Telephone Sign on a Small Cutting Board

Telephone Sign on a Small Cutting Board

Long-term quarantining is, quite honestly, the best thing that has happened to my garage in a long time. It’s the only thrift store I have access to and I’m uncovering things I’d long forgotten about. And one of those things was a small cutting board. I decided it was the perfect piece to make a telephone sign. 

Which I suppose sounds weird, but wait until you see my stencil!

small cutting board

But first, let me explain.

You may have seen this cutting board once before, although it wasn’t showcased. I bought it years ago as a prop for this French Farmhouse decor post.

See the snippet of cutting board peeking out from beneath the bundle of rosemary?

French farmhouse decor from the Thrift Store

It played a subdued, supporting role in that blog post, but I’ve kept it in my pile of wood boards ever since. It’s such an odd chopping board- small but thick, and very, very well-loved.

small chopping board

Vintage metal signs are used as industrial wall art – such as road signs or advertising signs. And my little telephone sign would be an upcycled homage to them.

This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. All blue, bold, and underlined text is a clickable link, either to a product or to a related post.

The stencil used in this tutorial was provided to me free of charge; however, all opinions are my own.

The Right Color for a Telephone Sign

Anyway, I had a fun new selection of stencils from to play with. And one of them depicted a vintage rotary phone. I decided to pair the two together and make a stenciled sign that used the same colors as a sign for a vintage pay phone.

stencil of a vintage rotary phone

The first order of business was selecting the right paint color. Pay phone signs had a very distinctive blue color, which was what I was going for.

I had a jar of “Oops” paint in my paint locker that was a very good place to start, but it was a touch too dark.

shade of blue from a vintage pay phone

So, I mixed it with some white paint in a plastic tub from my recycling bin! It made me think of days gone by when margarine containers were saved for leftovers in the fridge.

mixing the right shade of blue

Celebrating the Vintage Rotary Phone

Then, I simply painted the small cutting board with the blue paint. It kinda-sorta is the right shade of blue for a vintage pay phone sign, right?

blue paint for a telephone sign

Next, I got out the stencil of the old rotary phone. I was low on painter’s tape and decided to challenge myself by not using it.

So, I used a heavy jar of Whiskey-infused honey from our pantry to anchor the stencil in the center. Oh, the things you find in the back of the pantry when you are house-bound!

making a telephone sign

Oh, the weird things we find in our pantry during a quarantine!

You may remember that Istencils is where I purchased the mid century modern stencils that I used on my wooden retro canisters.

I carefully stippled white paint over the stencil, starting around the outside and working my way in. When I got close to the jar of honey, I moved it carefully and held down the stencil with my fingertips as I finished the center portion.

stenciling a telephone sign

I have to admit that I was SUPER nervous about how it would turn out. The stencil of the old rotary phone is delicate, and I was sure that I would goof up my vintage pay phone sign.

But, y’all…why do I always doubt myself? It came out perfectly!

stenciled sign on a small cutting board

I finished by lightly distressing the entire stenciled sign with fine-grit sandpaper and buffing it with clear wax to protect the design. And that was it!

Telephone Sign on a Small Cutting Board

My telephone sign looked just like the old metal signs above an old pay phone! 

Well, maybe not “just like”. But a close enough depiction!

vintage rotary phone

It may not be an exact replica of the vintage metal signs you see as industrial wall decor, but I’m tickled pink (blue?) with my telephone sign!

telephone sign on a small cutting board

And if you enjoyed this upcycling idea involving old phones, then you may also get a kick out of how I use these old phone address books for a very modern need!

Password book by repurposing a telephone address book from the thrift store

Craft on!


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decorating with a vintage rotary phone

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. Super cute phone sign!

  2. Your phone stencil turned out soooo cute. Thanks for y.

  3. Gail Gibson says

    Are you sure this is a pay phone? It looks more like a phone someone with a hearing deficit would use as the red light would flash when a call was coming in.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Oh it’s not. The SIGN is inspired by old pay phone booths (blue and white). I simply used an old rotary phone as a photo prop.

  4. that’s not a pay phone, but cute anyhow!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Oh, honey, I know that- the SIGN is inspired by old pay phone booths (the blue and white). I simply used an old rotary phone as a prop for the photo. LOLOLOLOLOL.

  5. I’m totally digging that stencil! This sign would look awesome in my office along with my vintage phone collection.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Ooooh, yes, you need to try it!! They have some AMAZING stencils in their shop and they’re really affordable, too.

  6. says

    You nailed this project. Thanks for sharing. Stay safe and healthy

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