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There are several things you may need to spruce up the decorations in your office or your home. At times, no matter how much you look, nothing is as satisfying as the image in your mind that demands creativity. Many people believe in a mantra or a set of words that hold a deep meaning to life. Finding those exact words in a font that you desire and a frame that you love may not be easy. While many people simply take a print of those beautiful words and frame them, they do not add to the beauty and pride of the room. If the words are so deep, they demand more than just a wooden frame, they need vinyl lettering. Here’s how to make wood signs with vinyl lettering.

Why use vinyl letterings?

One of the most vital aspects of understanding how to make wood signs with vinyl lettering is understanding the basics. While many people believe in using vinyl stencils, they do not understand why. Here’s why it is a good idea to use vinyl stencils.

  • They can be used on a variety of surfaces such as glass and wood
  • They are easy to install and remove
  • They offer an endless option of shape, color, and font
  • They can be arranged to fit into the smallest of spaces
  • It is cost-effective as well as durable
  • They have the ability to attract more attention as you can use eye-catching styles and colors
  • You can increase visual appearance by using graphics as well

Vinyl offers a lot of advantages and hence is considered a better choice to make wood signs that fit your needs.

How to make wood signs with vinyl lettering

Vinyl lettering on wood signs is a pride to watch. They can be used as a decorative item at home, or as a sign at a restaurant, as well as in various office spaces. You can also give them to your near and dear ones as gifts. Here is how you can custom make them to your liking.

Things you will need

To make vinyl lettering wood signs, you will first need to get all the necessary supplies that include the following.

  • Wood: cut to your specific dimension
  • Wood stain
  • Paintbrush
  • Painter’s tape
  • Transfer tape
  • Plastic drop cloth
  • Plastic gloves
  • Rag
  • Vinyl
  • Vinyl weeding tool
  • Printable JPEG file of the design you choose
  • Vinyl squeegee or an old and useless credit card
  • Silhouette Cameo or Cricut

Make sure that you keep all things handy before you start the project to ensure a smooth flow. Once you have all the materials you need, you start with your first wood signs with a vinyl lettering project.

How to make the wood sign

The first step to how to make wood signs with vinyl lettering is to make the wood sign.

What would you like to make? What shape would you choose for your sign? What are the dimensions you have chosen? It is all up to you, whether you want to make a wall hanging with a small piece of wood or a sign with a large piece. No matter what you decide, make sure that your piece of wood is cut in the right dimensions, and ready for use.

The next step is to apply wood stain such as Minwax Espresso over the wood. To do so, choose a well-ventilated area and place the plastic drop cloth over the surface of your work area. This protects your work area from any spillage, stain, or damage. Use the paintbrush to coat the wood with stain. Don’t forget to wear gloves to protect your skin. Apply it in the direction of the grain and let it sit. The longer you let it sit, the darker it will be. Wipe it clean. Vinyl sticks more easily on wood surfaces coated with stain. You can also stain the sides and the back of the wood. But that’s your choice. Let it dry overnight.

How to create the vinyl lettering?

While the wood is drying, you can prepare vinyl lettering. The second and the most important step to how to make wood signs with vinyl lettering is creating the vinyl decal in silhouette studio, a software that comes with silhouette cameo. Open the JPEG you have chosen int he software and select the trace area and draw the tracing box. Do get a cleaner cut, do one word at a time.

Select “Low Pass Filter,” deselect “High Pass Filter” and adjust the threshold percentage. The ideal number is 86%. Click on Trace and move the printable image. Zoom in to check whether you have clear cut lines. You can edit and adjust if necessary. You can delete the printable image if you have the trace that you want.

Once you are left with the ‘trace design’ in red lines, you can adjust the size as per the dimension of the wood you have chosen. The traced design in the Silhouette Studio is set to 12*12, which can be resized to the desired size using the ‘Scale’ window.

Once the vinyl lettering outline is ready, just send it to the Silhouette machine to cut the vinyl. You can also use ‘Cricut’ to make vinyl signs.

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How to apply the vinyl lettering?

Once the vinyl letterings are cut on the Silhouette machine, the next step is to apply it to the wood sign. Here is how you can do it.

  • Step 1: Weed the vinyl

Use the vinyl weeding tool to weed the vinyl lettering. You can also use something with a pin end for this purpose. When you remove or weed the positive space, you create a vinyl stencil. You must also remove the excess vinyl around the stencil box.

  • Step 2: Apply transfer tape to the vinyl lettering

Make sure to buy a medium to high tack transfer tape for the project. There are two methods you can follow. First, tape the corners of your vinyl stencil with masking tape or painter’s tape. Roll out the transfer tape over the vinyl stencil and press the end down on the work surface. You can use a transfer tape roller to do the job. Smooth out the transfer tape using a vinyl squeegee. You can also use a credit card to smooth out the transfer tape over the vinyl stencil and cut out the end of the transfer tape. Make sure you do not get any crinkles.

Another way to apply the transfer tape is to first cut out a piece of the tap in a size that is a little bigger than the letterings. Slowly apply it over the vinyl that is taped down to the surface, and smooth it out with a vinyl squeegee. Once the transfer tape is applied, cut around until only the white edges remain.

  • Step 3: Apply vinyl lettering to the wood sign backing

How would you like the words on the wood sign to be seen? Place the vinyl stencil the way you want the words to appear on the wood. You can use a ruler for precision. Tape down the stencil using masking tape or painter’s tape, down to the wood sign. Then slowly peel off the white backing paper from the transfer tape. As you peel, make sure that the vinyl is stuck to the clear transfer tape. Secure the vinyl stencil to the wood using a squeegee.

  • Step 4: Remove the transfer tape

Slowly and carefully peel off the transfer paper, ensuring that the vinyl is firmly over the wood. Make sure to peel at a 45-degree angle.

Paint over the vinyl lettering

The last step to how to make wood signs with vinyl lettering is to paint over the vinyl lettering to transfer the design to the wood sign.

  • Step 1: Tape the exposed edges

The first step to painting over the vinyl lettering is to tape the exposed sides of the wood sign using painter’s tape. You must make sure that the tape is as close as it can get to the letters in the design.

  • Step 2: Paint over the stencil

There are several painting methods you can use, but the widely used method is the spray paint. Make sure that you avoid cheap paints as they can ruin the whole project. Use multiple coats of paint. Remember, the paint can seep under the vinyl stencil if it gets too close or too heavy.

  • Step 3: Remove the tape and stencils

Let the paint dry for an hour at least before you remove the tape and the stencils. First, remove the tape from all corners. Slowly and carefully remove the stencils. You must peel back the vinyl from the wood at an angle. You can use the weeding tool to remove any floating part of the vinyl stencil left on the wood.

If you want to seal the vinyl lettering on to the wood, you can use a light coat of Mod Podge or Polycrylic. This step is not necessary if you are using the sign indoors. You can attach a wood frame over the sign to complete the process, or leave as it is if the wood sign dimensions do not allow it to be framed.