Let’s Celebrate!


I love getting the chance to play a part in people’s big days. It’s even MORE precious when those people happen to be some of my best friends!

This month, my friend Katie (affectionately referred to as KT) celebrated her 21st birthday. Therefore, of course — there must be a sign. Is it really a 21st birthday if you DON’T have a sign?

(Spoiler — it is, for those of you who didn’t need/want a cardboard sign to remind you how old you were.)

So, I made a sign!

Here’s a breakdown of how I did it.


  • Cardboard
  • Exacto knife and/or scissors
  • Ribbon
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Sharpies and/or brush pens

I knew going into this process that I wanted the sign to look a little like the embroideries that KT makes, which is why I went with the white circle. You don’t have to do that! The biggest part about the sign is the heart + idea behind it, so spend some time brainstorming layouts and colors.

Then, you can get to the making part!

  1. Cut out your sign in the shape you want. Depending on the thickness of the board (you could probably use posterboard if you wanted to make it more flexible) you’ll probably want scissors. For the sake of comfort, it should probably not be wider than the chest of the person who’s going to wear it. But you don’t need to go measure them. That’s weird. I just aimed for it to be about a foot wide. It ended up being a little wider than I wanted, but it’s all good.
  2. Poke holes for string or ribbon. I used the exacto knife for this part.
  3. Prime your board. I used two coats of white acrylic for mine! The bigger your paintbrush, the faster this part will go. Make sure you hit the edges and the holes, so they look a little less scraggly.
  4. Sketch out your design in pencil. You don’t have to put every detail down, but orienting yourself beforehand makes it a LOT easier to make little adjustments before you put paint down.
  5. Set up your palette.  I like to mix all of my colors beforehand to make sure I have enough and that they do actually work together. For this palette, I just covered a piece of cardboard in wax paper and mixed acrylic on that.
  6. Paint! You’ve done all the prep you can do — now go for it!
  7. Let it dry. You put so much work into this joker. Let it dry so that you don’t mess anything up with the last step.
  8. Tie it up. Remember those holes we poked in the board in step two? Now it’s time to use them! I used a satin ribbon for KT’s sign because it seemed more comfortable than string, but the material selection is up to you. The length will vary slightly from person to person. Try out 2 feet of ribbon and make any adjustments from there.

All that’s left is the celebration itself! I hope that this how-to was helpful, and feel free to leave further ideas in the comments below! Check out the images below for more details of the sign.



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