Huge ‘you are my sunshine’ sign made using stencils (DIY and store bought), a computer and a large piece of mdf. With step-by-step instructions so you can make your own.

I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Plaid and Blueprint Social. The opinions in this post are, as always, my own!

Boy, have I got a project to share with you – I’m practically giddy with excitement for how it turned out! See how we made this DIY You Are My Sunshine sign and make your own too.

WOWZERS! That’s a LOT of “good things”, yes?

It’s all part of a Martha Stewart Mother’s Day campaign we’re participating in with several other bloggers. Our job was to come up with some sort of Mother’s Day craft/home decor/DIY using some of the items in the bag.

You all know we’ve used Martha stuff before, right? Stencils, glitter, paint. We used those things again (especially paint – LOVE the paint – it works on ANYTHING!). But we also got to try out several other good things this time around: the heat tool, stencil film, even the brush and stencil cleaner (which works like a CHARM!). And the foam pouncer tops and dragging brush are crazy handy tools to have!


Wanna see what we came up with?

DIY You Are My Sunshine Sign

Now, I’m not going to lie to you, this project was a TONNE of work. It is a huge piece and there are so many facets to it. But it’s been quite awhile since we tackled something so involved – so we were more than due for something HUGE!


Martha Stewart Products

  • Paint: Aquarium in Pearl, Habanero & Jonquil in Satin (times 2-3 for Jonquil), Yellow Gold in Metallic and Wedding Cake in High Gloss
  • Basic Brush Set; short bristled brush and angled brush
  • Foam Pouncer Tops
  • Roller and Tray
  • Dragging Brush
  • Multipurpose Heat Tool
  • Stencil Film
  • Stencil Adhesive Spray
  • Stencil Tape
  • Adhesive Stencil (flower)

Other Supplies

  • 48″ x 48″ MDF cut to 36″ x 42″ at hardware store
  • Lined Paper
  • Scotch Tape
  • Glass Cutting Board
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Black Paint Marker
  • Walnut Distress Ink
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Sandpaper
  • Hanging Hardware
  • Computer

Because there are multiple steps, I’m going to break the project down into 5 stages for you to make it easier. You know, if you want to DIY your own!



Step 1.

Using the Roller and Tray and the Jonquil (Yellow) paint, roll paint over the entire surface. Repeat. Perhaps repeat twice. To be honest, I knew I wouldn’t have enough Jonquil to cover this massive board three times, so I painted a layer of Chamomile (a brighter yellow) first and then used the Jonquil. If you are shopping for paint, buy 2-3 containers of Jonquil.

Step 2.
While top coat of paint is still wet, use the dragging brush to texturize. I did this mainly to get rid of the roller’s foam texture look.

Step 3.
Wash Roller and Tray and set aside.



Step 1.
I used GIMP to mock up roughly how I wanted my art to look. You can use my pdf (it’s pretty huge) if you’d like to save yourself some time. Just click the mock up below to open pdf, then right click to save. If you want to make your own, the font is Bernard MT Condensed, Condensed.

Step 2.

Using plain (or lined if you don’t have any plain! Ahem!) paper, lay out on your MDF approximately where you letters/words will go.

Step 3.

Now, trace letters/words off of your computer screen. Really! I have used this method – also known as I-don’t-have-a-vinyl-machine method! – many times before. Zoom in to the desired size and just scroll around as necessary to fit.

Step 4.

Using a soft pencil, scribble all over the BACK side of your paper. This is sort of like making carbon paper.

Step 5.

Position paper RIGHT side UP and secure with some scotch tape. Trace over lettering. Take a peek to make sure you are impressing the letters onto your painted MDF. Continue until you’re finished. Discard paper (in the recycling bin of course!).

Step 6.

Using the short bristled brush from the Basic Brush Set and Wedding Cake (white) paint, carefully paint inside pencil lines for all letters. Repeat if necessary (it was for me). Let dry while you complete the next steps.



Step 1.

Using your PDF mock up as a rough visual guide, lightly draw pennant strings with pencil. Erase and adjust if necessary.

Step 2.

Cut a triangle in desired pennant size out of a scrap of paper . Tape to a window and then tape a piece of Stencil Film on top. Trace the triangle with a pencil onto the Stencil Film.

Step 3.

Tape Stencil film to a GLASS cutting board. Use the Multipurpose Heat Tool with the angled tip to cut out the triangle.

Step 4.

Trace the triangle two more times using new Stencil Film each time. This time add a chevron pattern for one and a grain sack stripe to another. Using the Heat Tool and angled tip, cut out just the chevron pattern and the stripes.

Step 5.

Spray backs of stencils with Stencil Adhesive. Apply Stencil Tape to the corners to help hold it down – the Stencil Film tends to roll up, which was the only frustrating thing I found when using the Martha Stewart stuff. Using Roller and Tray (or paper plate if your tray isn’t dry or clean) with more Wedding Cake paint and plain triangle cut-out, paint each pennant white. Let dry.

Step 6.
Using the angled brush from the Basic Brush Set and Wedding Cake (white) paint, carefully paint the pennant strings. Let dry.

Step 7.

Using the other stencil cut-outs and an adhesive flower stencil with the Foam Pouncer Tops (on your Habanero, Yellow Gold & Aquarium paints), stencil the colourful parts of your pennants over top of the white. By using metallic and pearl paints, you get a fabulous hint of shine, even after the distressing steps below. Let dry.



This step makes the artwork look more like a vintage old sign. My youngest said it looks like a real old billboard.

Step 1.

Using a black paint marker, draw a drop shadow on each letter and each piece of the pennant banner. Keep in mind a drop shadow only appears to one side. Study old signs or typography if necessary first.


Step 1.
Using your sandpaper wrapped around a sanding block, sand entire painted surface. You want to take the newly painted look right off and remove any thick paint lines.

Step 2.
Rub the Dragging Brush on your Walnut Distress Ink pad. Then starting on the top left drag ink down to the bottom. Repeat, moving to the right and dragging down again. Repeat until you have inked the whole piece. It should look like it’s stained and old, not covered in ink.

Step 3.
Lightly mist the whole piece with water. This adds water marks and more texture to the ink.

Step 4.
Using your fingers (hubby gives me trouble for that!) or a lint-free rag, rub extra ink on the corners and edges.


What do you think? Fun sign, yes?


To find the products I used and other Martha Stewart / Plaid products OR for more crafting ideas visit Plaid on:

· Twitter: (@plaidcrafts)


shannon photo and sig oct 2022

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. This is adorable – I love the way you created the letters without using one of the popular “cutting vinyl machines”! I may try this, but probably on a smaller scale ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I totally get that! This thing is huge! It does fill up a blank spot in our hallway nicely – I can see it from my bedroom!

  2. This is gorgeous! They really look like real painted pennants. I love this sign. Martha Stewarts products are fantastic to use. Shannon, I’ve been looking at all the craft stores trying to find a star stencil. I couldn’t see that Martha does one. Do you know anywhere that may sell them?

    1. Hmm, good question. Like a barn star or another kind of star? You could always try Martha’s Multipurpose Heat Tool and some Stencil Film…you can make literally ANY stencil out that stuff!!!

    2. I want to do kind of a nautical star, but one that could work with the American Flag if I ever decide to paint it on furniture or pillows. That my be a good choice to try that. Did you find the heat tool easy to use?

    3. It was SUPER easy! And I’m a big fraidy cat when it comes to tools and hot stuff! I may or may not be a wee bit clumsy!

  3. Oh my goodness! I LOVE this!!!!!!!!!!!! This will be ALL over Pinterest too! It’s so gorgeous!


  4. I absolutely LOVE this!!! Came out so great! I hope you’d link it up to my party which starts today. I made a “You are my sunshine” printable recently. You should check it out as well. {}

  5. I know exactly how much work went into this project and you must feel really good about it! It looks great! (and that shadow detail…)

  6. WOW!! This is SO gorgeous! I love the huge size of the artwork. The bunting is to die for! You did an amazing job with this campaign! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Oh. WOW. This is absolutely amazing! That sign does indeed bring sunshine into a room. It’s gorgeous!

    You rocked this one… need to look again! Boy, Canada’s got some great talent goin’ on here… ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. So bright and cheery – but still smack dab in my neutral comfort zone because it’s distressed!

  8. Oh my gosh!! I am so excited (and can’t believe) that you did this without a cutter. You know how much my heart jumps at the fact that you shared this tutorial?! OH the projects I can now make!! Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

    The sign is absolutely beautiful, every single element of it. Great job!

  9. Wow!! This is amazing. The best project I’ve seen with the free MS product bloggers have received, by far.

    I just found your blog and I’m in love! Its so cool that you are Cdn. Where abouts are you? I’m in Calgary and I’m just so pleased to find really talented bloggers on this side of the border!

  10. This turned out great. Not only do I love the sign but I love all the accents and furniture in the picture too : )
    I am so stealing your idea on how to transfer images ( I don’t have a vinyl machine either…and probably nevern will). You guys did a great job!
    Helen –

    1. Steal away! The pencil idea is not original – it’s been around for ages! I think we just forget how simple things can be! Have fun!

  11. Hmmm-mission accomplished I guess–makes me want to drive right over to Micheals and get me some more Martha craft supplies! Lol! Great sign–love it!

  12. It is a lovely piece but way too much work for me1 I do like the idea of tracing from the computer screen. I will try that.

    1. It was a lot of work – but so worth it! It makes me smile every time I walk past it – and that means a lot!

    1. In case anyone was wondering, we have no printer, so the computer screen was totally necessary!

  13. Oh my goodness! I want it! ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s beautiful! I love every detail about it! So clever. Your hard work definitely paid off! LOVE it!

  14. Fantastic Shannon! This project turned out really well. I totally thought the pennant was draped over top of your canvas and not painted on!

  15. I LOVE IT!!! Such an adorable project! And I am way jealous that you got all of those Martha Stewart goodies.

  16. That is amazing any one would love it. You did a fabulous job. Maybe someday I will paint one for our home. Thank you for the directions.

  17. I love love Love this! Thank You for sharing all the steps. I wish I were able to make one but I don’t think I can pull it off! Its Gorgeous

  18. Shannon, this is gorgeous! And I like your technique for transferring letters. A lot of people don’t own a Silhouette or equivalent, so it is good to see how to do it “The old fashioned” way ;-). Thanks for joining the parade.

  19. Looks like a lot of work – but it was worth it! It turned out great!!!! Nice job!!!


  20. Guys, I am seriously DYING over this piece. It’s so happy and whimsical. One of my fave DIY blogger pieces of all time! Can you make me one too, lol?!? I am sure it was a tonne of work, but your efforts paid off. It’s amazing. ~Kerri, A Pop of Pretty,

  21. I am in LOVE with your sign!! I would smile all day if this were in my house! I think I might have a new project on my to do list! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

  22. So cute! I have to say I am laughing right now at step 3! Have used that technique many times and didn’t know I others did too(I always secretly felt a little foolish…but not any more!)

    Great tips!

  23. I can’t tell you how much I love this. It is fantastic. I love everything about it. The colors, the size, the saying. Great job. Thanks for sharing!

  24. I’m in love with this art piece! I’m loving the yellow with the red and blue! Beautiful work!

  25. Your amazing art piece has been featured for Functional Friday!

    Thanks so much for stopping by to link up!


  26. This is just about the cutest thing ever, so I featured it today. Thanks for the tutorial and the inspiration!

  27. Girl, this is your BEST. IT’s just so stinking cute!!! Love the colors, words, pennant banner, EVERYTHING. Great work!

  28. I know you have 96 comments so I normally wouldn’t bother adding my two cents, but not only is this project SOOO amazing your tutorial was GREAT. Your tips on tracing off the computer screen and making carbon paper are going to come in handy immediately!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Don’t ever let lots of comments stop you from commenting – we read every single one!!!

  29. Gonna attempt this with a different phrase. Does it need a protective top coat? I’d be nervous not to do one. Also, could you explain how you hung it? Thank you!

    1. We didn’t top coat it. It hangs on the wall and no one touches it, so there really was no need. As for hanging it, we just used those little sawtooth hangers and some nails. Easy peasy!

  30. Love the look of this project, what a great tutorial. Question…can you use a canvas instead of the MDF? T

    1. I’m sure you could use a canvas instead of mdf. Just be gentle with it – canvas tends to “sink” in the middle while you’re working on it. Especially with as many layers as this one. Have fun!

    1. It might. BUT stain has a burn-in affect – which means it gets into the paint (it’s meant to soak into a surface, right?) and can therfore move it around. SO you would very likely mess up your paint. If you really don’t want to use the distress ink (which is not too expensive at Michael’s and lasts quite awhile), I would recommend glaze instead of stain. ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. I love this project! Do you mind sharing how you hung it on the wall. I have some board that will work for this, but its so thin I don’t know what I could use to hang it with. Great job!

  32. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a
    colleague who had been doing a little research on this.
    And he actually ordered me dinner because I discovered it
    for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for
    the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this issue here on your web site.

  33. You are so awesome! I don’t believe I have read a single thing
    like this before. So great to find another person with some unique
    thoughts on this topic. Really.. thanks for starting
    this up. This web site is something that’s needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!

    Also visit my homepage emergency veterinary clinic edmonton

  34. Hiya very nice website!! Man .. Excellent .. Amazing ..
    I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds also? I’m happy
    to search out so many helpful information right here within the
    submit, we need develop extra techniques on this regard,
    thank you for sharing. . . . . .

    my site … Brain Injury Of America

  35. I am really happy to read this web site posts which carries plenty of valuable information, thanks
    for providing such data.

  36. It’s really a cool and helpful piece of information. I’m glad that you just shared this useful information with us.
    Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

    Visit my site great service []

  37. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my website so i came to โ€œreturn the favorโ€.I’m attempting to find
    things to improve my site!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

    Here is my page; criminal defense

  38. It’s difficult to find edicated people in thiis particular subject, but youu sound like you
    know what you’re talking about! Thanks