I whipped together a little project to show some Valentine love this weekend using an old fence panel and some paint that I already had on hand. (Disclaimer: This wasn't my original idea... I saw it on Pinterest. Kudos to the crafty one who came up with this first; if I knew who you are, I would give you due credit.)
I started with this old fence panel that I pulled out of the trash:
I pulled off the dead vines growing in between the planks. Then I reinforced the planks with some new support pieces in the back, and cut off the ends to give it a uniform shape and size that I wanted.
Next I hit it lightly with a sander, and brushed it off.
Then I made a stencil out of a roll of painter's brown paper, and taped it into place to paint:
I let it dry for a few minutes in the sun under the ceiling fan in the guest room. I removed the stencil, mixed up some black and white acrylic craft paint to make a gray shade that I liked, and painted "love" on it. (That was the hardest part, but it wasn't as difficult as I expected it to be... I actually contemplated calling an old neighbor who does calligraphy, and then I got a hold of myself and gave it a try myself. It's just a freebie craft project, right?) And then I gave it a light dusting with an aerosol polyeurathane to protect it from the weather.
And -- voila!
Happy Valentine's Day!