This past Friday I shared a few of my new wood signs and wood clip frames that I’ve designed. I received a lot of questions about how I get the typography onto these signs. It’s a pretty easy technique that’s worked well for me. If you’re feeling like making your own wood signs, go for it! I’ve outlined my technique below. And of course, if you’re not in the DIY mood, click here to check out some of my wood signs for sale in my Etsy shop. I’m happy to take custom orders too!
Materials needed for a wood sign:
• Piece of wood – I use common board that is 6″ wide, the length of these boards usually comes in 6′, 8′ and 10′.
• Saw – I just use a regular hand saw. If you don’t have one, or are a little tentative about cutting the wood yourself, most home supply stores will cut the wood down for you.
• Sandpaper/electric sander
• Paint/stain – I use any acrylic based paint or stain
• Pencil, ruler and tape
• Clear acrylic polyurethane (spray or paint)
• Hanging hardware
Step 1 – Cut your wood (or have your store do it for you) to the size you need. Using your sander, sand the edges of the wood so they are slightly rounded, giving the wood a more worn, vintage look.
Step 2 – Paint or stain your wood your desired color. Again, I like a worn look for my wood signs, so I use a few coats of paint/stain – depending on the colors and look I’m going for. If you really want to give the wood a distressed look, click here to read my post on how to do this. It’s easy and actually pretty fun!
Step 3 – Once your paint is dry, or you’ve distressed it to how you like it, you’ll now need to set up the type. I measure the length and width of my wood and then, using my computer, set up my type to a size that will fit. It’s important to consider what font you want to use. There’s so many to choose from, but pick one that fits your message or your decor. I used a serif font called FB Californian but Times Roman or Palatino are good choices too. Print the type just as an outline and trim it out so you can see how it fits on your wood piece.
Step 4 – Next, tape the printouts onto a window, but backwards. The light from outside helps to see through the paper. Then with a pencil, trace the outline of each letter onto the back of the printout.
Step 5 – Then, place your printouts onto the wood where you want them to go, but the correct way. Rub your pencil along the outline of each letter. This rubbing effect transfers the pencil outline from the back of the printout onto the piece of wood.
Step 6 – You should have very faint pencil lines of your letters on your wood. When all the letters are done being transferred, paint them in with a paint color that will stand out from the background. I use acrylic paint here too.
Step 7 – I didn’t worry about filling in the letters perfectly since I was going for that weathered look. I took some sandpaper to all this goodness to finish the antique look. I liked sanding some of the letters to look worn and vintage, and this helped hide some of my imperfect painting too. When all the painting and distressing is done, I add a coat of clear polyurethane to protect the sign.
Step 8 – Attach the hanging hardware. I’ve used different hanging options – cup hooks, saw tooth hangers and metal wire all work well.
Here’s my one-of-a-kind, wood sign! I love old signs and think they make great decorative pieces – and thoughtful gifts!
And they add such personality to any home. Have fun with this technique! Or click here to check out my wood signs in my Etsy shop. Enjoy!
Susan @ suzerspace.com says
I keep trying to be brave enough to try and make one of these. Thanks for the step by step details.
Thanks Susan – I hope it helps!