This detailed tutorial on how to make a large, wooden sign will walk you through each and every step with clarity. You can use stencils and paint to create anything your heart desires! If you can dream it, you can make it.
How to make a large, wooden sign from vision to reality is what we’re all about today. I don’t know about you, but I find myself drooling over all of the large, hand lettered signs that adorn the gorgeous homes on Instagram. The problem is, I’m not willing to fork over the $300+ for those signs. It’s just not happened.
It’s especially not happening when I can make one myself for less than the cost of plywood, some 1×2 boards, paint and a stencil. I will say that I used my Silhouette Cameo for this project. It’s not cheap, but it is so worth it if you think you’ll make more than 1 sign. The cost of the Cameo and the rest of these supplies is still less than the cost of 1 sign. So, if you do end up making just 2 signs, then the investment will be well worth it.
When I envisioned my fall mantel this year, I just knew I wanted a super large hand lettered sign up there. I didn’t want any of those cute fall sayings, like “hello fall” or “it’s fall y’all.” I wanted something a little more inspirational and subtly fall. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. See my full disclosure policy here.
So, I chose this scripture verse and designed it out in Picmonkey (a super easy online design tool) before I did anything else! I’ll walk you through all of the steps to make your very own.
Supplies for How to Make a Large Wooden Sign
- Large piece of 1/2 inch plywood, customized to the size you need.
- Paint for the background color and the letters.
- Silhouette Cameo (I’ve outlined other options below if you don’t have one, yet. But I highly recommend getting one! 😉)
- Contact Paper or Adhesive Vinyl
- Silhouette brand transfer paper
- Mod Podge
- Brad nailer
- 1 x 2 board in the length you need to frame your plywood
Steps for How to Make a Large Wooden Sign
Step 1. Get your plywood. I had a leftover piece of 2 x 4 plywood from another project. And it was perfect for my sign! But if you don’t have an extra piece laying around, just head down to the hardware store and pick one up! You will want a 1/2 thick piece, because mine was 1/4 inch thick, which I wouldn’t recommend since it was hard to nail the frame into the board. Cut down the size you need from the large board with a circular saw or jig saw. Or even easier – ask the hardware store to cut it for you!
Step 2. Paint the board. If you make yours like me using a stencil, then you will want to paint the board the color you want your letters. If you are going to paint the letters onto the board, you’ll want to paint the board the background color. I chose Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore for my paint color of my letters.
Step 3. Create Your Design. I took the dimensions of my board and then used PicMonkey to create my design. Since my board was 2 feet by 4 feet, my graphic was 1000 pixels by 2000 pixels. I used a pretty script font and wrote everything out exactly how I wanted it. I saved it as a jpg file. I’ll be sharing my design as a free printable next week, so stay tuned!
Step 4. Import the Design into the Silhouette Studio & Create a Cut File. I opened the Silhouette Studio software on my computer, then opened my jpg design in the software. I used this video to convert my design to a cut file. Watching that is much easier than my trying to explain anything. 😊
Once you have your cut file, you will arrange it the way you want it to be cut. I ungrouped my design and cut out one line at a time, except for the last line and the scripture reference. I could fit them all on one line.
TIP: You’ll want to size your cut file to match the size of your board. I knew that my board length was 4 feet long, so I needed to cut my stencil to be long enough to cover the board. And since my Silhouette can only cut a 12-inch wide piece, I had to cut just 1 line at a time, like I said before.
I’m not going to get super technical about the Silhouette, because honestly mine is a very old model. There are newer cutting machines and different machines than mine, so if you don’t know something, just search on Google. There are tons of video tutorials out there.
If you don’t have a Silhouette machine, you can draw something free hand, if you’re good at that. You can also use a projector, like this one, and project the image in your board and trace, then paint. There are definitely ways to make a sign like this without a cutting machine.
Step 5. Cut your Stencil. I use cheap contact paper to create my stencil, but you can use any type of vinyl that has an adhesive backing.
I used the cut settings for the Silhouette brand vinyl and it worked great. But always do a test cut to make sure.
Again, if this is the first time using your Silhouette machine, just search for whatever tutorial you need and it’ll be there!
Step 6. Weed Your Stencil. This just means that you remove the parts of the contact paper that you’re not going to use. In this instance you’ll want to keep the letters in tact on the paper and remove the outside paper.
Step 7. Place transfer tape over your letters, then place on the board where you want them. This is always a little time-consuming because you want to get it just right.
The contact paper wasn’t super sticky, and some of the transfer paper I had was very sticky, so I was having trouble getting it to stick on the board. I ended up just using my Silhouette brand transfer paper, because it worked the best.
Step 8. Paint over the Words with Mod Podge. I paint over each letter with clear, matte Mod Podge. This seals the edges of the contact paper and helps with bleeding under the letters while I paint over them.
Step 9. Paint over the letters with a different color paint. I chose a chalky type pant called Amy Howard’s One Step Paint in the off white color. I’m too lazy to get up and find it. 😜 Sorry!
Step 10. Build the Frame. I used 1×2’s to create the frame. I cut the two sides and then the top and bottom pieces for fit.
Step 11. Stain or paint the frame. I chose to stain it in Early American by Minwax stain. Let it dry before trying to add it to your beautiful sign. (Ask me how I know… 😊)
Step 12. Using a brad nailer and wood glue, attached the frame to the board.
Sing a happy dance because you’re done and your sign looks absolutely stunning!!! Gorgeous!
What do you think? Would you like to make a sign like this for your home? Want to add it your fall mantel this year?
I haven’t shared my fall mantel yet, so this is all of the sneak peek I’m giving for right now.
Grab your “Be Joyful Always” .studio File for FREE
If you want to make this exact sign, you can grab the .studio file right here!
If you’d like to save this for later, then don’t forget to pin it!
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