When my grandfather passed away in February this year, my dad helped to clean and move my grandmother from Arizona back to the Midwest. He brought home this large wooden crate and asked if I would like it.
It had the old name for the Indianapolis International Airport stamped on it (Weir Cook Municipal Airport) and was a really cool crate with some history to it. The bottom part of the crate has since become a raised bed in our garden, but I saved the lid. Below is a picture of my kids playing in the crate before it became a garden bed.
This project came about very slowly over the course of several months. I knew I wanted to make as sign but the idea that it should be a Coffee Co. sign came later… That idea was drummed up during a dinner date with my husband.
Zocrates is a screen name my husband used for video-gaming and it’s an original term (aka at the time if you searched the internet for ‘zocrates’ at the time you found nothing) and obviously it’s a play on Greek philosopher name Socrates.
So, the sign has meaning and for multiple reasons.
For my fellow DIY friends, you could make this sign from store bought wood or any lid (think a lid from an old chest, the top of an old dresser or bookcase, or an old cabinet door).
Scour garage sales and flea markets to find a lid or top of your own to use.
I wanted to leave some of the original text so I power-sanded down everything but the words “Nautel Maine.” I thought that would work well with a coffee theme.
It was then stained in a light walnut color:
White paint was added to the border and in the middle. I used some masking tape to tape off a top corner and then added a pop of a light minty- blue color. Then I hand-sanded each area that was painted to add a distressed look.
Then, it’s was time to add hardware. Hooks and some decorative rod-iron brackets. Pre-drill holes and then screw in hardware.
I bought these coffee mugs at an impromptu garage sale stop:
The brown mugs were hand crafted- the initials RW are engraved on the bottom! They were a steal for only $.50 cents each. You never know what you will find at a garage sale! It’s why you always must stop at a garage sale when you see one!
The small wooden cups pictured below were sitting in my drawer for almost two years (I had bought at a grocery store and the press and stick backing never worked), so I glued on this project with some super glue. They add a little depth to the project. They are about 1/4″ thick.
I’m not the best at hand painting text, so I printed out some fonts on Microsoft Word scaled to a few different sizes. It also helps to determine a good layout by moving the printed text around until you find what looks best. So having moveable pieces to experiment with is my big piece of advice for any project with a lot of text or aspects to it.
This is “Harrington” font. For me, it helps to see it in the right size and directly in front of me while I pencil it in. I then outlined in a thin black Sharpie marker and painted over in black acrylic paint. I did not worry about filling every gap with paint, it adds to the weathered look not to.
And the finished product! It’s now on the wall in our kitchen and we love it! It’s a pretty large piece and I had my doubts about that at first, but it’s a statement piece without being too overwhelming.
It also matches the apothecary shelf I refinished for my essential oils and herbs.
I hope you enjoyed this how-to! It may not be the quickest summer project, but it’s fairly easy and something that can be done in the course of a weekend or two.