I love making apple desserts, but decorating with apples? That’s not really my style.

When I found this Honeycrisp Apples sign at the Annandale, VA Goodwill store, I brought it home anyway. I liked the shape, the curvy edges, and the price. To me, this was a $1.99 blank canvas!

Goodwill is a great place to find affordable artwork as is, but it is also fun to create your own artwork by upcycling signs – even if you don’t consider yourself an artist. I transformed a large inspiration sign into décor for my porch last year.

The apple sign was even easier because instead of painting freehand, I used a stencil to create the artwork. First, I painted over all of those apples in a pretty shade of blue. It took two coats of paint to fully cover the original design.

While my blue paint was still wet, I added green streaks to the background. I applied very little green paint to the paintbrush and dragged it through the blue paint. I did not go back and forth with my paintbrush like typical painting. I just kept making long dragging motions in one direction until I liked how the green looked, more like combing the paint on. You can always come back with your original color to even out any spots where the second color looks too heavy.

Next, I used a stencil to create boho feathers on the surface. I used a make-up sponge to apply the paint. I find the sponge helps keep the lines more crisp than using a paintbrush over the stencil.

Then I came back with a small artist brush and added wisps of purple, gold, and turquoise blue, generally following the shape of the feathers from the stencil. This is a fun way to embellish stencils without requiring amazing drawing skills.

Finally, I added a line from a poem by Emily Dickinson: Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. It’s my sister’s favorite poem and I think of it whenever I see feathers. Then I think of my sister and I smile. So it was perfect for this little sign.

I don’t worry too much about being perfect in my painting or my lettering. I’m never perfect! So why bother stressing about it? I like the laid-back boho vibe of the sign. It fits my style and the eclectic look I’m trying to create in my home.

Much better than the apples!


Carolyn Becker

Courtney Mickalonis is an artist, teacher, and blogger at u003ca href=u0022http://www.allthingsnewagain.net/u0022u003eAll Things New Againu003c/au003e, a furniture and paint boutique in Leesburg, VA. She finds old furniture that nobody loves anymore and makes it beautiful—and useful—again. Courtney teaches furniture painting classes at their Leesburg studio and hosts The Furniture Painting Friday Show live every Friday at 8 p.m. on the u003ca href=u0022http://www.facebook.com/AllThingsNewAgainu0022u003eAll Things New Again Facebook pageu003c/au003e.