By Helen, Whitewood and Linen
It is no surprise to any of us to learn our bee population is in decline. Like a great many of you I am sure, I have risen to the more recent challenge of adding a number of insect attracting annuals to my garden to encourage fluffy visitors to stay a while. And only this year, I have learned the value of a simple saucer full of water and pebbles to help keep a colony content and hydrated.
Today’s quick and satisfying craft is a pretty garden sign with mine offering a warm welcome to my pollinating guests. Most of the materials I have used can be found be found in your garden shed or garage and if you don’t already have them, you will be purchasing craft supplies in metal cans meaning they will be safely stored and good to go for a few more garden projects in the future. This is what you will need:
- An offcut of wood – I used oak leftover from a garden project
- Garden Paint – I used Cuprinol Garden Shades – Lavender and Forest Mushroom 125ml tester pots
- Letter and bee stencils
- Permanent marker pens
- Low tack tape
- Craft sealer
- Paint brushes
- Scrap of sponge
- Wood drill
If your wood needs a light sanding before painting, go ahead and prepare its surface. Mine was good to go and so I simply painted one thin coat of the lavender colour on both sides of my wood. If you are looking for a deeper coverage, you might choose two. Allow to completely dry.
I wanted a bold bee so chose a permanent black ink marker to fill in the gaps on my stencil which I taped securely in place. Take special care not to go under the stencil holes with your pen.
Position your letter stencils carefully, one at a time, to spell out your message and secure in place with the tape. A fine pencil line might help to keep your letters in a straight line.
Using a torn off piece of household or craft sponge, dip the sponge lightly in the paint colour of choice for your letters. Top Tip: Dab the sponge onto a piece of old newspaper until it is almost dry. This will ensure the paint does not bleed under your stencil letter. You want the sponge to be virtually dry. You can always add more paint; taking it away is more difficult. Go ahead and dab at your letter. Peel back a small part of the letter stencil and if you think more paint is needed, replace the stencil carefully and reapply some more. Remove the stencil completely and allow the paint to dry.
Repeat the process with each remaining letter until your message is spelt out.
Once the garden sign is completely dry, you might like to lightly sand around the letters and the bee to age the sign a little. A personal preference, not a must. Spray with a coat of craft sealer and drill two small holes where you would like your string to pass through. I choose to add holes once my project is complete although it can be done at the beginning if you prefer. Add your string and hang your beautiful homemade sign in your garden.
I selected the delicate lavender paint shade knowing I wanted to place my sign near to a busy lavender patch in our garden. I seem to have had more than my fair share of bees this year and I have found it extremely enjoyable to watch them busy at work.
These simple garden signs will work just about everywhere in the garden and of course they don’t have to be decorated with a bee stencil. Why not try adding a painted sign to a cutting garden waiting to bloom. “Sshh we’re growing here!” is one favourite of mine. And when the garden is tucked away for winter “Come back and see us again in springtime” brightens up a dull patch of earth. And what garden loving friend wouldn’t appreciate such a thoughtful gift for their own garden or even greenhouse? I hope we get to see your garden signs and don’t forget to use the hashtag #doitwithcans on all your social media.