DIY Wooden Signs (Incl. Easy Method to Transfer Text to Wood)

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Hello everyone!

I'm sure you've all seen those amazing rustic wood signs that have been floating through Pinterest and DIY Bloggers!

Any person who's into the rustic style owns at least one of these signs!

I'm not all rustic but it's no surprise that I'm totally into adding small touches of rustic around the house. Have you seen my DIY Rustic Coat Rack? How about my kitchen floors?

I've been craving for a rustic wood sign ever since seeing this sign from several online bloggers!

I totally love the charm and warmth they bring! They're just so fun!

So, I decided to grab the tools and needed supplies and start making these DIY wood signs.


Things to Consider

A lot of people, including me, find it difficult when it came to getting the perfect font writings onto the wood.

If you don’t own a fancy Silhouette Cameo, you need to find other alternative options to make it work.

I tried several methods, and nor did the chalk transfer method work for me. Actually, it was just a big mess!

Nor did I dare free hand it because, well, you have to have a high level of crafting and painting abilities.

After multiple tries, I thought I'd never get my rustic wood sign until I found a solution!

I did the happy dance for days people.

Because it not only meant that I'd get my DIY Rustic Scrap Wood Sign but that I now had a solution for transferring ANY text or ANY image to wood!

And yes. That's totally a big deal around here since transferring your text to the wood board is probably the hardest part of this whole project.

And as for the total costs of this project, you will be able to make these DIY wood signs in one day and for under $20.

Preparing Your Supplies

To make homemade wooden sign at home, you will need:

  • Underlayment Boards or Scrap Wood Board
  • Black Sharpie (Or colored, based on your preferences)
  • Printer & Printer Paper

As you can see, all the required supplies and tools for this project are easy to find and you can get it done with only a few inexpensive equipment.

What Type of Wood to Use

As for the wood type, you are free to use the one you like or which fits your style better. You can either go for an underlayment boards, found on Home Depot since this is the best cheap wood to for DIY wood signs because it has a smooth finish and is light to hung on the wall and work with it.

If you want to use a laying around piece of wood, that would not be a problem too. I just scavenged through our pile on the side of our house and found the perfect piece that already had that aged and gray washed look, perfect for my style and what I was looking for.

All I had to do was give it a good wash and once it dried it was ready for the next phase of transferring my text on the surface!

Cutting & Trimming the Wood

If your wood boards need some cutting, you can either saw them by yourself or ask your local wood store to do it for you.

The Home Depot boards I recommend to use on this article, are about 8 feet long and cost around $1.2 per board.

If you have larger boards, you can either use them as it is or cut them to the preferred dimensions.

How to Make Painted DIY Wooden Signs Board

I am going to show you two different ways to make DIY wood signs: Making Painted DIY Wooden Sign or Rustic Market DIY Wood Sign. Both models look great and you can go for what style fits your preferences better.

To make painted wood signs, you will need: Paint Color of Choice & 1” Nails.

Step 1) Start by painting the board base of the wood sign. To get a white frost look, use a paint brush to apply the stain to the underlayment board applying very light pressure and allowing the brushes to create a pattern. For this step, you don’t need to cover completely the board but just apply a small amount just to create a base coat.

Let the stain to dry out and then lightly paint over the stain with your preferred paint. Now, make sure to cover the whole board in white paint, even though you didn’t initially stain the whole board. This two step layering will give the board a kind-of aged look, making them like farmhouse signs.

Do the same staining process to any trimming pieces.

Step 2) Now, it is time to build your base. Using some nails and a hammer, you need to attach the trim to the underlayment.

Once you attach the side trims, you can stain the back side of the edges so they will look good when you hang it on the wall. You can have more control on these little pieces if you use a small brush to paint them.

Also, have in mind to apply a little bit more stain to the seams where the trim meets in the corner, so there is a nice contrast between pieces.

Step 3) Now that the board is ready, you will need to print your favorite quote and put them on the board.

To do the text, you will need a printer. A regular old printer will do the job, no expensive vinyl and printer needed.

Print the quotes and by flipping the papers on the back side, use a pencil to scribble over the letters, one by one.

Make sure to completely cover the letters on the opposite side. You can put the printed sheets on a light, white area, so you can better see where the letter ink is placed.

Step 4) After finishing scribbling the letter, turn them to the correct side and out them on top of your painted board.

Using a ball point pen, trace the outline of the letters onto the wood board. Make sure to be careful to cover every detail, since it will make or not make your quotes look like hand painted on the board.

Step 5) Remove the papers from the board and you should now have the outline of the words on the board.

Now, grab your sharpie and start coloring the outlined pencil marks. If you feel more confident, you can even use a precision brush and paint but for the beginners, I would suggest using a black sharpie since it is easier to use.

Don’t apply a lot of pressure on the sharpie, so the texture and the details of the wood are shown and look clearly.

Step 6) After you finish writing down the quotes, hang it on your favorite place. They will look good and will hold up perfectly even after time passes, without needed to add any protection layer or sealer.

How to Make Rustic DIY Wood Signs from Scrap Wood

If you have some rustic-looking wooded pieces laying around, then you can turn them into good looking Wood Sign, perfectly for placing on your living room.

Preparing the Scrap Wood Board

After you find and give the scrap wood a nice wash, let it dry completely.

If it needs any trimming, use a saw to cut it to the needed dimensions.

After you finish preparing the wood board, now it is time to transfer the writings to the board.

The Easiest Way to Transfer Text to Wood Board

Here is the secret to transferring the text to the wood board in the easiest way possible: Using Graphite Transfer Paper!

Not sure how this didn't cross my mind when I was attempting the messy chalk transfer method but I'm so glad to have found it here.


I found my graphite paper in Hobby Lobby but there's some who have found newspaper to work just as well!

How to Transfer Text to Wood using Graphite Paper

1. To transfer the text to the wood board, start by printing out your text in the size you want.


2. Cut off as much excess as possible from each letter and tape them to the desired spot on the board.


3. Place your graphite paper between your letter and wood and use a cool The Cat In The Hat Pencil to firmly trace only the outline of each letter.

*Please Note: The Cat In The Hat pencil is not absolutely necessary. You can use any pencil you want and it will work just as well. I'm just cool like that.


4. After you're finished tracing each letter, you will be left with the perfect outline that is so easy to paint over with a small angled brush!


I can't believe how easy this transfer method is!

My market rustic sign took me about about an hour to make and that's counting the time I spent looking for the perfect font and printing each letter out!

And the end result, I think you will love it!


Doesn't it look so charming above my kitchen window?

And I love how the natural gray wash of the wood goes so well with those gray colors in my No Sew Roman Shades.


I did lightly sand each letter so it shows some of the wood through it. An extra easy step for an extra rustic look!


I used two saw-tooth hangers to hang up my pretty sign. I find this is the easiest and sturdiest way to hang up any DIY wall art!

I just love stepping into my kitchen and being greeted by this sign!

So I finally have my rustic sign!

Now that I know about this incredibly easy way to transfer text and images, I can guarantee you will be seeing more of it around here!

What would you use this transfer method for?

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