As a homeowner who fancies woodworking activities, creating home decor from scratch probably already crossed your mind. After all, it’s a great idea to display your crafty skills by putting up DIY wood signs on your walls.
In this tutorial, our team will guide you through an easy step-by-step process on how to make rustic wooden signs for your home, room, or office to achieve your DIY project goals.
How to Make DIY Wood Signs?
Before we enumerate the tools and materials you’ll need in this tutorial, we advise you to base your purchasing decisions on the aesthetic and technical aspects of the sign you want to create.
To make wood signs that will stand the test of time, the materials you’ll need for this DIY project must be durable and suitable to the crafting method you wish to use.
Tools and Materials You Need
First, you must decide which kind of wood sign base you want your design to be made of. Local craft and home improvement stores sell various pre-cut lumber boards that come in different styles, qualities, and sizes.
Although most hardware stores will offer to cut the lumber for you, you would still need a reliable handheld circular saw or table saw to easily customize your wood depending on how big or small you want your sign to look like.
You also can’t forget to include the paint you’ll use for the background of your DIY wood signs. Our experts recommend to get any kind just as long as it can stain the board well. And of course, any painting activity would need a paint brush, or you can opt to use a small foam paint roller as others do.
Our team also suggests including an orbital sander in your tools list to make wooden signs smooth on the edges and prevent unintended splinters during the process of construction. But if you don’t mind doing a bit of labor, you can sand down the rough edges manually with top-performing sandpapers for wood.
Creating a stencil or printout of your design ahead of time would make it easier for you to make one great DIY wooden sign for your home. You can also throw in some oil-based sharpie and pens, which will help make wood signs colorful and bright.
One should consider buying pine boards and stain paint, as these will be used for making and polishing the wood frames of the DIY sign. You’ll also be needing a hammer and finishing nails in the latter part of the woodworking process.
Choose and Prepare Your Wood
Cut and Sand the Base
One of the most common boards you can buy from your local store is the birch plywood that comes in 2” x 2” and 2” x 4” sheets. If you want to make your wooden sign smaller than that, you can always opt to cut them yourself using a circular or table saw.
Although you can choose any kind of lumber when creating rustic wood signs, we’re firmly against the use of thin plywoods. During one of our tests, we found out that the wood’s thickness corresponds to how well you can attach the frame to the signage
Make sure that you also cut two smaller boards with similar length as this will be attached on the back of your wood sign using a hammer and nail to serve as your support hangers.
Paint and Stain the Wood
White is definitely one of the most common bases used when making signs, but If you want to make your hand-painted wood signs look fancier, you can use bright and lively colors.
Make sure to sand your wooden sign board before and after putting a layer of paint on its surface. Let it dry completely in preparation for the next step of this tutorial.
Aside from sign painting, you can also decorate your it using wood stain. Many woodworkers are not keen on this process because of the fumes and chemicals it contains. In that case, a water-based wood stain would be the best solution you could find.
Other than the absence of toxic chemicals, water-based wood stains tend to hold color better and have better UV protection compared to oil-based products. When applying these onto the board, remember to brush the stain in the same direction as the lines.
There are many great tint colors available in the market to suit the needs of your DIY wood sign project, like walnut, grey, cascade, and many more. Let it sit for a while, or you can also try blowdrying if you want it to dry faster.
Prepare Desired Text or Imagery
The next step in this DIY wood signs tutorial is to finally add your design to the board’s surface. You could use these four easy methods when laying down the letters on the rustic and smoothened lumber.
If you want to have complete control over your board’s overall look, it’s a great idea to print your design ahead. Through some photo editing software, you can find all kinds of fonts and patterns to make your board achieve the aesthetic element you want.
After printing, you can transfer it from paper to the board using an easy pencil technique. Turn over the paper and rub the pencil lead on its back to pass on the letters and patterns on the wood signs’ surface.
But if your wood sign is dark in color, you should consider using white chalk instead of pencil lead. You should also check if the letters are centered and straight, as this is often overlooked during the DIY sign-making process. Try to use painter’s tape to prevent the paper from moving.
Our experts also advise using light pressure when you’re tracing the design from the paper to the board so that you can avoid undesirable dabs on your wood sign. Lastly, you can add color to your traced outline with markers, sharpies, or paint.
Making a stencil design for any craft gives you artistic freedom and saves you time to make signs more customizable. Some stencil packages already come with great saying and a set of letters, so you don’t have to worry about doing it yourself.
You can use many types of stencils for this DIY woodworking project, like vinyl, reusable, and SVG file stencils.
Among the three, our team would recommend using vinyl stencils. Aside from being inexpensive, it’s really easy to use because all you need to do is stick the design on the board with spray adhesive and paint over it.
When you add paint, it’s not really necessary to use a brush. Foam might be an even better alternative to get the stencil effect you desire. Like the previous method, lightly dab the paint to transfer the design from paper to the board.
Let the wood signs dry entirely before pulling out the stencil paper from the decorated lumber. After this step, you’ll notice some stencil marks on the design. Our advice is to touch up spots missed during the process using a paint-dipped toothpick.
Vinyl Cutting Machine
One of the easiest ways to get designs on your wood signs is through the use of vinyl cutting machines like Silhouette or Cricuit. These sign-cutting methods are quite similar to the stencil process.
It cuts patterns and letters out of adhesive vinyl sheets, which makes a more straightforward sign-making process. You can decorate signs on your own, or you can buy a pre-made layout online.
This method is best for people who have excellent handwriting. Your unique penmanship can add an artistic touch to your wooden sign. But before you go ahead and paint, you should draw the letters using a pencil to serve as a guide and avoid mistakes.
To get a precise and easy result, you can use a paint pen instead of a paintbrush to add color to your penciled plan. If you’re tracing with a black sharpie, you can make your sign stand-out by adding some white paint on its edges.
Build and Attach the Frame
The final stage of this tutorial involves making the frame of your board. A well-made DIY signboard can only look finished if it’s already framed with stained wood.
First, cut two or four small pieces of board with the same height as your sign and apply your chosen tint that really blends on your current layout. After drying it out, attach them to the sides of your rustic wood board by hammering finishing nails or by simply putting it together with glue.
Don’t forget to add a sawtooth picture hanger at the back of your DIY sign so that you can place it on the walls easily.
Hang Your Sign
No matter where you’ll place your wooden signs, never hang them above the eye level as it can appear less noticeable. If you intend to hang these signs at your home, our experts suggest to put them where they can be seen, like in the living room, dining room, door, or above the bed board.
What kind of wood do you use to make a sign?
The kind of wood you can use to make a sign are pine and plywood. These options can be quickly brought to your local craft stores. You can also use these woods in different projects aside from wood sign-making. But no matter which wood you prefer, always go for thick boards to avoid difficulty in attaching frames.
How do you make a wood sign without a Cricut?
You can make a wood sign without a Cricut machine by stenciling your design onto the board and dabbing paint to transfer your design from paper to the lumber. Aside from that, you can also opt to hand-paint letters and patterns on the board if you have excellent penmanship.
How much money can you make making wood signs?
The amount of money you can make with wood signs depends on how creative and diligent you are in creating these rustic wooden crafts. Some people who started their woodworking shop with complete equipment can make $10,000 a year by selling wood signs.
Doing something for the first time is never easy, but if you follow these steps carefully and plan your design accurately, you can surely construct well-made DIY wood signs for your home or anywhere else.
Now that you’re acquainted with the entire process, all you need to do is continuously practice and improve your craft. As mentioned, always consider the quality of materials and tools to be used as these will be your foundation for a successful woodworking project.