The Wilde Olive Blog: DIY Custom Wood Sign


DIY Custom Wood Sign

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

At the beginning of every year, so many things I want to do around the house pop into my head. Organization, home improvement projects, DIY crafts, new decor ideas and so on all just flood in and I obviously don't have enough hours in the day or money in the bank to do them all. I always try to pick a few easy things and start there. So, one of the projects I did early this year was this DIY homemade wood sign for our breakfast nook. 

It's funny how long it took me to do something like this after just not doing it for so long because I thought it would be difficult or wouldn't turn out and I would just need to wait and buy something, but that was surely not the case. We have piles of scrap would from past projects just sitting in our garage, so I went out there and found one that I didn't even have to cut!

Without further ado here's how I created this sign and what you'll need to make your own DIY custom wood sign!


  • Wood - I used a 1x6 piece of cedar that was cut to about 55 inches
  • Silhouette Cameo (or other die cutting machine)
  • Stencil Vinyl (or most any vinyl that will stick to a wood surface will work because you don't need it to be permanent).
  • Paint (I used chalk paint because that's what I had around the house, but any acrylic paint will do just fine!)
  • Bristle Paint Brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Sponge or Foam Paint Brush


For me, this was the hardest part! Well, the part where I had to decide what I wanted the sign to say took me the longest. I had this space in mind for a sign and honestly just went digging in the garage for a piece of wood that would fit the space nicely. However, if you don't have random wood in your garage, I would first pick your space and measure it. Wall spaces always seem smaller than they actually are! These windows are larger than two standard windows and my sign weirdly looks small up there when you take a photo but in reality, it's 55 inches long! So, just measure then go grab your piece of wood and have them cut it to length at the hardware store. This is a 1x6 which is actually 5 1/2 inches so that's something else to take into account when measuring. 


I designed my stencil by measuring my wood and creating a template in photoshop using that size. Then, I saved it as a PNG file and traced it in the silhouette software. Here's a great resource to learn how to do that here. I also had to cut and paste parts of the design to make it fit since I was using the 12x12 cutting mat. There are probably fancier ways to do this but if you have very basic silhouette or circuit knowledge this is easily doable!

 The fonts I used for this sign are "Athelas" and "Bushel and Peck Script." 


Using white chalk paint, I roughly brushed the paint on the sign. For this project I only used one full coat of paint. I wanted it to be distressed naturally so I didn't try to sand or hide any imperfections. Since this wood was already pretty aged, I just let it sit and dry for a few hours and I was actually pretty perfect. If using a newer piece of wood I would sand some places and maybe even scrape a little paint off.

Paint the stencil. This part wasn't easy just because I had to piece the stencil together and get it straight. Honestly, I did it late at night while watching tv, so it probably took me longer than it would have if I was well rested (what's that?) and focused.

Once the stencil was on, I painted with graphite (dark charcoal) chalk paint with a sponge brush. You can see I wasn't very careful to get it dark and solid because I didn't really want it that way. I did, however, try to make sure I didn't put too much paint so that it wouldn't bleed under the stencil.

Then I let it dry for a few minutes and done! So simple!

For hanging, I used Saw Tooth Picture Hangers (x2 depending on the width of the sign - one for every 16 inches).

This was a pretty simple project you guys and I feel like anyone could do it really! I don't own a silhouette so this was a joint project with my sister and we had a great time! You may have seen an instagram post about this project and it took me for. ev. er. to post this but I said before just have a girls night with a friend that has a machine and get creative!


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