Have you ever looked at a handmade wood sign in a store and thought to yourself “I wonder how that’s made” but didn’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place! In today’s blog post, we show you how we make our solid wood signs for our shop. Read on to find out what products we use, how we set it up, and watch a video of the process!
What You’ll Be Making
Today you’ll learn the step-by-step process of making a handmade wood sign like the one that David is holding below! Keep in mind that you can make your wood sign as small or as large as you’d like, this was just the size of sign that we were working on. Make sure you check out the video at the end of this post for a helpful visual guide. Let’s get started!
Preparing the Wood
The first step in creating a handmade wood sign is to prepare the background of your sign. For this sign, I used Minwax in Dark Walnut. Once the stain dried, we dry-brushed the sign with Fusion Mineral Paint in Picket Fence. This creates that awesome weathered wood look!
After dry-bushing the sign, I sanded the entire board with 220 grit sandpaper. You want the surface to be smooth to the touch so that your stencil doesn’t grab hold of the wood and create a run! Make sure to sand with the wood grain.
Preparing the Stencil
We make our stencil with a silhouette machine and oramask 813 stencil vinyl. You want to be careful when you place the stencil. Making sure that the stencil is straight and centered on your sign will make all of the difference. The key to a handmade wood sign looking professional is the little details!
To center the stencil, align the far left of the design and the far right of the design in an equal distance from the edge of the wood board. Then, align the top of the design and the bottom of the design in an equal distance from the edge of the wood board. Once you ensure that the stencil is centered on the board, you want to make sure that it is straight. As you can see in the chart below, you need to make sure that the space in distance ‘a’ is the same as the space in distance ‘b’ and the same for ‘c’ and ‘d’.
To ensure the stencil is on straight you need to measure from the top of the board to the top of a letter on the left and of a letter on the right. Keep in mind that every font is different; in this case I was able to measure the top of the ‘s’ on the right and the top of the s on the left to ensure the measurements were the same.
Once you have your stencil in place, tape along one of the short edges of the stencil to create a flap with the stencil, painters tape is best, but you can also use masking tape as I did here!
After you place your stencil, take a stiff credit card and scrap the stencil to make sure that the transfer tape has adhered to the vinyl. Lift the stencil and carefully remove the backing of the stencil. When you get to the end of the stencil that is taped the backing will come loose and the stencil will remain attached to wood by the taped edge.
Starting at the taped edge, carefully lay the stencil down in place. Feel free to pull out your measuring tape to double check that everything is straight. Once you have placed the stencil, remove the transfer tape slowly, being careful to not rip the stencil.
Since this sign was rather large, I had six stencils I needed to place before I could paint. I did the steps in the same order for each stencil to ensure the sign came out perfectly.
TIP: if your stencil doesn’t cover all of the space around the wood sign, lay down painters around the stencil to protect the background from getting paint on it!
Painting your Handmade Wood Sign
Once your stencil is down, take the background paint color and apply a light coat to seal off the edges of the stencil. I recommend using a makeup sponge to do this. Dip the flat side of the sponge into the paint, remove the excess paint, and apply a very light coat of paint in an up-and-down, bouncing motion. Do not brush or wipe the paint on as this will cause bleeding.
Once you have applied the first coat of paint in the background color, you can now use the same method to apply the desired paint color for the letters. Again, make sure to remove the excess paint off the sponge. You want to have very little paint on the sponge and to apply it in a bouncing motion to avoid bleeding. This will take about 2-3 light coats of paint.
Peel off the vinyl after you reach the desired color coverage. To do this, make sure you peel the vinyl off against the wood grain. In the case of the wood sign I made, the direction of the wood grain is left to right so I peeled the vinyl off in a top to bottom direction. Use tweezers or a needle to remove the smaller vinyl parts on the inside of the letters.
TIP: Don’t let the stencil sit longer than it needs to. You want the stencil to stay on the wood for as little time as possible for best results so to try to move quickly.
That’s it! Creating a handmade wood sign is time-consuming and detail-heavy but the results are so worth it. If you want to see how I made the sign, check out the video below with the step-by-step instructions. If you try this DIY please make sure to tag us in your project pictures for a chance to be featured on our social media feeds!
Love the way the sign turned out but don’t want to take the time to make it? No problem! Head over to our sign shop to order beautiful, solid wood, customizable signs!
Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram at @gogginscreations for more DIY ideas!