For the art trail, the studio in general and the occasional events I do, I wanted to make some wooden, chalk and painted signs – fun and on brand, and an excuse to get my craft kit out. 

On my list were:

  • An arrow to point people up the stairs towards my studio’s front door
  • An open/closed hanging sign
  • Price signs that I could re-use for events too
  • Social media follow signs and a bit of info about brand photography (as the focus of this event was art, but obviously I use my space for both). 
  • Price lists (which I always print to make sure they’re up to date, but the thrifted frames I use for them could do with some love)

I’d previously bought some wooden blanks from Hobbycraft and The Works, so on the first sunny afternoon we’ve had for ages, set up in the garden to do some wood burning:

I am a total woodburning novice, so after watching some Youtube videos, sketched out what I wanted on each sign in pencil first. Which actually took more time than I’d planned, and I’ve realised I should plan these like metal stamping bracelets – count the letters and start from the middle, rather than starting to write and running out of space. 

The actual burning was interesting, as I’d not used my kit enough previously to know which tip I wanted, and of course changing tip involves waiting for it to cool down enough that you don’t hurt yourself or set anything on fire. As the tools get to 350 degrees plus (celsius, for my overseas readers), it is a definite hazard if you’re impatient like me! 

Eventually settled on a rounded tip and after a few false starts, was able to get a reasonable effect. There were some blobs where I left the tip in one place too long, and it took me a while to get the hang of going back and forth to slowly darken the line, but on the whole I was pleased with the results, especially as I plotted to use them as a base for painting over. 

Not sure how well I’d get on with shading and more complex images, but it was a very cheap set and it did what I needed it to so I’m happy for now. 

Next up, painting! I wanted the arrow to stand out against the white wall, especially in the hour or so where it’s kind of dark but not dark enough for the automatic lights to go on. I did an overall wash of one of my favourite pearlescent acrylics, a teal with a coppery undertone, and then once that was dry experimented with a few pens for the lettering. 

The one that worked best was the Frisk chrome marker ( – it wasn’t great on the wood alone, but over a base of acrylic paint it is properly shiny like chrome and does the job beautifully. 

Next on the list was my stand up signs – one each for social media for art (@carlawphoto ) and brand (@catalystcarla ). I wanted these to be in brand colours, so pearlescent acrylic paints agin, in turquoise for brand photography and magenta for art photography. Painted the whole thing and then once dry, filled in the gaps with a smaller brush. 

I wanted the social media handles to stand out, so I used Posca markers for most of the wording, and the Frisk chrome marker for the actual @ tags on each one – and am really pleased with how these came out. Having woodburned the @ tags in beforehand, they stand out much more and I will be using these everywhere I think. The Posca and Frisk markers also hid some of the more blobby woodburning. 

I painted a third one of these stand up wooden signs in pearlescent white acrylic and used a sparkly blue Posca marker to write a short message about brand photography on it – my events are usually for art but it’s nice to be able to show the brand work off at the same events, as people who love either side of my work usually appreciate the other side too. 

Pricing signs were a nice easy set of mini blackboards from the wedding section of Hobbycraft. I tested a few Posca pens and found the thinnest silver one was a good fit, so handwrote each of my products and the pricing and let them dry. I was able to wipe off and re-do when I splodged or made a mistake, but not sure how easy it will be to change these. I don’t have any intention of changing my product pricing soon though so I think that’ll be ok. 

I printed and framed my price lists, but ran out of time to customise the frames, so that’ll be a project for another day. Fortunately the sea green and silver of the thrifted frames I’m using fits relatively well into my brand colours. 

Finally, I had a couple of hanging signs which had no particular purpose, so I woodburned one and painted another. 

Colourful Magical Weirdos Forever is a nod to Swallows & Amazons, and also how finding the people that get you, especially in business, feels like joining an amazing secret club. 

And Mermaids and Unicorns and Magic, Oh My was just a fun addition to the space – and it’s often how I explain the work I make! 

So, that’s all my signage – time for the actual art trail!