Wood signs are an easy way to express your creative side at your business or home. Ideas for wood signs range from refined to rustic, making them perfect in farmhouse-style rooms that offer modern and stylish touches.
Wood signs can be purchased practically anywhere these days and are also fun to create yourself. In addition, a reclaimed wood sign is a great way to use scrap wood from another DIY project.
Wood Sign FAQs
What is the best wood for sign making?
One of the most important things to consider when making a custom sign is durability and aesthetic appeal. Redwood has been used for centuries, but other great options include Teak, Cypress, Spanish Cedar, White Oak, Locust, and Osage Orange.
Recommendation To Painting Outdoor Wooden Sign
For an indoor wooden sign, any paint will do. However, for outdoor durability and a longer lifespan, latex paint is recommended.
How do you convert handwriting to wood?
- Print from a copy machine, and then enlarge the font on your copied text to the size needed for your sign.
- Draw a line with the tip of your pencil or a graphite stick across the back. You can also use an erasable sheet.
- Tape your sign paper to the surface where you want it to appear.
- Decide on a word and trace over the letters, pressing hard enough to transfer the lines onto your wood.
- Painters use a brush to cover an area with paint.
- If you don’t have access to a stencil, one tip is to use paint pens to form each letter.
Steps For Making Diy Wood Signs
Step 1. Get Your Plywood.
When I had a scrap 2×4 piece of plywood leftover from another project that was perfect for my sign, I didn’t have to leave the house; however, if you don’t already have one, head down to your local hardware store and pick up one of these!
You will need a 1/2 inch thick piece since my piece was the only 1/4th of an inch thick. This is too thin for hitting the board and pinning it to the frame. Cut your size down from a large board with a circular saw or jigsaw, or ask the home improvement store to cut it for you!
Step 2. Paint Your Sign.
If you use a stencil, start by painting your board the color of the lettering. If you paint the letters on, consider painting the background color first. For example, I chose Hale Navy for my background and used Benjamin Moore as my primary font when making my latest sign.
Step 3. Create Your Design
I used PicMonkey to create a design for my 2 foot by 4-footboard. First, I measured the board’s dimensions and then scaled up my image size to be 1000 pixels long.
I used the “Midnight” font and wrote everything out exactly as I wanted it. I saved this with the .jpg extension.
Step 4. Import The Design Into The Silhouette Studio
I used the software Silhouette Studio to open my jpg design.
Once the design cut file is arranged, it can be cut. I ungrouped my text and pulled out one line at a time, except for the last line and scripture reference. These two lines I could fit on one line.
I knew that my board was four feet in length, so I had to cut a stencil long enough to span the entire length of the board. (I also need it long enough for every 12-inch wide piece) The Silhouette can only cut one line at a time, as I mentioned previously.
I will not get too technical about the Silhouette in this post because my machine is out of date. Newer cutting machines require different techniques and steps; if you don’t know-how, search on the internet for videos that might help you prepare before using your machine.
If you don’t have a Silhouette cutting machine, there are ways to complete the project without any specialized equipment. You could try drawing your design freehand if you have good art skills or use a projector to create the outline for the sign, then paint it in with a paintbrush. With vinyl and my method, wood décor is
Step 5. Cut Your Stencil.
To make the design, I use Duck brand contact paper with adhesive backing. If you want to make a different stencil type, vinyl is a common material that should work.
When using the Silhouette brand vinyl, make a test cut to verify it definitely works before proceeding with further cuts.
If you are using your Silhouette machine for the first time, make sure to look up any tutorials before starting the project.
Step 6. Weed Your Stencil
This means that you remove the parts of the contact paper that you’re not going to use. For example, it’s best to keep the letters on the contact paper and peel off any outside paper in this instance.
Step 7. Place Transfer Tape Over Your Letters, Then Place On The Board Where You Want Them.
Remove the non-sticky back of your transfer tape, then place it on top of a paper letter. Next, rub the area with a hard object such as a credit card to get it to stick.
The process of removing and placing letters onto a contact paper sheet can be time-consuming as it must be done carefully to ensure the words are spelled correctly.
I didn’t think the contact paper I had was sufficiently sticky, and some of my transfer paper is very adhesive. So I had trouble lining it up properly on the board. In the end, I found that my Silhouette’s brand transfer paper best fit the bill for this project.
Step 8. Paint Over The Words With Mod Podge
I apply a generous layer of clear, matte Mod Podge over each letter. This is important to seal the edge where my contact paper overlaps and help prevent bleeding while I paint in between letters.
Step 9. Paint Over The Letters With A Different Color Paint.
As a result, I decided to choose Amy Howard’s One Step Paint in a chalky type of color called Bauhaus Buff. However, after applying one coat, it seemed like the base coverage was too dark.
Once the paint dries, you will be able to peel off the adhesive letters and reveal what color was originally there. This is my favorite part.
Step 10. Build The Frame
I created the frame with 1×2’s. Cut the two sides first, and then measure how wide you need the top and bottom pieces. Attaching it without staining may not be your best option, but if you want a smaller profile frame, the lattice will work too!
Step 11. Stain Or Paint The Frame.
If you want to stain your sign, I recommend using the Early American Minwax stain and letting it dry before adding the sign.
Step 12. Using A Brad Nailer And Wood Glue, Attached The Frame To The Board.
If you do not have a brad nailer, there is still an alternative way to attach the frame. You could use hot glue instead of nails, but it may be difficult to hold the sign at that point.
Determine The Best Wood
To decide what type of wood to use for a sign project, ask yourself the question – What kind of wood sign will I create? This will help you determine the best species.
Based on my research, most people in the woodworking community focus on what kind of wood they want to use for their products. But many people are unsure if it really matters which type of wood you use as long as your goal is to create a certain effect.
I wanted to continue the theme of best wood for your wood sign, so I want to give you some insight into different types.
Indoor Wood Signs – Wooden signs are typically used in the home as decoration, and they are often made of Pine or Plywood. These types of wood are great to work with because they aren’t exposed to weather elements.
Outdoor Wood Signs – Two factors can limit outdoor signs made with wood. One, the base material would need to withstand weather elements. Two, regular maintenance is needed over time due to eventual aging and wear. Outdoor signs for commercial purposes are becoming more popular in the home as well. Medium Density Overlay (MDO) is an excellent option in these cases.
Commercial Purpose – Most signs you see professionally are outdoor advertising for businesses and organizations. Indoor signage will be more personal, like a custom wood sign.
Medium Density Overlay is best for outdoor wooden signs. It also works well with raised letters for commercial outdoor signage and can be made out of pine or plywood.
Custom Purpose – While each custom wood sign includes various types of wood, typically, the choices include cedar, walnut, cypress, or mahogany. Some exotic woods are expensive, but they can be finely crafted when completed.
I created this chart to help you better understand each material’s advantages for building your wood sign.
Basic Wood Choices – What Are They?
From the previous paragraphs, it’s important to know what you’re looking for before picking out your wood. Several varieties of wood will work well with your project, but it all depends on what kind of plans you have in mind.
Pine For Wood Sign Ideas
According to Wikipedia, there are over 126 species of pine trees. They have been used for many different purposes, including lumber and construction, ornamental plants, and food production. Some interesting facts I learned were that some other applications, such as pine needles, can make baskets or paper mulch when in cone form.
With a focus on the wood aspect of pine, why is this an optimal choice for wood sign production?
Durable – Pine is stable and durable. It’s a great choice for wood signs because it can withstand most weight requirements and can also be used in furniture.
Longevity – When you color, seal or varnish your pinewood sign to protect it, your sign can last for 10 years or more. This greatly improves the lifespan of your sign.
Waterproof – Pinewood is generally not waterproof and so does not make a suitable choice for an outdoor sign application. If you properly prepped, primed, painted, or sealed it beforehand, this problem can be avoided.
Rot – Untreated pine will decay over time. As mentioned, unprotected regular pine is not a good choice for outdoor use.
Cost – The cost of pine is usually cheaper than the other choices on this list. As of the writing of this post, pine can be purchased for about $12-13 as a 12”x4’x1.75” board at your local hardware store and would be enough for most wood sign projects.
Medium Density Overlay (MDO) For Wood Sign
Medium-density overlay boards, or MDO, are plywood sheets with a resin designed to resist the weather.
Medium Density Overlay (MDO) is a type of wood with cross-laminated, thin layers. The difference in the resin overlay makes it more durable than traditional plywood.
MDO is an excellent choice for outdoor signs because it is extremely durable, often even stronger than standard wood.
Durable – Medium Density Overlay (MDO) is durable to the weight and weather. Made with high-quality fiber, MDO will last for years.
Longevity – If well primed, painted, sealed, or varnished to protect from the elements (weather), Medium Density Overlay may last more than 10 years.
Waterproof – Medium density overlay is a material used to produce outdoor signage. It is created for use in concrete production.
Rot – Wood is susceptible to rotting when unprotected. But MDO (Medium Density Overlay) material is especially resistant and unlikely to rot, in my opinion. That said, I would still recommend that you clean and seal your wood if you are using it outdoors with MDO signboard materials.
Cost – Medium Density Overlay Plywood (MDO) is typically priced similarly to other plywoods. During research in the US, I learned that 4’x8′ sheets of MDO typically run about $36.00 – which is a reasonable per-sign price.
Wood Sign Best Wood Pros And Cons
There are many factors to consider when deciding on a specific type of wood for your wood sign. In this article, we will go over the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed decision.
Pros Pine And MDO For Wood Sign
Pine – When considering what type of wood to use in a piece for your home, pine is often the right choice. It can provide many finishes from paint to stain, and it’s easy to apply stencils, carve, edge or distress for a rustic look that offers an airy feeling. Additionally, pine is available and cost-efficient.
Pine is an excellent choice for high-level production pieces such as wood signs due to its flexibility.
MDO – Medium Density Overlay (MDO) is the perfect wood for your rustic, urban design needs. This material can be used outdoors and inside, making it upgradable for any situation needed.
Additionally, it is suitable for commercial wood sign uses. With the high quality and long-lasting fiber with phenolic resin solids, Medium Density Overlay (MDO) resists weather elements and will last extremely long with little to no maintenance required.
Cons Pine And MDO For Wood Sign
Pine – Like softwood, pine is not a good choice for outdoor use. If exposed to moisture, it cracks easily and continually warps, which will affect its appearance and the paint that may be applied on top of the finished sign. In addition, pinewood is more vulnerable to damage when compared with other types of wood due to its softness.
Medium Density Overlay (MDO) – Overlay panels, such as Medium Density Overlay (MDO), do not show wood grain. This can be an issue for wood sign production, as you would prefer to have different textures for the top and bottom board of the sign. Medium Density Overlay is not discreet, but it needs to be painted with primer and solid colors.
List Of Wood Sign Ideas For Your Home
We have gathered a lot of the best wood sign options that are available today. Check them out to see how your home décor can be enhanced with a wood sign.
Wood Sign For Wedding
You may not see it by looking at the pictures, but an organic look is needed for many weddings now. In fact, a rustic ceremony set in a barn or warehouse is the new standard of some regions.
Many city weddings are done in a rustic style. This is usually observed with the ring bearer carrying down the aisle a sign with hand-lettering to announce the bride’s arrival.
Outdoor weddings are perfect for showcasing rustic, wooden signage. From the welcome sign to directional signs, these impressive touches are both useful and decorative.
Add a little sparkle and shine to your rustic wood sign by using metallic lettering. Add dimension by adding crystal or sequin embellishments, lace, and fresh flowers as accents.
Wood Sign For A Business
When designing a wooden sign for a business, keep in mind how the average person might read it. Simple phrases will positively impact, such as “Dream Big” or “Choose Joy.”
You can also place a longer inspirational quote on your signs to encourage your coworkers or customers. Funny signs add some levity to your place of business and are welcomed in high-stress places like dentists’ offices.
Coffee Theme Wood Sign
Some of the best decorations for wood signs are coffee-themed. The perfect addition to your kitchen or any place with a coffee bar, these crafted additions are sure to help you find matches at home that reflect how much you love this drink.
Brown furniture already goes well with the idea of coffee, but white and black might be all you need to complete the job.
Wood Welcome Sign
A welcome sign is a traditional welcoming gesture for guests. Traditionally, people hang the welcome sign on the home’s front door; however, newer trends consist of painting “welcome” on a plank and propping it up by the entrance.
Attach a small seasonal wreath to the “o” in “welcome” or embellish with rope, ribbon, or artificial flowers.
To welcome guests for a small family reunion, use a hand-painted welcome sign tucked inside the middle of the wreath. Then, on or near the front door, hang your name and house number in addition to the patriotic colors.
Consider making a “Welcome to our porch” sign for your front entrance. However, words like “welcome” can feel too formal, so instead, make a “Hello” sign that doesn’t come across as so stiff.
House Number Wooden Sign
Does your house sign look as boring as it sounds right now? Well, I have the perfect solution. This wooden sign makes a great addition to any yard. Plus, you’ll save a lot of money in comparison to metal signs or engraved wood signs. All this without sacrificing class!
Wood And Rope Arrow Love Sign
We finished the sign, and it’s hanging above our headboard in our bedroom! I really like how it looks. The jute rope and whitewashed board give off a backyard-beachy feel that’s perfect for summer.
Quotes Wood Sign For Your Farmhouse
Having a sign for your farmhouse or pallet house can be just the finishing touch. First, make sure you consider what words represent the room’s spirit and its occupants, then let your creativity take off.
You Are Loved Mini Sign
These small signs made from reclaimed barn wood are 6″ by 6″. They would make a great gift.
Farmhouse Wood Sign
Farmhouse sign options typically have a white or black metal on rustic wood. The letters are usually made of stencil or embossed designs and surrounded by natural wood for support.
This traditional wall decoration is classic and rustic, giving us a hint about the homeowner’s individual personality.
Displaying sign groupings on the interior of your home in a variety of areas can give it a warm and welcoming feel, adding other forms of wall arts to decorate with.
Welcoming Warmth Rustic Wood Sign
The word “rural” can refer to things made in a simplistic way or hail from rural areas.
This décor may not be fancy or elaborate, but its cozy and welcoming appearance sets it apart from more formal settings. Rustic wood signs often have rough-hewn wooden frames and simple fonts. Metal accents include dark bronze, stainless steel, and copper—with or without their classic green patina.
Use natural features such as bears, pine trees, rivers, and mountain ranges on your rustic signs for a cabin. The paint should be old-looking and look worn in, just like the wood siding decorating the cabin.
Farmhouse Style Inspired DIY Love Sign
This shadow box is perfect for making a farmhouse sign.
It’s a quick and easy project that will transform your hallway or porch in next to no time! The look is so popular, but many people don’t have the tools to make one themselves.
Kitchen Wood Sign
A variety of signs, stickers, and sentiments have long been a part of kitchen décor. Antique tin advertisement signs and today’s pallet sign designs are just two examples of signage that exist. In addition, many kitchen wood signs convey humorous statements such as “Keep this kitchen clean—eat out” or “Today’s menu: eat it.
Signs can also refer to favorite herbs or carry short-but-sweet sentiments about gathering together with friends and family. If you are a wine enthusiast, wine-themed wood signs look amazing in the kitchen. Decoupage works well for attaching wine labels to pallet wood signs or cutting boards into wooden signs.
Although black and white are the most popular tones, you can choose any color painting style that coordinates with your kitchen. The animals commonly used in farmhouse décor are chickens, roosters, pigs, cows, and others of a similar kind.
Sweet, Sentimental Wooden Nursery Sign
These signs are created with real wood with natural flaws or imperfections, such as chips, knots, cracks, and a lightly sanded edge.
personalized handwriting custom wood sign
Give a perfect little reminder of the ones you love with this personalized handwriting custom sign.
Family Word Wood Sign
Rustic wood signs are a timeless fixture in any home. They can be anything from large front porch welcome signs to small bathroom reminders to wash your hands. One popular style is the word “family” on either vinyl or stencil that simply says “Family.”
What A Wonderful World Wood Sign
This engraved wooden sign, taken from the lyrics of a song, can now be yours with reclaimed Barnwood sourced from Pennsylvania that has been hand-painted and distressed to give it a wonderfully rustic appearance.
DIY Wood Sign
When you have finished personalizing your sign with lettering, add embellishments such as ribbons, shells, and flowers. Or attach a frame to give the sign more focus. To make it easy to change the text on your wooden sign, paint some of it in chalk paint before adding decorations like ribbon and flower petals.
Pledge of Allegiance Sign
This sign is lovingly created using reclaimed Barnwood and hand-painted for a rustic look.
Plain slate and white tree Wood Sign
The black background in this design provides contrast for the white-painted Winter-themed painting of a Christmas tree. If you want some extra decoration, use your favorite markers to add messages to the blank space inside the tree with ink that contrasts against the brown border around it.
Chisel and ribbon design Wood Sign
This design calls for a few layers of the wooden baseboard to be chiseled away and painted using a contrasting color such as black. The base portion can be painted in vintage brown paint, adding texture to it.
One can decorate this blank Christmas message board with various fonts and scales. First, match the entire wood board with a suitable jute ribbon.
Gather Wooden Sign
The natural wood and textures of the Gather sign make it perfect for a dining or family room.
Give Thanks Wooden Sign
It’s a beautiful sign made of watercolor and text. Your next wedding or anniversary would be the perfect time to give it!
Set Of Three Botanical Signs
This set of three handpainted signs is a perfect addition to any home or office space! They’ll look great on your wall, and the delicate floral design will bring joy to your day.
Wood signs come in various shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. You can buy a ready-made sign if you don’t want to bother with creating one yourself from scratch.