I looked into renting lawn signs for my husband’s 50th birthday and quickly realized that this will cost you a minimum of $100, but easily up to $200 depending on the package you get. I’m not opposed to spending the money, but I really wasn’t that impressed with some of the themes and/or the quality of the signs. If I was going to put out the cash for a day of fun at the expense of my husband, I would like the theme to at least reflect his personality or something. In the end, I thought I would much rather do something simple like birthday candles and just make them myself.
Do It Yourself Birthday Lawn Greetings:
I figured candles would be quite simple as there really wouldn’t be much to the cutting out other than around the flame. Here’s what I did:
- The first thing I did was purchase 8 sheets of large tag board (28″ X 22″) from the dollar store (I think they were 50 cents each).
- I then divided the sheet by measuring and marking it every 4″ all the way across the 28″ width. So, I ended up with 7 four inch columns per page (I only needed to make one from the 8th sheet).
- I also measured 6″ down from the top of the page and drew a line across the 28″ width, so each “column” consisted of a 6″ rectangle at the top and a larger 16″ candle at the bottom. (16 + 6 = 22″) The top 6″ would later be cut into a flame. If you look carefully, you be able to see my little ticks every 4″ across near the bottom and the line across the top. (Click to enlarge the picture.)
- I then used a combination of tape, paint and markers to make a simple design that ran across the whole page. This meant I only had to decorate 7 full sheets (+1 one more on the 8th sheet) instead of 50 individual candles.
- Once the sheets were decorated and the paint dried (if applicable), I placed 2 sheets together and cut through both layers to make 7 individual rectangles (candles) per sheet. When this step was complete, I randomly cut the tops of the candles into flames. I didn’t worry too much about the exact flame shape as I figured the finished look would be nothing more than a quick look as you drove by. You can see the cut out candles below.
- The next step was to paint the flame (with dollar store acrylics). I originally started with red, yellow and orange, but quickly realized I didn’t need the yellow at all. It was super simple. All I did was squeeze a few dots of each colour (red and orange) onto the flame and then drag a 2″ sponge brush through the colours to blend them. Again, no planning or special technique, just smudged the colours together.
- The final step was to add a wooden skewer to the back of each candle to help them stand in the ground. These were 30″ long and had a point on one end already (for piercing the marshmallows they were designed to cook). I had to buy four packages of 12 to have enough. I duct taped the skewers to the back. This helped to give the candles support and stability as well as providing the means for staking them in the ground. The skewers are not overly strong, but not one broke while sticking them into the grass. Obviously, the candles are one-sided and the effect is one most enjoyed from the street, not our front porch!
- Here is a close up of a finished candle.
For the sign, I taped two pieces of black foam board together at the top with duct tape. I then folded them down into a triangular shape and taped the bottom edges to a cardboard water bottle flat for stability. It worked like a charm! I bought two packages of lettering and a sheet of letter stickers from the dollar store as well. I made the oversized “50” free hand.
The flame look was created by cutting sheets of tissue into a circular pattern that began large and then continued to follow a circular path until the center of the circle was reached. I was able to cut several sheets at a time, so this was very quick. I did make a few different sizes of circles to vary the length. The circular cut forces the tissue to curl and gives it more of a wild flame look. To hang the streamers, I curled a few pieces of duct tape and stuck them above the steps along the top of my front porch (to the backs of the pillar tops). I then took a very long piece of duct tape (that extended the whole width of the stairs) and stuck the back of it to the curled pieces. This left the sticky side of the duct tape exposed. I then just randomly stuck lengths of the tissue streamers to the sticky tape.
I’m not sure how long this took me as I was puttering away at it when I had my concussion and could only do small bits at a time. It seemed relatively easy and for the most part mindless (that’s why I was able to do it!). The most time consuming was probably cutting out the flames, but I don’t think it took me much more than an hour. Although I don’t know the exact cost, I estimate it cost me about $12 – $15. I did have the paint and tape on hand already. Aside from the savings, it was fun to sneak around working on my secret project and felt good to do something special to show Tim how much we love him! If you missed the original post, here’s how it looked when it was all set up.