Laura Kearns and Kelsey Cook

Laura Kearns and Kelsey Cook recently opened Board & Brush in Avondale. It’s a creative studio where people can make their own signs. (West Valley View photo by Carrie Snider)

Board & Brush Avondale owners Kelsey Cook and Laura Kearns were encouraged by their grand opening.

A line started forming at the DIY sign shop at least an hour before the event started. Their calendar is filling with project nights.

Board & Brush, at 13048 W. Rancho Santa Fe Boulevard, Suite 113, is a creative studio where everything is provided to complete a sign project. It has more than 160 locations nationwide.

Students can sign up online for a PYP (Pick Your Project) night, which are usually held on weekends, or private parties can be arranged throughout the week. Wood and vinyl lettering is pre-cut, and supplies like paint or stain and brushes are ready to go. The studio can accommodate 30 people at a time. Projects typically take about three hours to complete.

There’s a huge variety of projects to choose from, like welcome signs or maps or inspirational quotes, and many projects have options for personalization. Students can also choose paint colors or paint brush techniques to make their sign unique to them.

One of the best things about B&B, according to owners, is people don’t need to have any prior skills to make a beautiful sign.

“We help through the whole process,” Cook said.

There are six tables at the studio, and there is always one employee per table to help students with their projects. Employees help them with brush techniques, applying vinyl letters, wood distressing techniques, and more.

Another plus is, the signs don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.

“I love that it empowers people who don’t think they can do it,” she explained.

“These signs mean so much. They are personal and they made them. I love buying finished signs, but making it is special.”

Cook went to a B&B location in Georgia, where she recently lived.

Also, a friend there opened her own location and encouraged her to do the same in Phoenix.

“When I went to a workshop, I became obsessed,” Cook said. It was a perfect fit because she’s always been very crafty, from customizing her own signs to T-shirts to plates.

“If I had a dream job, this would be it. I laugh thinking that this is ‘work’ because it doesn’t feel like work.”

Being very outgoing, she also loves meeting new people and working in groups.

Moving to the Phoenix area recently, she wanted a new career and way to integrate into the local community. With B&B she feels like she got both. Kearns is her stepmom and takes care of a lot of the business and marketing side of the business.

In just the few months Cook has lived in the area, she’s met a lot of locals at the shop, adding that she’s meeting a variety of people she may not have connected with otherwise.

The owners believe that B&B has hit such a nerve across the country because it’s a unique night out with friends, and the finished product is something that can fit anyone’s home décor.

It’s a franchise that has been a good fit for them.

“They treat everyone like family and it’s a really good atmosphere,” Kearns said. They communicate with other locations around the valley and she stressed that they are not competitors, they are collaborators.

Other Arizona locations include Scottsdale, Prescott, Glendale, Gilbert and Flagstaff, with an Ahwatukee location coming soon.

For more information, visit

Board and Brush

13048 W. Rancho Santa Fe Boulevard, Suite 113