12/10 DIY or Die: Elegant, Modern Watercolor Wedding Signage

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Real Bride Shannon Watercolor Wedding Signage Bar Menu

Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photography

With time (and money) running short, I settled on three signs. I wanted to let guests know that we had agreed on a flash-free ceremony, that the little blank puzzle pieces were a guest book alternative and what our limited bar was offering. Many couples opt for directional signs pointing out the bar, photo booth or other fun things. Some have a favorite quote or saying. Regardless of their purpose, these easy, inexpensive pieces will help take the guess work and aimless wandering out of your wedding day.

To get started making these pretty watercolor signs, you’ll need a watercolor-appropriate surface. My original signs were on canvas, but for this how-to, I used a thick watercolor paper. I prefer tube paint and a welled palette over dry colors because you have better control over the shade and consistency. You’ll also need a brush, a straw, a cup of water and a metallic paint pen. Mine has a chisel calligraphy tip because I’m into that sort of thing, but a plain metallic Sharpie will work just fine, too.

DIY Watercolor signs - supplies

Start by selecting and mixing your colors. You can reasonably use anywhere from one to four or five, depending on the look you’re going for. Pro tip: use the straw to draw a little bit of water and drop it into each well. Trying to run water from a faucet takes precision I don’t have, so this gives you plenty of control. You want your colors to opaque, but fully liquified.

DIY Watercolor signs - mixing paint

Using the straw, drop small amounts of water onto your painting surface. Drop it from a distance to get a good splash pattern, or from close to the paper for a neat little pool. Now take the straw and blow against the water. This creates little channels and patterns while spreading the water around. If you have any gaps you want filled in, just use the brush to push the water where you want it to go.

DIY Watercolor signs - wet brush application

Start adding color! Collect some paint onto your brush and lightly touch it to the surface of the water. The paint stays constrained to the existing water, but you can add color wherever you want. As you start adding other colors, use the straw to blow and push the shades together, or just use the brush to blend. If the colors aren’t coming together, add a little water. You’ll have a fair amount of time to work with the wet paint, so decide which technique works best for the appearance you want. Any little puddles of water you don’t want can be eliminated with a paper towel. Don’t blot the surface — just carefully dip a corner into the water and it should wick right into your towel.

DIY Watercolor signs - applying paint

Once you’re satisfied with your colors, let the paint dry completely while laying flat. Drying time depends on the canvas or paper, but shouldn’t take more than an hour.

DIY Watercolor signs - dry paint

Add your text. If you need a boost of confidence, start with a pencil and trace over with the paint pen. If you want guidelines to keep your writing straight, use a pencil to make little dots — not a solid line — and write your message. A nice bold line will show up against the color.

DIY Watercolor signs - writing

And you’re finished! Display your sign in a frame, tear the edge of the paper for a raw look or prop your canvas up on an easel. Regardless, you’ve got a pretty way of letting your guests know what they need to know about your wedding day!

DIY Watercolor signs - finished product

Or, hey, it’s gift-giving season, so if you’re past your wedding like I am, or maybe just too early in the planning process to tackles these kinds of details, you can practice your skillz on some personalized hand-made gifts for family and friends. Wedding aren’t the only thing you can DIY! As always, have fun and see what works for you. Since you can score these pretties on the cheap, take a little time to find out what works best for you!

Are you considering this as a DIY for your wedding? We’d love to see the result! Share in the comments below!