Introduction: DIY Decorative Wooden Sign

Hi there! Welcome to how to make a sign. In this tutorial, you will learn some skills you will need and how to cut wood unless you bought a kit from a company that includes the wood, stencil and maybe paint.


  • Pine Untreated Wood
  • Minwax Stain
  • Shop Cloth
  • Stencil (Craft stores often have some)
  • Ruler
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Tape (optional)
  • Makeup Dabbers (Dollar Store)
  • Exacto Knife
  • Artist Brush (Dollar Store)

Step 1: Base

First, you need a base. I personally enjoy using pine wood. Depending on how big you want the sign, the dimensions will change. Today my sign will be 12 x 20 inches so now cut the wood.

Step 2: Staining

This step now depends on personal preference but I find you do need a good base for the paint rather than the naked wood. You can paint it or stain it. Painting is the easier option but I prefer the stained look. You will grab your cloth, dip it into your stain and very lightly spread it around the wood. I usually go lighter with staining because you can always build up and make it darker but it’s difficult having a dark stain and trying to make it lighter by sanding it.

Step 3: Prepping the Stencil

As your stain is drying, you can start by prepping your stencil. It depends where you get the stencil, but generally, there are 3 layers. You want to carefully peel off the checkerboard side or the white solid side. I like peeling towards myself and bunching it up as I go. If any of the stencils start to peel with the white, carefully go back and fold it until it sticks to the clear layer.

Step 4: Laying the Stencil

Once you have the entire white layer off, carefully lay the stencil on your piece of wood. Once you have it laid where you want it, rub it in. I prefer using a ruler to make it really stick to the wood.

Step 5:

After, peel the clear layer of the stencil. it’s usually easier than peeling the white layer and less crucial if you rub it in well. If your stencil starts to peel up off the wood, I usually put my hand on what’s coming up and just quickly finish peeling the rest off and rub the stencil over again.

Step 6: Painting

Now is the fun part: painting. Grab your makeup dabbers and dip it into the paint, scrape off the excess and start painting. To paint, you should dab up and down. DO NOT SWIPE! If you swipe it will go under the stencil and bleed. If you’re wanting multi-colours that are close together you can always tape over it to protect it. The first layer should be VERY light, you should still be able to see the base colour through it and as you go over and over you can get more paint onto the dabber. Keep dabbing until you receive the cover you want.

Step 7: Stripping

Once you got the coverage you want, you can strip the stencil off against the grain of the board to avoid the wood peeling with the stencil. Wait until the paint is dry to start peeling the centers out.

Step 8: Touch-ups

Do some touch-ups of any bleeding. you can grab an Exacto knife and carefully scrape it if you stained it; if you painted it you can grab more paint and an artist brush. If your wood peeled, cut it with an Exacto knife and very lightly re-stain it with an artist brush or re-paint it.

Step 9: Final Product!

Congrats! You are now finished making your signs. you can frame it if you want to add glitter or do anything you want to it or put a hook on.