Thursday, July 19, 2012

Shabby Industrial Upcycled Sign

A few months ago, I found some rectangular pieces of galvanized scrap metal which I figured would be perfect for some sort of upcycled or repurposed project. I'm not sure what their original use was, but they had a great folded overhang on the backside, perfect for attaching them to something.

My Upcycled, Scrap Metal Sign.  A unique addition to the front entry!

While scrounging for cool metal scrap, I also found some rusty patina, decorative, "old school", landscape edging/fencing. Remember that stuff?  However, it was falling apart and broken into many pieces.  I figured the neat, squiggly shape of the metal would be great for numerous types of projects. In fact, I originally used those squiggly pieces to create the metal accents for my glass candle holder project (below).

My first use of the squiggly metal pieces were for this candle holder.

With lots left over, I decided to try shaping the pieces into letters. Some pieces were so brittle, they broke when trying to manipulate. However, I was able to achieve a fun, home-loving, catch-phrase . . ."DWELL".

I placed my letters out upon the flat, galvanized piece and with a fine-tipped, black Sharpie marker, began marking dots for drill locations. I drilled on each side of each letter (piece of metal) at both the top and bottom of the letters (or anywhere else necessary to provide good attachment of the letters). I used a fine drill bit with a regular impact drill but a Dremel would surely work as well.

The galvanized metal provided a great, weathered patina for the background.

Be sure you drill on a surface that the drill bit can run into (or through) such as a wooden work bench.  I even use a large, rectangular, plastic, storage tub as a drilling surface for smaller, crafty projects such as this one.  The drill bit runs right through the plastic, eliminating a broken bit (fine or narrow drill bits break easily).  

Be sure to wear Safety Glasses when manipulating rusty metal and when drilling!

A drilled hole to the left and right of the "W" center-point
helps hold the pieces together plus attaches them to the base metal.

Fine jewelry wire in bronze (from Michaels) was used to attach each individual piece to the base metal.  I looped the wire from each left-to-right hole (per metal piece) twice, and then twisted the wire snuggly on the backside. I used wide electrical tape (seen below) to span over each twisted "braid" on the backside so the finished sign would not scratch any wall surface it may hang against.

Wide tape covers the twisted wire locations on the backside of the sign.
It helps protect the wall and you.

Since the piece had the folded-over edge (or overhang) on the backside (seen below), it was easy to wedge a "hanger" of sorts into place for hanging the sign. I actually used a long piece of the same wavy metal from the fencing and carefully shaped it with various flat and needle-nose pliers.  For all who do not have access to such metal pieces, use wire coat hangers.  You can shape one similarly as I've done to create the arched hanging point. Using cutting pliers, you can also cut wire hangers into smaller, workable pieces for creating letters.  Grab them with a pair of cutting pliers where you want to create a break and begin moving the wire up and down until it breaks.  You will have to undo the top braided hook of course beforehand.  Again, wear Safety Glasses!  With the correct type of pliers you can even cut right through the hanger.

The bent metal extends about 1" inward (under the folded edge) from each side of the sign. 

VOILA! A Unique Rustic, Repurposed, Shabby, Industrial, Upcycled Sign 
(or whatever other Style Term seems appropriate . . . "Recycled" perhaps?) 

I had it hanging in my kitchen for quite awhile, but recently decided to move it outdoors to top off the newly added "arbor-esque" beams for my stone, entry columns.

The beams were previously landscaping beams for defining beds. I've had them for about 8 years, used in their intended capacity. When I restained my decks and other, outdoor, wood accents in espresso earlier this year, I felt something needed to be added to the columns to tie the overall look together. The addition of the stained beams was the answer.

The dark espresso really makes all the other surrounding colors more vibrant and really creates a nice finished look. Of course the "DWELL" sign was the fun, finishing touch and it looks 'right-at-home' in its new, outdoor location!

Sharing this at:
The Brambleberry Cottage - Time Travel Thursday
The Shabby Creek Cottage - Transformation Thursday
Somewhat Simple Link Party
At The Picket Fence - Inspiration Friday
The Shabby Nest - Frugal Friday
Funky Junk Interiors - Saturday Nite Special
Rustic Crafts - Rustic, Recycled and Chic Link-Up


  1. Love your recycled "dwell" sign..makes a nice statement for any room or entrance. Clever use for scraped material. Thanks for another creative view/idea.

  2. This is really cool! I love the potential you saw in the fencing pieces. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Carrie. Glad you liked the repurposed landscape wood for the column header. I had to check out your blog since it has the word "repurposing" in the title. LOL. It looks great! Lots of luck with it!

  3. That is an excellent upcycle. Why don't you make another one that says "Swell" to hang at celebrations or for happy events?

    1. Haha. Good Idea. Maybe I'll just make a magnetic "S" to place over the "D" for those happy events. It will become a multi-functional sign.

  4. Replies
    1. Good idea on the "last name" nameplates for front porches!


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