Sunday, July 10

DIY Retro Patio Sign

Sooo, I was noticing that we've got this jigsaw in the garage. And loads of leftover plywood. And I've always got several cans of spraypaint laying around. I put it all together and had an idea.

See how it came together after the jump!

This patio cafe sign was sort of inspired by those old Frosty King drive-ins. They serve Frito boats and strawberry milkshakes and deep-fried burritos. There's one of these old-style drive-ins next to the public swimming pool I used to go to as a kid. Every day during summer, I'd spend hours at the pool. When it closed for the day at 4pm, my sister and I would walk next door to the drive-in and get a vanilla soft-serve ice cream cone.

These are some of my favorite summertime memories. I don't mean to over-romaticize it; I once almost choked to death there during a hamburger eating contest. But despite the greasy table tops and the fact that they never mop the floors, I have a fondness for those old burger joints.

I started with a 1'x2' scrap of plywood. I used a bowl to trace two circles that were meant to be the lenses, then I connected them free-hand with a Sharpie. I decided these looked more like olde-tyme spectacles than 1980's sunglasses, so I changed the shape a bit.
I don't know why Blogger insists on
orienting my pictures sideways.
Then I used the jigsaw to cut the sunglasses out. I'd never even held the jigsaw before, but as it turns out, they're pretty simple to use.
That's better
WARNING: USE SAFETY GLASSES AND EAR PROTECTION AND A CRUCIFIX OR WHATEVER TO PROTECT YOURSELF. Please don't slice off any of your fingers. And if you do, please don't sue me.

I went slowly and carefully, and it all went very well. You'll be fine. If you don't have a jigsaw, you may be able to rent one for a reasonable price. And if you can't be bothered, just borrow one from somebody. They're easy enough to come by.

Anyway, then I spray painted it a cherry red color and painted the lenses in with chalkboard paint. I used a white paint marker to give it a little depth, and that was all!

It took longer for the paint to dry than to draw it and cut it out. For real. This took like, 20 minutes to make. And it's totally cute. I didn't use a stencil, and I didn't mask anything off when I painted it. I wanted it to look handpainted and imperfect, but it would be simple enough to make it look more polished and professionally made, if that's what you're into.

I've still got some plywood left (a LOT) and I've got another idea for a little companion piece to this cafe sign. I hope it turns out well, or I'm going to have to come back and delete this last bit.


  1. Ummm...I hope the sign is not a lie, and that if I go to your house I will get my milkshake. I like vanilla with a little chocolate. Oh yeah, and the sign looks great.

  2. Uhhhhhhh.... I will happily shake some milk for you when you come here. And I will even throw some manner of chocolate in there. I live to make you happy!


  3. I've always been too chicken to try a jigsaw. LOL
    Really cute sign,though! Maybe I'll give it a try. : )

  4. lol Don't be afraid to EMBRACE the jigsaw!! Not literally though!

  5. so cute! love that tiered plant stand, too. it's so cheerful in your space!

  6. Just as cute as can be...I would like a Strawberry Shake and I actually like peanut butter crackers with my shake.:))


Thanks for commenting!! I really do read them all and I greatly appreciate the feedback.