How to Paint a Lifeguard on Duty Sign

Just in time for the summer season I created a Lifeguard Sign that looks like it's been out in the sun at the beach for years.

Lifeguard on Duty Sign with distressed lettering

I began this project with an old board that had a little white washing on one side. The board is a little wonky, not quite square, and had great knot holes.

I painted the board with Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in Tricycle Red.  The color and the paint is perfect for a beachy, timeworn look. 

Red paint for a lifeguard sign

I like to hand paint my signs so I print out the words I wanted to use on my computer. 

I print the letters in Word using the shadow or outline letters... it saves a lot of ink!

Word lettering with different effects.

Next I use carbon paper and slip it between the wood and the computer print out. I trace over the letters and they come out beautifully on the wood. 

Please visit Tracy's Trinkets & Treasures for my inspiration and another version of this sign. I liked the way Life and Guard were written on the way they were on her sign.

Red sign with outlined letters in pencil

I used Mud Paint to fill in the lettering. I like the texture of the Mud Paint to give me smooth white letters.

White lettering on a red wooden background

When the painted letters were dry, I used an electric sander to sand over the entire sign giving it an old rustic look in minutes.

Distressed white lettering on a red background

I sealed the Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint with Tung Oil. The tung oil darkens the paint and gives the sign protection from the elements. 

Lifeguard on duty sign heavily distressed in red and white

A great sign for indoor coastal decorating our out by the pool...  Now all I need is a pool!

Related Coastal Decorating:

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I am Susan, the author and creator at Homeroad. I am a wife, mother of 4 daughters, and a grandmother of 5 and counting. I am a retired teacher, a DIY blogger and an artist at heart. .