A long time ago in a land far away…..I sat in math class and listened as the teacher talked about Pi.

I vaguely remember it.

Along with the Pythagorean theoreum, surface area formulas, quotients and the volume of a cylinder.

I probably should have paid more attention.


But the cutest boy in the world sat in front of me….with his member’s only jacket and drum sticks and his curly brown hair…..that made me forget all about inverse fractions…..

…..and all the other math facts I missed when I was in the bathroom checking if I needed more lip glass and Aqua net.


I need not have worried.

That curly headed brown haired boy left his drum sticks behind and became a brilliant mathematician who can conquer architectural details and crown molding with a single bound.

And I have a son who loves math and Pi….

….and his own pair of drum sticks.


I just realized…..

…..I should probably check and see who is sitting behind him in math class. 🙂


How to Make a Reclaimed Wood Sign


fence board wood (the more weathered the better)

white paint

number stencils


Step 1:  Cut boards to desired length

We cut seven boards to make the sign.

Each board is approximately 28″ in length.

Then we cut a few lengths of plywood and nailed all the fence post into the plywood board to hold everything together.


2.  Find the digits of Pi you need

And for the record….Pi never ends.

You could make a sign from the atlantic to the pacific and you would still have digits left over.

Here’s all you want to know about Pi and a lot more.

And to think that my Aqua net and I thought it was just 3.14.


 3.  Trace numbers

Lay out the numbers and trace.


Do not over think.

Imperfection is a beautiful thing.

Figuring out all those digits of Pi is stressful enough.


 4.  Fill in the pencil outline with paint

I used a small paint brush and painted the edges with white and filled in the middle with gray.

Then I blended the two colors together and let the numbers dry.


Here’s what the sign looks like over the bookcases in the upstairs bedroom I’ve been working on.

My in-house mathematician was over the moon.

And the moral of the story is to worry less about your hair….and more attention in math class.


I mean…..all that math can come in handy….

….if you end up painting a sign one day. 🙂

PS On a completely different note….have you ever made a sour dough starter before?

Is it hard?

Should I even attempt it….or just keep painting signs. 🙂

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
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  1. Image for Christel, Denmark Christel, Denmark

    Hi KariAnne The sign looks absolutely great!!! I feel inspired. Question: It looks like you put pressure on the pencil while tracing the numbers. True or false? And if so... is it make the paint stay inside the lines? Christel :-)

  2. Image for Sonya ~At Home with The Barkers Sonya ~At Home with The Barkers

    I knew immediately it was Pi...this has to be my favorite story/project combo I've seen from you! I too have a boy, who carries drums sticks but instead of working math problems with Pi he draws cartoons about it! Happy Friday my sweet friend!! ~Sonya

  3. Image for Ginger Ginger

    Lovely sign! PPS. Making a starter isn't hard but I have a sort attention span so I find keeping it alive is. But you may do fine with it. I recommend

  4. Image for Anne Presley Anne Presley

    Perfect for a perfect young man that loves to be unique. Have a wonderful time taking down and putting up the Christmas decorations.

  5. Image for Marisa Franca Marisa Franca

    Love your story of Pi. Why is it we girls can get so distracted by sparkling eyes and dimpled grin? Anyway, check out the girls on the side of your son and also in front of him. It doesn't hurt to be careful. And I have been making sour dough bread for years -- I have a starter in the fridge now and we will be gone for 3+months. It takes some resuscitation but it can be brought back to life. If you don't want to go to all the trouble of feeding the dough flour King Arthur Flour who has the website the Baker's Catalogue has a wonderful French sourdough starter. This one is a dry powdered starter that you don't have to keep alive in the fridge. I hope I haven't put you to sleep. I'm a paid ad for them but I should be with all that I buy from them. I use their flour exclusively. If you have any other questions just ask -- and is a good source. Oh! Getting back to King Arthur Flour website - there is always a human you can talk to so if you're having problems they have staff who can advise - how nice is that?!!

  6. Image for Suzan Suzan

    I'd stick with signs - look what you came up with !!! GORGEOUS Now get to the bathroom - I think your lip gloss needs some touching up LMHO You're too funny XOXO

  7. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Thanks for an inspiring start to the morning! I have a Geeky daughter who celebrates "Pi-Day" 3/14 and would love this sign! Pi is also handy in figuring how much binding to make for a homemade tree skirt ;)).

  8. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Miz karianne, I consider myself brilliant because at the very least I RECOGNIZE that string of numbers as Pi......and I'm happy with that mathematical genius part of myself. No, it does NOT matter to me that I don't know how to use it.....! LOL, thanks for a cute story and chuckle....I can't help but think it must be lots of fun being YOU! Or for that matter, just being in your family... ;))

  9. Image for Lisa @ Practically Perfect Home Lisa @ Practically Perfect Home

    Very cool sign and fun story, KariAnne! I've made sourdough is definitely worth it, if you're in to bread making.

  10. Image for Marian Marian

    OK, so I have a budding scientist and you have totally inspired us to make a periodic table for her wall this summer. We are still in negotiation about where this will all be one unit or whether we will be making separate "tiles" that all fit together to make one huge piece. But I love you for this opportunity to spend time talking design and making things with her. She is a delight and I know she'll be gone before I even have time to turn around. Sigh. The Other Marian

  11. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    I remember being given a sour dough starter. In other words, I think sign painting would be easier! Great story...funny how that high school math does come in handy! ;)

  12. Image for Kris Kris

    What a clever way to incorporate your son's interests in decorating! I don't suppose you have a way of classing up Duck Dynasty decor? Nah, didn't think so. :) I bake a lot but have never used sourdough starter. My thought would be to start with instant rise yeast first as working with yeast or sourdough starter as leavening is a very different thing from working with baking soda or powder. I'm not sure, but I think sourdough may be temperamental but those quick rise yeast packets are pretty predictable. has a great 1-hour (from start to finish!) yeast breadstick recipe (if you make it, spray your saran wrap with non-stick spray while your breadsticks rise so the dough doesn't stick to it! She doesn't mention that in the recipe). I'm a big believer in starting with a product geared for easy success first. :)

  13. Image for BrocanteuseRose BrocanteuseRose

    I love this and should I ever need the first 2 dozen digits of Pi, I know just who I am calling! Also bread starter? I am more of a bread ender, I buy a loaf of bread and it it till the end! :)

  14. Image for Diane Turner Diane Turner

    LOVE your story, brought a big smile to my face. I think I mostly smiled because I love to decorate that way... Something from here, something from there...when it is done it becomes unique with a story attached!

  15. Image for Shannon M. Shannon M.

    Ok... I have never done a sourdough starter, but I want too!!! I hope you try it and let us know. I do however make Amish friendship bread ( I make mine muffins) my starter dates wayyyy back and mine came from Germany. It is always a huge hit and have had grown men in my husbands office fight for the last one. ( ok they are soldiers so I guess wrestling around isn't that far of a stretch for them... Haha). This starter has to be made every ten days .... BUT the beauty of this starter is you can pop it in the freezer when you get tired of making muffins. Bring it to room temp after freezing and it's ready to start again!!! And the beauty of this bread is that it is friendship bread, so when you are ready to make a batch you scoop out a starter and pass it to a friend!!! Now that a a win win!!!

  16. Image for Maaike Maaike

    About making sourdough starter... I just did it for the first time myself last week, making the starter and letting it sit out so that the local wild yeasts could come and do their thing. After a couple of days, it looked just like the photos in the website I was following, so I made a loaf of sourdough bread. It was picture perfect- I took lots of photos and proudly emailed them to my mother :) , and we could barely wait to slice into that glorious looking situation. What a disappointment! It hardly even tasted of sourdough. So I tried again, letting it rise super slowly, which is supposed to intensify the sourdough flavor. Barely made a difference. Don't get me wrong, we're still happily eating home made bread, I just wouldn't call it sourdough. I'm going to try once more with a purchased sourdough starter. So much for the wild yeasts of Menlo Park ...

  17. Image for Colleen P Colleen P

    Cute sign! I never paid attention in math class either...I hate math. My mom is in the process of creating her own sourdough starter, it's quite an interesting process. I will let you know how it goes for her.

  18. Image for Cindy@Diybeautify Cindy@Diybeautify

    Hahaha...just took me back to 9th grade Social Studies (and 10th and 11th)...I have NO IDEA what my boring teaching droned on and on about...but I got to know every last slouch, shirt and hair of the cute boy in front of me :) I didn't grow up to marry him {can't even remember his name} - so your story has a way better ending! But luckily I have a boy who is very good at history and can answer all my questions {"Mom, didn't you learn anything in school?" is a frequent question of his}. And for the record, I think boys and girls should totally be separated in school...the girls would learn MUCH more, lol :) OH, love the sign, btw :)

  19. Image for Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) Susan (Between Naps on the Porch)

    KariAnne, I love this! I was a bit of a math geek in college so this totally makes me smile! :) Check this out...I think your math lover will love it, too! :) They even have a Periodic Table for the science geek. :)

  20. Image for Cheryl @ Living Design Cheryl @ Living Design

    Awesome pi sign. It might just be the first decor picture that my husband was remotely interested in when I mumbled "ooh, cool" to myself while reading. For the most part, his only opinion of decor is that it should be comfortable, make me happy, not cost a lot, and not make extra chores! But throw in anything nerdy and he loves it. Well, me too ;) We keep a sourdough starter and love it. Home made sourdough is the best! I started out following advice from Root Simple (their book is Urban Homesteading) They have a great low effort method. Very practical and laid back, but with excellent results. Good luck figuring it out!

  21. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    My cousin was (and is!) the math diva in our family, and I just tried to keep up! MY hero was across the hall in Chemistry while I was in Home Ec. Hmmm. . . . A Periodic Table of Elements, perhaps? ;) I've never done sour dough starter, but I remember my aunt taking such good care of hers that she took it on vacation with her! :)

  22. Image for lorene halfmann lorene halfmann

    The sign is so cool! About the sourdough starter...I wish I had a recipe for the starter to share with you, but I don't. But I still want to tell you about mine and encourage you to try....A friend gave me my starter 18 years ago---yes, you read that correctly :) and I have used it ever since. I make homemade sourdough bread about every 7-10 days. My starter is wonderful! I feed it with potato flakes, warm water and sugar, but the really cool thing about it is that the bread is made in "stages" and it was a fabulous system for this working mother. What I mean is this: I feed the starter, let set on counter all day; that evening mix the dough, let rise all night; and the next morning shape the loaves, let them rise all day; that evening bake the bread. Fresh warm sourdough bread for dinner :) Hope someone out there has a starter recipe for you!

  23. Image for Chelsea Chelsea

    Love it KariAnne. My mom is a math teacher and she gets geeky happy about pi. I should make something like this for her for Pi day. :) Happy day to you!

  24. Image for Sheryll & Critters. Sheryll & Critters.

    Yes, who is sitting behind your son? Grin....... And the only thing I cared to know about Pi is how to make a round table cloth...... lol. Math? And me.... that is a sad thought. But with knowing you (even if only online) is enough to help me out.

  25. Image for Lee Lee

    I loved your Pi story. My husband was a math nerd, too, but I kindly called him a "math brain" to his face. lol. I love working with sourdough starter. The worst that can happen is that it will DIE. My favorite is the starter that you feed with mashed potato flakes & sugar. It's a bit sweeter and less sour than true sourdough. You can google potato flake starter to get recipe. If you're interested in making bread, you should consider buying a bread machine which does all the work for you...just dump in ingredients, push start, and 3-4 hrs later you have hot, fresh bread. Once you make homemade bread, your family will never want store-bought bread again. I've been using one for 30 yrs. The best ones are made by Dak or Welbilt (same company) which doesn't exist anymore, but you can always find new ones made by them on Ebay. Good luck!

  26. Image for James Mason James Mason

    Great wall art guys and i love the reclaimed timber look! I spend hours in the timber recycle yard near our place trying to come up with ideas for our renovation. I think the Man Cave will need some rustic pieces just to give it a lived in look.

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