Today, I’ve got a special guest on Cutting for Business! Welcome Sarah Strunk – a longtime blog reader and owner of Simply Sarah. She’s sharing her method of hosting sign painting parties with her Silhouette Cameo (or Cricut). After you read this post, pick up her new ebook with more information about hosting a party with your Silhouette at this link. I’ll let her take over:
I’ve known for a long time I wanted to do sign parties. I love those paint your own canvas nights, but lets be honest, I’m not great at freehand – that’s why I have a Silhouette! I knew parties to paint stuff I ACTUALLY wanted to hang on my walls would be a great idea. Logistically though, how was I going to pull it off? A few months ago I finally just decided to grab my closest girlfriends and give it a spin. If it was awful they wouldn’t hate me and I needed a easy group to practice on. Definitely do a few trial runs!
- I charge $40 per person, but am raising the party rates to $45 per person.
- It costs me $10 per board for each person. That figure does not include time – the prep work is fairly labor intensive, but when you love what you do it doesn’t really feel like work!
- I create a Facebook Event. Then, add the people who want to come and post a picture of what you’ll be making. Make a demo yourself, don’t do a mock up. You want to be able to see how long it takes you to make it and you want to have an example at the party. Get everyone signed up and collect payment UP FRONT.
- Make payments non refundable or tell them it’s non refundable but can be applied to a future party if they need to cancel.
- When signing up, I got everyone’s last names and established dates.
- Head to Lowe’s, Home Depot, or Menards and grab 1×4’s in pine. (Alternatively, you could use pallets but I don’t have patience for that and wanted them to take stain/paint easily.)
- I cut the boards down into 24 inch pieces so that I could easily just cut 12×24 sheets for the stencil.
- I then planked them together making 12×24 inch plank boards. I just used strips that I also found in the wood department at Lowes and cut those down. I used 1 1⁄2 in screws on the boards.
- It takes me an hour or 2 to plank 10 boards. That includes cutting, sanding, and planking. TIP: Don’t offer varying sizes. The process goes quickly because you’re doing all one size.
- Alternative: Instead of planks for your first sign, you could buy larger wood planks and cut them down. I did that for my first few parties and it was great!
Creating the Stencil
- I created a stencil in 2 parts, using Oracal 631 vinyl. The first stencil was the big last initial. Then, I made a stencil of each person’s last names. Cut each last name on a single 12×24 sheet. This is easy for them to line up on their board and everything will be centered.
- Set up folding tables or your own tables and lay down drop clothes. Purchase foam brushes, burnishing squeegees, exacto knives, staining sponges, rags, and paper plates (for paint).
- I highly recommend hosting the party at your own house, that way you have everything you need. I did a few parties at the hostesses’ home and it was chaotic and I always was forgetting something.
At the Party
- I had each person bring a snack and I provided wine (you can also do BYOB). You’ll need something to do while you wait for paint to dry – that’s why you need snacks and drinks!
- After everyone visited for a bit we sat down to start the signs.
- I offered 3 stain options: Gray, dark walnut, and a whitewash technique with antiquing glaze on top. At my last party, most picked the dark walnut with two opting for the whitewash. I poured some stain into little cups and had staining sponges I got from Lowes. Be sure to watch everyone as they put on the stain so it doesn’t go on too heavy or it won’t dry. I went by everyone after they stained and wiped off excess with a paper towel. I then helped the whitewash folks get their first coats done. I had a hair dryer on hand to help with drying times but we didn’t need it. After about 30 minutes, everyone’s boards felt dry so we moved on.
- We then laid down the last initial, You can just show everyone how to peel their stencil from the backing paper and then lay it down on the board, have painters tape and a ruler handy as it will help attendees center theirs on their board. You then want to show everyone how to smooth out the bumps, and make sure all the edges are down really well. I double checked each person’s board to make sure the stencils had a good seal.
- Then we took foam brushes and sponged on our paint in light coats! I use Waverly brand chalk paint (available at walmart and less than $6 a jar, it goes far, and dries fast).
- Next, take a break to let the first coat of paint dry. Chat, snack, and drink!
- Once they letters are dry, you’re ready to go do the final step and put the family name. You’ll give everyone their stencil and you may need to help to apply it. If you have any more than 6 people you may want to have a helper to help those get stencils down and peel off transfer tape. Then, attendees will lightly sponge on their color and then peel off the stencils right away. You don’t want any of the base color coming up, so don’t leave the stencil on more than maybe 10 to 15 minutes.
- Help everyone with any minor touchups. When you’re doing plank boards you may get slight bleeding around the planks, but you can go by with an exacto knife and scrap it and it will lift right off without messing up the stain or paint underneath.
You did it! Don’t forget to take a picture at the end. That picture is how you will get people to sign up for more parties! A note on hostesses: I find that you do not need to offer any sort of hostess reward but you can. Generally, I have no problem booking parties. In my opinion, providing hostess rewards is something that is popular with a lot of direct sale companies to help get people “in the door”.
A huge thank you to Sarah for stopping in to share her “secrets”! Please thank Sarah for stopping in by visiting her website Simply Sarah or picking up her new book. I’ve got a few other home party posts that you can read here. As always, if you loved this post, pin it or share it on Facebook by hovering over the image below or tapping it on mobile.