DIY Large Wooden Sign / Silhouette Machine

DIY Wooden Sign Tutorial

I love all the large wooden signs that are popping up everywhere.

DIY Wooden Sign Tutorial*

About a year ago, I bought this one:

How to install shiplap

It is wonderful, but it was expensive.  After studying it, I decided I could make my own!

I had an idea to make something showing the names and coordinates of all the cities/towns where my husband and I have lived, so I began designing.  I use Adobe Illustrator, and I created this:

Print

I was excited to test out my new Silhouette Cameo machine for this project.  Here’s an Amazon affiliate link to the machine I have:

This machine is amazing, but I probably should have started with a small project rather than jump immediately into a large 2 feet x 4 feet project!  However, I called the silhouette support team, and they were wonderful and helped out this novice silhouette user.

Silhouette has a really great program for designing and well as purchasing pre-made designs.  Since I had already created my design in Illustrator, I had to import my design into the Silhouette Studio program.  It was actually fairly easy thanks to this tutorial by Geek Chick Online.

Once my design was imported into Silhouette Studio, I had to split my design into two part since the silhouette machine prints vinyl that is up to 1 foot wide and my design was 2 foot wide.

Silhouette printing

One little trick I learned is when you are printing something large scale, you need to select “no cutting mat.”  

Printing large signage on silhouette

The program will want to print it as a 12 x 12 square – as you can see by the red lines.  Off to the right, there is the option for selecting not cutting mat.  And when you do that, your silhouette machine will print the length of your design.

Select no cutting mat

Silhouette Projects

I printed out my vinyl in two sections.  Once the printing (or cutting) was done, I removed all the extra vinyl.

Using vinyl in silhouette machine

Silhouette’s little hook comes in handy for the harder to reach areas like inside the letters.

Tutorial for using Sihouette

Once all the extra vinyl was removed I added the transfer paper to my vinyl.

DIY silhouette vinyl tutorial

Using vinyl transfer with silhouette

For the wooden sign, I bought a large plywood board and had it cut into four pieces approximately 2 feet by 4 feet. 

Lowes Cutting Boards

I spent around $6 for what became four pieces. 

SurePly for Frame

8 foot sheet cut down to 2 foot

Once home, I painted one of the sides with black paint.  I wanted black lettering, I was was going to use my silhouette letters to create a stencil so my sign appeared to be hand painted. 

Painting Wooden Sign

When the paint was dry, I added my vinyl using the transfer paper.

Cutting vinyl to use as a stencil

With my vinyl was on the board, I painted the entire sign with white paint.

Painting DIY wooden sign

DIY wooden sign tutorial using vinyl

Once the paint was dry, I removed the vinyl.

Using Silhoutte vinyl as stencil

There were some areas I had to touch up with a brush.  I didn’t perfectly match the two separate pieces of vinyl, but with a little paint it isn’t noticeable.

For the frame, I bought a couple inexpensive furring strips. Wood for framing

And I stained them with dark walnut stain.

Varathane Stain

Staining Frames

I used a chop saw to cut the trim and a nail gun to attach the frame to the sign.

Latitude Longitude Coordinate Sign

Living Room Neutral Decor

DIY Large Wooden Sign

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There will definitely be some more DIY projects coming using the help of my Silhouette! 

SCRIPT LOGO

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*This post contains affiliate links and is a sponsored post by Silhouette. I take pride in reviewing only products that fit my brand and will be beneficial to my readers. And while this post is sponsored, all the opinions are my own.

DIY Large Wooden Sign

Comments

  1. Absolutely fantastic and your tutorial is very easy to follow!!! I still have to get a bigger cutting machine and I like the Silhouette! Great job and super idea!!

  2. This is pretty sweet. Do you know if there are any services that will cut letters for a custom design? Not sure buying a machine for a project or two would be very economical.

  3. I have made many signs just like you described. But I had to figure out how to simplify the process when I made a Love is Patient sign. I peeled off a lot of letter for those verses! So now I do the reverse. After cutting out my design, I remove the letters and use the rest (which is actually what you peeled away in your design) as a stencil. I still use clear contact paper to transfer it to my project. Then I use the background color (in your case white) to paint over the letters and let them dry. This “seals” the vinyl around the letters and prevents bleeding when I apply the color I want my font to be (in your case black). I usually apply to coats of the letter color. When it is all dry, then you peel the stencil off and you are done. Hopefully this makes sense.

    • Hi Kim – thank you! The trim is around 1.25″ wide x .5″ thick. I found mine at Lowes, and it’s really inexpensive. I had to be careful because several of the pieces were bowed pretty badly. Good luck!

    • Hi Nicole! The plywood was 1/4″, and I had it cut down to 2’x4′. I hung the sign using a couple screws under the overhang of the frame around the sign. It has worked great!

  4. Hi Sara, I have question about shiplap. I cant afford the shiplap, but ipI do have some old fencing that I’d like to use. Do you think that would look ok to do a wall in?

  5. Fantastic! Thanks for sharing. So I am a little confused? Do you type your design words into a computer on a specific program? If so is that hard to do? What if you want the sign bigger than what it allows? Thx

    I recognize all those cities…I now live north of LA. You can take the girl outa Indiana, but you can’t take Indiana outa the girl. I grew up in Daleville…

    • Hi Penny! You were just down the road from me!
      I used Adobe Illustrator to create the type layout. It allows me to create any size I want, and unfortunately the program is expensive and requires a little bit of a learning curve. However, I’m sure there are much cheaper and easier programs out there to do large scale prints (unfortunately I don’t have any suggestions). Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  6. Fantastic! Thanks for sharing. So I am a little confused? Do you type your design words into a computer on a specific program? If so is that hard to do? What if you want the sign bigger than what it allows? Thx

    I recognize all those cities…I now live north of LA. You can take the girl outa Indiana, but you can’t take Indiana outa the girl. I grew up in Daleville…

  7. Have you tried this making a large sign with script font? I am finding the letters get cut off since I have to spit the design and then lining them up is brutal.

    • I didn’t try the script fonts for that very reason. It was time consuming enough with the “simple” fonts I used. However, the outcome is worth it, and I’m sure a script sign will be absolutely gorgeous. Good luck and hang in there!

  8. What kind of paint did you use? Every time I try to paint over vinyl I can’t peal it up once paint dries.

  9. Hello! I am new to this and I’m hoping you can answer two questions.

    1. Once you put the plywood between the frame you create, does it just stay? Is it flush with the front of the frame? I’m just assuming in my head that it will just fall out. Lol.

    2. Where did you get this large piece of transfer tape? šŸ™‚

    Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Samantha! I nailed the frame into the plywood – it’s flush with the front of the frame. In regards to the transfer tape – do you mean the vinyl? You can buy it in large sheets. Hope this helps!

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