back.

sawtooth hangar

Hang it over a doorframe.  I added mine to my mudroom entrance.



exit sign handmade

This post originally appeared on Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores blogContributor-Badge

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  1. you are ever so clever. I have drawer fronts from IKEA’s As Is section and thought of making signs with them but none this cute and of course they are still sitting waiting to be worked on.

  2. That’s a great resource, Katie! I am sure they were dirt cheap. I hope you are inspired to start making some signs. 🙂

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