I feel like I’ve been a busy little elf in my workshop (aka my garage) making various diy signs to give as Christmas gifts to my friends and family. Now that I have made a couple, I thought I would share with you how I make them! These are quite simple to make and are a great project for anyone wanting to add a custom piece to their home or to give as a gift. There is no need to buy overpriced signs any longer when you can make your own!
- 1″ x 2″ pine wood
- 1/4″ plywood
- Paint – You can use any colour and any kind. I just used leftover white paint I had on hand.
- Stain – I used Minwax gel stain in the colour Aged Oak.
- Wood glue
- Saw – I’m using a sliding miter saw but you can use any kind of saw you have on hand.
- Brad nailer with 3/4″, 1″ and 2″ nails (or hammer and nails)
- Measuring tape
Step 1: cut wood to size
The nice thing about making these signs is that you can create any size you want. The plywood that I had lying around was already cut 12″ x 24″ but feel free to make your signs large or as small as you like!
Something to mention if you are new to diys or if this is one of your first wood projects… what the lumber is called (the nomial size… so 1″ x 2″) is not the actual size. The nominal measurements are a boards size before it has been planed smooth. So the 1″ x 2″s that are used in this project are actually 3/4″ x 1-1/2″.
This first pieces to cut are the pieces of 1″ x 2″ for the “inner frame”. As you can see, I cut the side pieces to the height of the plywood which is 12″. Once those two pieces were cut, I then made my cuts for the top and bottom. When cutting these pieces, you will want to take the length of the plywood (which is 24″ for mine) and subtract the width of each 1″ x 2″ (which is 3″ in total).
Something to note about this particular style of frame: because the frame will be secured directly onto the plywood, you will lose some space on your overall sign as you can see…. just something to keep in mind when your deciding what to actually put on your sign.
Next is to make the cuts for the “outter frame”. The top and bottom pieces will be cut to the same length of the plywood, which is 24″ for mine. The side pieces should be the height of the board (12″ for mine) plus the depth of the two 1″ x 2″s that you just cut for your top and bottom pieces, which is 1-1/2″ in total. Altogether, my side pieces were 13-1/2″ tall.
Step 2: assemble the frame
Once your pieces are cut, the next step is to put it all together. I used wood glue and my brad nailer.
You’ll want to put the “inner frame” together first. I dabbed some wood glue on the joints and used 2″ nails to secure the 1″ x 2″s together.
Once that is together, attach the “outter frame” pieces to the “inner frame” using 1″ inch nails. As you are doing this, you will want to lay the plywood down and put the frame pieces on top in order to create a space for your plywood.
Once the outframe pieces are attached you will see that when you flip it over that you have a nice space to put your plywood.
Step 3: stain & paint
Now that your frame is attached, you’ll want to paint and stain your sign. This is where you can really customize your piece. For this sign, I decided to stain the frame and paint the plywood. I used Minwax gel stain in the colour Aged Oak. This was the first time I used a gel stain and I was really happy with the results. I found it less messy and smelly than traditional liquid stain. It was also a lot easier to apply.
For the plywood, I just used some leftover white paint I had. You can really use anything you have on hand.
Step 4: attach the plywood
Once everything is stained and painted you can attach the plywood to the back of the frame. I used 3/4″ nails to attach the plywood to the frame. It should sit nice and flat in the space you created when you put the frame together.
As you can see, I painted the back of my plywood white too. This was by accident as I painted the wrong side first!
And here is the sign all assembled and ready for some words!
Step 5: personalize your sign!
How you personalize your sign is truly up to you! I decided to use my Cricut vinyl cutter to cut out a stencil. You don’t need to have a vinyl cutter to make a stencil… there are lots of other ways. If you search on Pinterest you’ll be able to find lots of other tutorials on how to make stencils without a vinyl cutter. I’m not going to go into detail on how to make a stencil with a Cricut machine… if you have one, you probably already know how to use it to make a stencil.
One thing I will share with you however is to use Modge Podge and apply it over the stencil before you paint it. It prevents bleed through and is a game changer. Before I used it I got some bleed through here and there, but by using the Modge Podge I hardly get any! It makes the lines so crisp.
Once your sign is all done, display it, stand back, and admire at how good it looks!
I made two different ones – the options are truly endless!
So there you have it! A fairly easy DIY sign that you can make for a gift or keep for yourself to enjoy! I hope you found this helpful!