Hey Friends…The blog looks a little different today…It’s been taken over by a Man! Seriously. Who better to share a project for Father’s Day than a father himself! Please welcome Matt from Home Daddys who’s here to share how he made a Fun sign using materials we all probably have around the house. Better yet, let the kids make one!
Father’s Day Nuts and Bolts Sign Tutorial
Every dad seems to have that one word or phrase that encompasses all of their fatherly wisdom. For my dad, it was all “work.” My formative years were filled with advice on how to work harder, how to put in work, the virtues of working smarter and why I shouldn’t bother my old man when he was working. So this Father’s Day I thought it would be fun to make my dad a sign for his workshop that represented his unofficial favorite word.
Originally I was just going to stencil the word “WORK” on some plywood and call it a day. But then I realized that had been done a thousand times before so I decided to go a different route and make him a typographic collage kind of thing out of a myriad of nuts, bolts, nails and screws. After all, what’s more workshop-appropriate than a sign made from workshop hardware? So I went out and bought some burlap and some hardware and got to… well… work.
This wasn’t necessarily the easiest project in the world but now that it’s done I’m really happy with it. It’s a great decorative gift that any DIY-obsessed father in your life is sure to love. So with that said, here’s how to make your own.
It’d be great if you had a fully stocked garage to help you start this project. If you don’t, though, then you can do what I did and just purchase some screws, nuts and bolts from Home Depot. Here’s a look at some of the stuff that I used:
2” Construction Screws
5/16” x 2” Lag Bolts
2” Framing Nails
1” Picture Nails
Assorted Wing Nuts (Sizes #6-#10)
Assorted Hex Nuts (Sizes #6-#10)
Assorted Washers (Sizes #6, #8, #10 and 1/2”)
#208 Eye Bolts
#5 Corrugated Joint Fasteners
An 11” x 4” Picture Frame with Removable Glass
A Piece of Burlap Larger than 11” x 4”
Fixative/Epoxy (I mistakenly used Gorilla Glue)
If you’re trying to save money, I suggest picking up a variety pack of nuts and washers like this one from Crown Bolt. It gives you a pretty good selection of sizes to work with for much less than you would pay purchasing everything individually.
I also strongly recommend using something other than Gorilla Glue to attach your nuts and bolts to the burlap backing. Yes, it will hold the metal in place but it also expands and dries tan, which will make your project look sloppy if you aren’t careful. I wasn’t careful. Consequently, I had to spend a lot of time with a nail trying to pick away at the excess glue to make the sign look normal.
If I could do it again, I’d use a clear epoxy or I might even try hot glue. However, if you aren’t concerned about looks and are stubbornly determined to make a sign that’s strong enough to survive an earthquake then by all means use Gorilla Glue.
I started the project by prepping my frame. I removed the glass face and also removed the backing. I threw the glass into a closet and covered the hard backing with some burlap to create a sort of makeshift canvas that I knew would fit perfectly back into the frame.
When that limited amount of prep work was finished, I set about mocking up my letters. This isn’t necessary, but I wanted to make sure that everything looked good before I started slinging glue around.
I should also point out that I am not a naturally coordinated person. If I were doing this all by hand, I would not be able to make evenly sized and spaced letters if my life depended on it. Luckily, this is a weakness that I recognize in myself and so I had the good sense to make a printable template to help with the sizing and spacing of the letters. Here’s a link:
Download this template. Then open it in Adobe Reader and print it as a poster. It should print out in tiled sheets that you can tape together.
Using the template, I laid out all of my hardware until I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted the final letters to look. Then I photographed each letter and placed all of its components in an individually marked bag.
I laid the cutout template on the canvas I made earlier and centered it with some measuring tape. Originally I was just going to trace the letters in pencil and then throw the template away. But then I got worried about not being able to remove pencil marks so I just left the template in place and started gluing stuff down.
Using the photos I took as a guide, I set the edges of the typography by gluing down screws and whatnot onto the canvas until each letter was outlined. Then I removed the template, frantically reset the hardware that I accidentally jostled out of place when pulling off the paper and then filled in the empty spaces with the remaining screws and nuts from the mockup.
It was about this time that I realized Gorilla Glue was a poor choice. It had started to foam up and expand and naturally, I panicked. I grabbed a nail and a razor blade and tried to control the tan apocalypse unfolding before me. Unfortunately, trying to remove excess glue while it was still curing made everything a sticky mess.
I realized that it was better to try to touch it up after it dried. So I let it sit overnight and returned in the morning with a drill and a razor blade. I removed whatever spillover I could and then re-glued some of the parts that had come loose. When that was done, finishing the project was simply a matter of putting the backing into the frame and hanging it up to take pictures.
While I definitely think a clear epoxy or glue will give you a better finish, I don’t think the Gorilla Glue detracts all that much from the final product. Thankfully the tan residue matches the burlap and it gives the whole piece a kind of hand-made feel. It’s not ideal but it’s not a game killer either.
So after a little bit of planning and a lot of learning experiences, I ended up with a great gift to give my dad this holiday. I’m not saying it’s the coolest gift any son has ever given his father but I’m not not saying that it’s the coolest gift any son has ever given his father either. And all you need to pull it off is some hardware, some canvas and some glue. And maybe a printer, too. That would probably help.
Nothing Spells “D.A.D” Like “W.O.R.K”
I’d like to thank Ariean for being awesome and allowing me to share this Father’s Day DIY tutorial with you all. Hopefully you’ll all go out and make your own signs and post pictures of your builds on Pinterest so One Krieger Chick gets famous, as it rightfully should.
Of course, if you want to do something fancier for your old man this holiday you could always try your hand at one of the other tutorials I’ve written. For instance, you could remind him that he always lights up your life by building him an Industrial Pipe Floor Lamp or you could give him the gift of more space in the throne room with a DIY Industrial Pipe Bathroom Shelf. Neither of those is as cool as a sign made out of nuts and bolts and screws, but as a dad myself I think they’re good enough to get the job done. And really, isn’t that what Father’s Day is all about?
Matthew Lyons is a self-proclaimed handyman and blogger for HomeDaddys.com. An Oregon native, he now lives in Eastern Texas with his wife and son. He will never understand the true meaning of Father’s Day but hopes that you enjoy this tutorial.
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