Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose

Texas forever! The final product of my DIY distressed wood sign.

Texas forever! The final product of my DIY distressed wood sign.

Friday Night Lights has always been one of my favorite shows. And its signature line–“Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose”–is something I’ve always thought would make a great craft. 

While looking for apartment-decorating inspiration on Etsy and on various sites, I found the perfect sign — for $175.00.

That’s about $175.00 more than I was willing to pay for a few boards of distressed wood, some nails, and some washed-out paint.

But it was just a craft. And I knew I could do it bigger, for cheaper, and make it tailored to how I wanted it.

Plus, I really needed something to fill those blank walls in my apartment.

So I set to it.

I drove to Home Depot, accepting I’d just once again be the crazy crafter looking for lumber. Thankfully, this time, I was able to cut a 6’x8″x1″ piece of lumber myself. Yes, with a saw! And no, no one had to offer to help me! This was a very proud moment.

After finding the wood stain I liked–a grey color called sunwashed–I then scoured the oops rack of paint, settling on a 50 cent jar of cream-colored paint. It wasn’t exactly the shade I had been going for, but I wasn’t about to pass up a bargain like that. I returned to the lumber section and grabbed two small square dowels to secure the boards.

Once in my crafting studio (read: my back deck), I started hammering, knocking, sanding, and distressing the wood as best I could.

Before beginning, I was most concerned about staining the wood, but after some expert help from Abby’s fiance, Nathan, I had all the tricks. After each pass of the stain–which I applied very unevenly–I wiped down with a rag to ensure it wouldn’t pool up and you would still be able to see the wood. I ended up using three coats to get the vintage, weathered look I was searching for, and at Nathan’s insistence, waited a full 48hrs before applying the paint. I’m impatient and without his tip, I would have painted as soon as the last bit of stain dried and the paint would not have stuck.

After the boards were stained, I sanded down all the edges and parts of the boards themselves and added a few more nicks. I flipped over the boards and took two dowels, nailing them to hold the three boards together.

I then taped my stencil to the board and used a paper towel to dab the paint over the stencil. The paper towel helped the paint apply unevenly and faded, which looked better than had thought it would. I was so happy with the final product — and so happy I saved nearly $150 from Etsy! Even a clumsy crafter like me can do

And voici! Texas forever.

Follow my step-by-step photo tutorial below and check out my other crafts:
DIY string state maps | DIY Instagram coasters | DIY string map


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