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Before we jump into the nitty gritty of this rustic recipe board DIY, we need to start off with this disclaimer: it’s quite tedious, as in it’s been in the works for about a month.

With that said, I am SO excited to share the tutorial.

But first, the inspiration.

Last May-ish, I discovered Thistlewood Farms and immediately fell in love with KarieAnne’s writing and design style. Then, I stumbled upon a tour of her kitchen and I saw this beautiful recipe board that doubled as a plate holder. I frantically searched for the tutorial, found it and added it to the ever-increasing, ongoing list of DIY projects we want to tackle in the near future.

Fast forward to the beginning of December and we FINALLY purchased the plywood to start this baby.

DIY rustic recipe board wall art for the kitchen

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Supplies for the DIY Rustic Recipe Board

We cut the board to the size we wanted, I sanded it down and applied three coats of paint.


Then it sat… and sat. Alone and neglected.

For good reason, I promise – I couldn’t figure out how to transfer the lettering to the board.

Yes, I could do the method I used to make this sign – but my hand cramped up so quickly and the lines are a little hard to see, especially in the evening without natural light.

Spacing text on DIY wooden sign

Thistlewood Farms’ tutorial said something about transferring vinyl lettering, but that didn’t seem feasible because I don’t have a vinyl cutter.


Then I came across this post from 1915 House about transferring images with contact paper and I thought hot damn, this is the answer to my problem!

I picked up this carbon paper, printed out the lettering, taped the lettering to the contact paper [make sure the carbon side is face DOWN… made that mistake more than once.], tape the lettering-contact paper combo to the plywood and trace to your heart’s content.

tracing words onto plywood using carbon paper

This was tedious. This was not really that good of a time.

However, I found it goes much faster when you sit your butt in front of a good show on Netflix and just zone out.

After all the carbon paper tracing is done, remove the paper and you’re left with a beautiful and accurate outline of the lettering.

traced words on plywood sign with carbon paper to make DIY farmhouse sign

Don’t get too excited, because you still have to go over it oneeee more time with either paint or a paint pen. I chose the latter and I can’t scream it from the rooftops loud enough that paint pens are a gift from craft heaven.

I had such a hard time painting in between the lines and making sure everything was accurate and evenly covered.

With the paint pen, it goes on like butter and is SO evenly distributed.

Bottom line, choose the paint pens.

DIY farmhouse plywood sign with letters traced and filled using permanent marker pen

After tracing everything a second time, I went back and forth for about a day about whether or not I wanted to color it all in.

I decided I could give it a test run on the title and even before I finished the first letter I knew I they all needed to be filled in.

So, I found a new show on Netflix, parked my butt in front of the TV and proceeded to color in every. single. letter.


Then I brought the finished product downstairs to lightly sand and distress it to give it a more farmhousey-rustic feel.

distressed farmhouse sign traced using carbon paper and permanent marker pen

Only, it smeared. And not the good kind of smear that makes it look cool.

The bad kind of smear that looks messy and childish.

how to remove smears from permanent marker pen

So I grabbed a paper towel and tested wiping it all down with water.

This kind of worked. I guess enough to haul the sign back upstairs, grab a dish cloth and a cup of water and very carefully wipe away the smears and smudges.

This is tedious. Even more so than tracing and coloring every. single. letter.

After cleaning up the sign as best I could, I brought it back downstairs for a coat of spray paint polyurethane – quick before I accidentally smeared it again.

wiping away smears from permanent marker pen using cloth and water


Then I called on Brett to help me add a frame.

We tried one way and it didn’t really look that great. Then we tried another way and knew almost immediately that it wasn’t going to work.

We walked away from it for a bit to think it through.

About three hours later Brett comes up with this great solution.

wood pieces for DIY wooden frame

He cut a long line down the middle of a piece of wood so it created this notch for the frame to go inside. I’m almost positive this has a real name, but we’ll just call it the notch frame.

After he completed each side of the notch frame, I sanded it down with 120 grit sand paper and gave it two coats of stain in espresso.

close up of rustic recipe board for the kitchen


Then we glued and stapled the frame onto the recipe board, added a saw tooth hook to the back and put that baby in it’s rightful place on the kitchen wall.

DIY recipe board wall art in kitchen


Then we called it a day and started a new show on Netflix.

All our best,


  1. Tara @ Lehman Lane

    Thistlewood farms is one of my absolute favorite blogs to follow. This sign is awesome Kelly! I totally want to make one for our kitchen now. I don’t have a vinyl cutter either so I love your tip about the carbon paper.

    • Kelly

      Thank you, Tara!
      The carbon paper worked out really well – I would love to see your finished product if you give it a shot. I am sure it’ll turn out just beautiful 🙂

  2. Lora

    This is sooooooo cool. I am in love! Will be sharing for sure!

    • Kelly

      Awww thank you, Lora! You’re too sweet. ?

  3. Sarah

    This sign is so, so cute!! Perfect for like your grandma’s recipe to have on display. I like the DIY frame, too!

    • Kelly

      Oh thank you, Sarah!

  4. Vanessa @ {nifty thrifty things}

    I really love this sign and might have to copy your idea! Hehe
    Great job!
    XO, Vanessa
    PS: My daughter’s name is Ella. I loove the name. 😉

    • Kelly

      Thank you Vanessa! And by all means, please do copy. I’d love to see how yours turns out!
      P.S. I agree, it’s a great name 🙂

  5. Shani | Sunshine & Munchkins

    This is such a cool DIY! Definitely a labor of love though. It looks fantastic! 🙂

    • Kelly

      Oh thank you, Shani!

  6. Melody

    Kelly, what font did you use for this sign? And where did you find the font? Thanks!

  7. Arlie

    I absolutely LOVE this! I don’t know whether to use your recipe (because I love peanut butter cupcakes) or a peanut butter fudge recipe that was my Mama Flora’s. Either way, I’ve gotta try it! Thanks for sharing this!!

    • North Country Nest

      Thank you, Arlie! I would vote doing something sentimental and who doesn’t love peanut butter fudge?! 😀

  8. Liz

    I am in love with this. Now to find someone patient enough to do this for me! <3

  9. Kari Wagner Hoban

    I ADORE THIS! My grandma’s name was Ella and now my daughter’s name is too. So I am definitely making this. 🙂

    • North Country Nest

      Thank you, Kari! Love that you passed the name down 🙂 Good luck with the project – we’d love to see the finished result!


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