In the military we move a lot. When it’s time to go to our next assignment; we start to pack up all of our stuff, get frustrated in the process, throw a quarter of it out on the curb for others to thrift through to ‘re-home’ it, then carefully watch the movers pack up the rest of our pieces and pray they fit into our new space plan. We drive to our new base unknowing what to expect, scared, but super excited for the new adventure to begin.
When we arrive at our new assignment and are given the keys to our new home, we start to unpack. We realize half of our stuff doesn’t fit, we have lost a few pieces in the process of moving cross-country, and then we start to stare at a couple walls. In deep thought we wonder what we can put there to fulfill those voids in our new house. The blank white walls lack personality, and the empty spaces we need something in for it all to just feel comfortable. We are pretty sure you have seen it before, or been in this exact situation yourself…
Home is Where the Military Sends Us. Wherever we go, should feel like home and comfort us as a tranquil space. We should take our memories, and sentimental pieces with us on this journey and build more, optimistically. Our Transformation Tuesday post today is the DIY tutorial of how to make that epic, and famous, Home Is Where the Air Force Sends Us sign. We just made one of these as a “missing piece” for Shell. Shell was working a full time job with two young kids and a deployed husband. One of her closest friends was recently diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer and she is the best friend, advocate, and super mom fighting alongside her. Organizing runs and fundraisers to garner a community of support to stand together and fight, Shell is that military spouse anyone would be proud to call a friend. We were so excited to collaboratively make her this sign and give her back something after all she has given back to others.For this project you will need:
- Wood: 1 Larger piece of Pine for the top, ½ Inch x 5-1/2 Inch x 2-Ft Pine
- Wood: 2 Smaller/thinner pieces of Pine for bases below, ½ inch x 3-1/2 inch X 2-Ft Pine, (pre-cut size before you cut 2 inches off of each piece)
- S Hooks, .177 x 1-1/2 inch (We used 2 bags, to total 4)
- Screw Eyes, x 1-15/16 (We used 4 bags, to total 8 )
- Blue Paint, we used Lady Blue
- White Paint
- Paint Brush
- Command Strips or a Picture Backing Hanger and Nail
- Silhouette Cameo
- Oracle 651 Adhesive Vinyl
- Transfer Tape
- Alcohol to clean the boards prior to adhering the vinyl
- Information: Dates you wish to put on it, Bases/Time there, Babies/Genders, Wedding, Deployment Dates… Be creative!
To start, we went shopping at our local Lowes home improvement to grab the supplies. We first got one larger wood piece to put at the top of our custom sign. This piece would have Home Is Where the Air Force Sends Us on it. It already was pre-cut to our desired size, ½ Inch x 5-1/2 Inch x 2-Ft Pine. (Score!)
We then grabbed two thinner pieces of the Pine wood slab to place below the title piece and write the base names on, these cutes were ½ inch x 3-1/2 inch X 2-Ft Pine. As we were looking to do these bases not only thinner than our top piece, but also shorter, we took the pieces to the cutting stations and asked a Lowes employee to cut 2 inches off of each end of the two thinner pieces. This gave us the look and sizing we were going for in proportion to the sign we were creating. We then purchased 2 bags of S Hooks, and 4 bags of Screw Eyes. Because there were two of each in a bag, we only had to purchase this many to make two bases to hang below. This is done is alignment with however many bases to decide to hang. We were hanging two bases– if you were hanging three bases you would need an additional ½ inch x 3-1/2 inch X 2-Ft Pine cut two inches down and 2 more bags (4 total) of screw eyes and 1 more (2) total of S-Hooks. And so on…
Next, we painted out our wood pieces to vary a pattern between white and blue. These colors will vary depending on the branch of service you are looking to design the sign for. We highly suggest choosing a light and dark color to do your pattern with where the dark color is deep and rich to the military service branch. The Air Force blue we used was Lady Blue from Designer In You. We painted on two coats covering everything; front, back, and sides. We made two pieces white, and made the middle piece blue to layer the colors in the sign (as every other). We let the paints dry and handed it off to a spouse who was who was a little more stilled then us to adhere on the vinyl (Kayla says Heyyyy)
Kayla took control of the vinyl process by using the Oracle 651 adhesive vinyl and cut it using a Silhouette Cameo. She opted to use the majority of the font in ‘Autumn in November’ for this project and sized it in what was appropriate to the boards (this can vary based on how big you really want the letters and symbols). Kayla added in footprints to show the bases that Shell had her two kids at in Pink and Blue for a personal touch. You can also add in wedding bells, deployment boots, and a ring for engagement- get creative! Once everything was cut to size, Kayla cleaned the boards off with a quick swipe of alcohol prior to adhering the cut outs. With the prep finished, you are ready to transfer the cut vinyl pieces with transfer tape and adhere them as desired to the boards.
With the vinyl writing fihished, you can start screwing the 8 required Screw Eyes into the sign. This is done best by measuring them out to where you would like them to go and marking it on the pieces prior to screwing anything in for proportion and balance. We did this roughly 2 ¼ inches in from the top sign, on the bottom of the sign, inward in from the right and left edge. We then centered the bottom two base signs below and marked our spots. Using a drill to half way make a hole, screw gently into the bottom of the sign. Next, manually screw the rest of it in until it is secure and tight. *Please note: These holes only occur on the bottom of the larger top piece. The process is then repeated on the bottom, and top, of the middle piece. Lastly, it is repeated on the top of the third last piece. Once all the Screw Eyes are in place, you then use the S-Hooks to connect the signs together and the piece is ready for hanging. You can hang it with heavy duty Command Strips, or screw in a picture backing to the back if you wish to nail it into the wall. Once it is level on the wall -Ta-Da! Six veterans/military spouses aided in creating the craftiness of this home project. Shell and her family (below) will add bases and memories onto it as it follows them from base to base for years to come. If you try this DIY or want to show us your Home Is Where the Military Sends Us story, follow us on social media and tag #missionmorale on Instagram
Homefront Room Revival has recently started a new “Missing Piece” project as an extension of our Mission Morale program to enhance home comfort for military spouses. Whether it’s a piece of art, furniture, or decor; if you or someone you know needs that one missing piece to feel more at home in your military house, nominate them today for one of our home projects and tell us their military story . Homefront Room Revival has a proud paint partnership with ‘Designer In You’ products by Francine Melder. Some of the links listed throughout our blog are affiliate links. Meaning, at no cost to you, our nonprofit will receive a commission to help us do more awesome projects for military spouses if you click through and make a purchase.