Craft · DIY Projects · Home Decor

{DIY} Little Man Cave Sign

Little Man Cave Door Sign via {In Our Gumboots} -01

The first time I saw one of these signs it popped up in my feed during a weekend perusal of Pinterest. It was the gorgeous sign below, created and uploaded by the talented Christine Noskowiak {you can find the link to her original Pin here or by clicking the image below}.


Let me tell you, I loved the idea instantly! So cute and quirky and with a rustic twist it would suit our home decor perfectly. I was inspired! Needless to say, I called out to my husband to ask if we had any scrap wood floating around and his first response was, “Are you on Pinterest again?”. Um, did he really need to ask? Anyway, I shuffled off and found loads of off-cuts but, being in love with all things old and vintage, they all looked too clean and perfect. Then I stumbled upon an old wooden crate that I used to display goodies on at markets. I hadn’t used it since my little fella was born so I decided to repurpose it. Off to work I went! This was one of those super easy projects that could be whipped up on a warm afternoon and I was driven by inspiration to create my own version of the project. Unfortunately, it was created before my blogging days so I only have “after” photos to show how I achieved it but hopefully they give you a good idea.

Firstly, I deconstructed my crate. I have to admit that a few months later I was looking for some seriously rustic outdoor storage and I regretted busting up my crate {it had so much character!} but I’m happy that it was for a good cause and I’m now on the lookout for another old crate!

Next, I selected three pieces of wood that were dinged up and imperfect to add loads of character to the sign. I then took a little bit of time to do a gentle sand as the planks were very old and had a fair few splinters poking out. Once the wood was smoothed out nicely it looked more like driftwood which was a bonus!

Back of Little Man Cave sign via {In Our Gumboots}

I dusted off the planks with an old cloth then used the oh-so-technical hot glue gun to join the planks together. Although this worked really well, I wasn’t convinced that the planks would hold long-term so I flipped them over and glued two thick strips of burlap down the back. You could probably use any fabric but I wanted the glue to mould around the threads to create greater stability. Hardware shops sell mini nail plates for connecting wood panels but as it was going to rest against the door I opted for something that wouldn’t scratch the paintwork.

Creating a Little Man Cave sign via {In Our Gumboots}

The next step was to paint the wood white. I loved the idea of blue and white stripes but as my sign already had a panelled effect I decided to keep it simple. I sploshed on some leftover white house paint with a stiff brush {which may, or may not, have been stiff because I failed to wash it properly after I used it last} and left it to dry. When painting the planks I wasn’t too worried about keeping the application even, especially around the edges, but I did go back later and reapply the white to the very centre so that the writing would pop against it! Once it was dry, I lightly sanded around the edges to give it an aged effect.

The next step was to decide what to write. In our household we have a very… I guess you could call it… “free-range” approach to bedrooms. Yes, everybody has their own bedroom to retreat to at night and to store their personal treasures in but when it comes to play areas, everyone has access to everything {with the exception of the little fella and Lego!}. So at the risk of introducing a new concept like “no girls allowed” I thought I’d create a sign without exclusions. Instead I wrote, Charlie’s Lil’ Man Cave. Sweet and simple. I’m a bit of a walking contradiction here because for all my preaching that it had to look rustic and imperfect, I got a little OCD about the lettering. So much so that I jumped onto the website PicMonkey, wrote the words, printed them off and used the good ol’ lead-pencil-rub transfer method to get the letters exactly the right size and in the right possie! Once the words were transferred on, I used blue acrylic paint to trace over the rubbings.

Little Man Cave sign via {In Our Gumboots} -02

My little man’s handprint was next! OCD moment number two… Anyone who has tried to capture a baby’s handprint will understand where I’m coming from here. It is damn near impossible! They feel the paint on their hands and instantly start smooshing it with a fist. Put their hand on the paper and you get a scrunched ball. First attempt: a blob. Second attempt: they only have one finger and two thumbs. Then there’s a head print! It takes a wee bit of patience to nail the handprint so I recommend doing it a few times on a piece {or lots of pieces} of paper then picking the best one. Washable paint is the best and don’t forget to wash their hands as soon as you’re done so they don’t get overly enthusiastic and start finger painting floors and walls! I then used the same lead-pencil-rub method to transfer the handprint to the wood then painted over it.

Once it was all dry, I flipped it over and attached some Brown twine. When I was finished I had a perfectly imperfect Little Man Cave sign! I’ve made a few of these now for friends and family as they make great baby shower or “Welcome to the World” gifts. I love the rustic feel and no man is too little for their own man cave!




Have you made your own rustic sign? Please feel free to share your link below!


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