Step 1: Material Preparation
Cut the materials to length and saw (or plane) to thickness. For the stock being used for lettering, make sure you prepare extra "just in case"
Step 2: Cutting Letters
Double-checked all spellings!
I made sure that I had more than enough stock material to allow for any mistakes that could occur throughout the project.
Step 3: Colour & Stain
From the pictures you can see that we tested a number of stain coats on a spare piece of material (which will be kept for reference) and applied the stain with a small piece of sponge held in a plastic clip.
As I spray indoors (in a well ventilated, utility room), I made a small booth from an old cardboard box to keep as much paint contained as possible. Door/windows open and a ceiling fan on full power help with the process.
(step 4) covers positioning and glue
Finally, the whole sign received a few coats of clear coat spray.
A can of wood dye costs around £12; paint sprays were about £5 a can and plenty left over for a future project.
Step 4: Position & Glue
Once happy, each letter is removed, a small amount of glue spread on the back of the letter and replace. I considered using Gorilla, which may be good as you would have some tolerance for error; but feeling brave, I used fast setting epoxy, applied with a cocktail stick.
NOTE: A lesson learned here, is that I should have also use the laser to cut sheets of paper with the lettering, to help with spacing and alignment of letters. This would have saved quite a bit of time.
These syringe type epoxy sets cost around £6.00 from most main stream DIY stores. I've probably used about 1/3rd on this project.
When all of the letters are glued, a second plank is laid over the top (taking care not to move the letters) and clamped overnight.
Step 5: Fixtures
A d-ring screwed to the back (near the holes) means a wire could be added if additional support is needed for the weight, but also to provide a more permanent fixture for the couple to hang the sign at home.
Pre-drill small holes for the d-ring screws.
I bought a pack of 100 d-rings off eBay for about £6.00
Step 6: The Finishing Touches
A box of 6 cans of varnish were bought for under £10 and tested on some scrap material.
I was a little concerned that there would be some squeeze-out of the epoxy that would have been very difficult to clean-up; there was some, but not significant enough to be of concern and I remained confident that it wouldn't be noticeable after the clear coat (this epoxy dries with a very clear finish)