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Last Updated on March 21, 2021 by Katherine

One of the hottest items for home decor these days is a beautiful custom wood sign. Did you know you can make one of these beauties yourself? They are quite easy to make, costing under $20 and only requiring about an hour of work depending on how big and how many letters you need to spell out.

I love these wooden signs and you can often find them fully finished at a farmer’s market, but then you don’t get to pick your own saying on them. So if you’re looking for an easily customizable craft for your next project, read on! 

Materials You’ll Need

In order to create your own wood sign, you need to first stain the wood!
  • A pre-made wood sign (Walmart sells them or you can check out my earlier post How to Find, Buy & Store Your Craft Supplies: The Best Tips)
  • A wood stain (such as Varathane in “Weathered Grey”).
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint for the wording (Acrylic craft paint works great, I picked a white shade).
  • Sponge or regular paint brushes.
  • Cloth (for any spills you want to wipe up).
  • Stencils (Optional).
  • Ball-Point Pen (Optional).

The last three items will help you if you are like me and struggle to make lettering. If you’re confident in your painting and lettering skills, you can absolutely free-hand everything. I struggle to keep consistently sizing my letters throughout, so I chose the stencil route. 

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Sanding

I recommend sanding your pre-made sign before you do anything else. Sanding helps create a nice smooth surface for your wording. If you are going for a true rustic look, you can definitely sand your project less to keep some rougher parts.

Staining

One of the first steps to creating your wood sign is to stain your wood piece!

Next, you want to stain your wood. What I recommend is doing one coat and seeing how that looks when it’s dried. If you need a little more, do another coat and re-evaluate until your wood sign is to your liking. I’m going for a reasonably weathered look, so I went with two coats. It’s up to you if you want to stain the back of your project.

Crafter’s tip: be very careful prying the lid off (you can use a screwdriver or something similar that you have around), otherwise you may play “chase the lid” when it pops off and rolls away.

Find Your Saying

If you’re struggling to find a quote for your sign, check out these ideas.

1. Literature (This is where I got mine, love J. R. R. Tolkien!)

2. Movies

3. Songs

4. Google “Witty Quotes about [your favorite subject]” and see what turns up.

Stenciling Your Saying

After you have stained your wood sign and found your saying, it's time to create your makeshift stencil!

If you prefer to use a stencil, you can create your own.

Use Canva.com to “pretty up” your saying with some nice font work. I recommend at least a 144pt font.

Cut out each word from the paper and arrange them on your wood piece after the stain has dried.

Finally, take a ball-point pen and press hard as you outline each word on the stencil. This will score the wood slightly and make it easier to paint.

Painting On Your Woods

After stenciling, you're going to want to start painting the letters onto your wood sign!

Now that you have your letters stenciled onto your pretty piece of wood, you can now paint. Depending on how detailed you would like your lettering to be, the smaller your paint brush should be.

Take your craft paint and just paint along your stencil lines.

Finish Your Custom Wood Sign!

Now your wood sign is all finished, enjoy it!

Finally, you’ll want to seal your piece once the paint has all dried. A matte finish will maintain a rustic feel, whereas a shinier finish can glam your sign up a bit more. The decision is yours!

Now you know how to make your very own beautiful custom wood sign, which is suitable for a variety of occasions. My favorite idea is to make one for a special occasion, like your next Barbecue Party! Let me know in the comments down below if you have another fantastic occasion that you’d use this type of sign for. I would love to hear your ideas!

Also, please share this tutorial on your favorite social media platform and pin it to Pinterest to refer to later.

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Until next time, stay crafty my friends!

Storing your craft supplies efficiently will make you a master crafter in no time!

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