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Good morning, dear readers, and welcome to the 100th anniversary of the of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution! That’s right: Women have officially been able to vote in the U.S.A. for one hundred years! While this is something to celebrate, we should not forget that our sisters of color still faced many unjust hurdles in claiming their equal rights.
One hundred years sounds like a long time ago. But is it, in the scheme of things? As I pored over these inspiring images of our brave fore-mothers, I wanted my girls and I to join them. In fact, our children are about to embark on a study of U.S. History. What better way to start the school year than by staging our own suffrage parade? However, we were going to need more than just costumes. I mean, just look at these amazing photographs of real suffragettes! Clearly, we needed some picket signs…
…So, I made some! Here is a sneak peek of the finished results. I thought it would be interesting to do a side by side comparison with a black and white version; for old times’ sake. *Ba-dum-ching* Anyway, read on to see how you, too, can join the march with your very own suffragette picket signs!
I wanted something lightweight and durable for the board part of the sign. So, I snapped up two of these seasonal, hardboard signs at the Dollar Tree. I planned to use their plain backs as the fronts of our signs. Next, I went to the hardware store and bought two, 3/4″ x 3/4″ x 36″ wooden stakes for the sign handles.
Once I got everything home, I removed the price stickers which, of course, didn’t want to come off. They left a sticky residue on what I intended to make the front of the sign. This would never do! Fortunately, rubbing alcohol removed the gunk.
Even though the colorful parts of the signs would be painted over and turned to the back, I decided to try to remove some of the glitter on the lettering. This handy sanding block was very comfortable to use. It did a good job of getting rid of most of the glitter.
Now, it was time to paint! And, wouldn’t you know it, but it was pretty much the hottest day of the year. (It’s basically a rule that I only spray paint when it’s either below freezing or broiling.) So, it was obviously not an ideal temperature for spray painting, but what’s a girl to do? Soldier on like a suffragette, of course! I got Rust-Oleum Universal All Surface Paint in Satin White and the companion Clear Topcoat in Dead Flat.
I spread out some newspapers, in the backyard, and weighted the corners with rocks. Then, I sprayed both signs, starting with the colorful sides that were to become the backs. Once those had thoroughly dried, I sprayed the plain sides, which I intended to make the new fronts of our signs. This took a lot more paint than I thought, so I ended up having to finish with some old, white spray paint I found in the basement. It ended up spraying in tiny globules, which gave the sign a grainy texture. This would be a disaster for some projects, but I decided that this just gave the signs some character.
After everything dried, I moved on to the lettering. I am not one of those fancy, hand-lettering people! The idea of free-hand painting “Votes for Women” on these signs intimidated me. *SO* I decided to measure everything and use stickers and glue.
This ended up being quite time-consuming!
Using my trusty T-Square and some masking tape, I figured out the center-line and line spacing marks I would use for the letter placements.
Then, I lay the T-Square across the sign as a straight-edge rule to guide my “lettering”. I placed the middle letter of each word, first. This was the “T” in “VOTES”, the “O” in “FOR”, and the “M” in “WOMEN”.
Once I finished placing the stickers, I carefully removed the masking tape. In order to make the letters stay more permanently, I dabbed a little Fabri-Tac on a toothpick. Then, I gently lifted part of each letter sticker enough to spread a bit of glue to it, before pressing it firmly back to the sign.
I let the glued letters dry overnight. In the morning, I centered the wooden handles on the backs of the signs and secured them with masking tape. Then, I used two, short, wire nails to attach the signs to the handles. I paused in hammering when the nail head got close to the freshly painted surface. To protect it, I put a bit of masking tape on the nail head before driving it home.
A quick top-coat spray finished the job!
And, there you have it! These suffragette signs are easy to make, and would be perfect additions to a Halloween costume or a school project. I look forward to sharing how I made our sashes and assembled our costumes in future posts. Until then, Friends!